West rivals seeking to avenge defeats
Playing the Calgary Stampeders is a tough task, as they have proven so far in this Canadian Football League season.
But playing the Calgary Stampeders after they lose?
“I think it’s one of the toughest things in the world,” said defensive backs coach Josh Bell. “Not just because of what people say, but the reality of it is, we’re already a hard team to beat. But if you want to take us on after we lose, it’s going to be doubly tough. Our focus is even narrowed a little bit more.
“It will be tough on them to come into McMahon (Stadium) to play.”
Them, of course, are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who allowed 500 yards of net offence to the Ottawa Redblacks in last week’s 44-21 loss.
Quarterback Matt Nichols completed 23 of 35 passes for 291 yards, along with two touchdown passes to Darvin Adams, while Andrew Harris had 72 yards rushing along with a touchdown.
So, the Stampeders will have their hands full, too.
But after losing 40-27 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, there’s an air of redemption at McMahon Stadium this week — even though no one would really admit it.
“Yeah, we lost. We know we lost. But we know things we did well and we know things we didn’t do well,” said Stampeders receiver Kamar Jorden.
“So, we correct those things and just continue to grow and watch the film. It’s a new opponent, a new week. We want to just go out and put it on them.”
The Grey Cup is never won in August, but going 7-1 at this point in the CFL season is an accomplishment. But the Stampeders know better than any other team in the league that it only matters how you finish.
“Me, personally, and just the feel from the whole team, (head coach) Dave (Dickenson) and the whole organization, it’s so much bigger,” Jorden said. “We’re in the mindset of always improving and getting better. As long as we’re getting better and improving, wins and losses are going to happen, as long as at the end of the year we’re playing better, that’s what matters.
“The last two years were what they were. But we want to win the last game of the season, and we know that to do that, we have to get better, game-in and game-out.”
The scouting report from Dickenson is that the Bombers play a fast offence with multiple formations and trick plays from their offence, defence and special teams.
Good personnel. Aggressive. Physical.
And, like the Stampeders, they ’re hungry after last week’s loss.
“A bounce-back game?” Dickenson quipped. “I understand what you’re saying, in the sense that you always want to get back on the winning track. We just know it’s going to be tough. You always cycle during a season, you really do. The key is not having your lows stay low for a long time and extend your highs.
“We certainly want to get back on a high.”
Because then it’s the Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos, followed by the rematch at Commonwealth Stadium.
And, soon enough, the summer air will turn to fall and it will be the end of the regular season before they know it.
“It’s going to be challenging,” said defensive back Jamar Wall about Saturday’s clash at McMahon Stadium.
“They classify themselves as the bullies around the league. They have a big offensive line and good running backs. That makes the game a lot harder to stop when you have those two dimensions. We know it’s going to be physical. We know they’re coming out to seek revenge. At the same time, we’re doing the same thing. We’re a tough team to beat already. Then, coming off a loss? It’s going to be even tougher.”
Stampeders defensive back Jamar Wall, left, says the Blue Bombers will provide a challenge when they come to town on Saturday.