Patch­work re­ceiv­ing Corps gears up for Lions

Matthews makes de­but against B.C. Lions on Cal­gary’s in­jury-rid­dled re­ceivers’ squad

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DANNY AUSTIN daustin@post­media.com www.twit­ter.com/Dan­nyAustin_9

Chris Matthews is in.

Eric Rogers. We’re not so sure. When the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers re­leased their ros­ter for Satur­day ’s game against the B.C. Lions, the lineup fea­tured both re­ceivers.

Head coach Dave Dick­en­son, how­ever, was un­able to guar­an­tee that Rogers will ac­tu­ally be at McMa­hon Sta­dium when his team takes the field.

Rogers has been in Cal­i­for­nia for the birth of his sec­ond child this week, and as of Fri­day morn­ing had not re­turned to Cal­gary. “Kept him alive on the 46 (man ros­ter). He’s still down in Cali,” Dick­en­son said. “We talked to him this morn­ing, we’re just go­ing to have to see if it hap­pens.

“I want to make sure we sup­port Eric and I know he knows that. His lady had some com­pli­ca­tions so we’re go­ing to let Eric take care of his fam­ily. If he feels like he can get back up here, we’ll make that de­ci­sion to­mor­row and we’ll see how it goes.”

If Rogers is out, the re­ceivers listed on the Stam­ped­ers ros­ter will have a com­bined 1,040 re­ceiv­ing yards this sea­son. Each of the CFL’s top-three lead­ing re­ceivers have more than that, on their own.

Get­ting Matthews on the field won’t change that, see­ing as he’s mak­ing his sea­son de­but, but he does have the po­ten­tial to be a game-changer.

This is a guy who won the CFL’s Most Out­stand­ing Rookie award in 2012 with the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers be­fore head­ing south for a cou­ple sea­sons in the NFL and very nearly win­ning a Su­per Bowl in 2015 with the Seat­tle Seahawks.

Matthews has a high-ceil­ing, no doubt, but he did only sign with the Stam­ped­ers on Oct. 2, so it may be worth tem­per­ing ex­pec­ta­tions a lit­tle for this first game.

“He’s ready to go and he’s ex­cited to play and look­ing for­ward to this,” Dick­en­son said. “When you sign a guy like that you don’t guar­an­tee him play­ing time be­cause you don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but you do at some point want to see what he can do. I think he has enough foun­da­tion to go out and be ef­fec­tive.”

The Stamps are go­ing to need Matthews to be ef­fec­tive, es­pe­cially if Rogers can’t make it back in time for the game.

With DaVaris Daniels, Reg­gie Begel­ton, Marken Michel and Ka­mar Jor­den all side­lined with long-term in­juries, the team’s Amer­i­can re­ceiver re­serves are de­pleted.

Af­ter Mon­day ’s nar­row 12-6 win over the Mon­treal Alou­ettes, quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell ad­mit­ted it was pos­si­ble that all the bodies mov­ing in and out of the lineup were af­fect­ing the pass-game.

Hav­ing Rogers and Juwan Brescacin in the slot re­ceiver po­si­tions would bring a level of con­ti­nu­ity to the Stamps re­ceiv­ing group, and Matthews — who will start at wide re­ceiver — said Mitchell’s been go­ing out of his way to help him fa­mil­iar­ize him­self with the game plan.

Step­ping back onto the CFL field isn’t just like rid­ing a bike, it doesn’t come sec­ond na­ture.

“No, no, no, it’s def­i­nitely not like that,” Matthews said. “Bo did some­thing amaz­ing for me to­day, he wrote down a lot of things I needed to un­der­stand in the game. I’ve never had any­one do that for me, and I’ve been around great quar­ter­backs.

“I’m def­i­nitely ready. I’m go­ing to go out there and give it 110 per cent. Whether I’m wrong or I’m right, I’m go­ing to give it 110 per cent be­cause they’ve done so much for me.”

You do at some point want to see what he can do. I think he has enough foun­da­tion to go out and be ef­fec­tive.

AL CHAREST/FILES

Stam­ped­ers re­ceiver Eric Rogers, here in ac­tion against the Mon­treal Alou­ettes in July, re­mains a ques­tion mark for Satur­day’s game against the B.C. Lions at McMa­hon Sta­dium af­ter re­turn­ing to Cal­i­for­nia for the birth of his sec­ond child.

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