Patchwork receiving Corps gears up for Lions
Matthews makes debut against B.C. Lions on Calgary’s injury-riddled receivers’ squad
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.
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.