QUICK LEARNER AMOS EYED FOR CORNERBACK
Stamps likely to call on versatile newcomer to be injury fill-in again at different position
In his three short weeks with the Calgary Stampeders, DaShaun Amos has been asked to do a lot.
The East Carolina product made his CFL debut less than two weeks after he signed a practice roster contract with the Stamps, filling in for injured veteran Brandon Smith at halfback against the B.C. Lions.
He had a weekend off when the Stamps played the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but based on practice this week it seems inevitable Amos will be back in the lineup Friday when the Stamps try to knock off the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and clinch first-place in the West Division once and for all.
Amos won’t be at halfback this time, though.
Instead, he has been filling in for the injured Tre Roberson at corner this week at practice and seems likely to be playing out wide for the Stamps.
“Tre’s going to have trouble getting in there, he’s hurting,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “(We’ve been) giving most of the reps to Amos and he certainly looks the part, so hopefully he’ll hold up against a great receiving corps.”
Amos seems completely unfazed by being moved around a little bit.
In his time at East Carolina, he said he’d played safety, corner and nickel and was as used to being on the outside of the defensive backfield as the inside.
From the vantage point of the press box, Amos seemed to equip himself well to playing halfback, so would appear to be a quick learner. That should give the Stamps reason to feel optimistic there won’t be a major drop-off with Roberson out of the lineup – although expecting him to perform at Roberson’s level might be a bit of a tough ask.
“(The coaches) have been helping a lot, so I’m not doing it on my own,” Amos said “They’ve been helping me day-by-day, so it’s been a breeze.”
To hear the Stamps coaches talk about Amos, there’s a sense Calgary fans should expect to see a lot more of Amos going forward. This is a guy the staff believes can make a difference, as evidenced by the fact they haven’t seemed at all reluctant to get him in the lineup despite his relative inexperience.
“We really liked him when we had him down (at mini-camp) in Florida,” Dickenson said. “He had some NFL looks. When he came up, we weren’t sure he was going to play but he’s just fit in and done the right things and we do feel like he gives us not only good depth but some good fresh legs out there, plays the football, tackles.”
For Amos’s part, he seems excited.
Playing corner tends to mean you get a lot of one-on-one matchups, and he can’t wait.
“It’s a track meet,” Amos said, smiling.
Derek Wiggan won’t be playing for the Stamps on Friday against the Bombers.
Fortunately, the Stampeders have backup available.
The Canadian defensive tackle has made a big impact for the Stamps this season, but was injured in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Riders. He won’t be ready for this weekend.
In his place, Junior Turner will be named as the starter, while Ese Mrabure will come off the one-game injured list to provide Canadian cover in the centre of the defensive line.
“That’s an easy one-for-one switch there,” Dickenson said. “Good players across the board. Obviously, you don’t like to see anybody get hurt, but we feel we have depth there.”
Jameer Thurman practised Wednesday.
Given his importance to the Stampeders defence — and he’s very, very important — it would seem certain that with so much on the line Friday against the Bombers, he’ll probably play. Don’t be so sure, though. Wynton McManis took the majority of first-team reps as Alex Singleton’s linebacker partner-in-crime, and McManis’ impressive growth and improvement over the past couple of months means the Stamps may be able to play things cautiously with Thurman.
From the sounds of things after practice Wednesday, though, the Stamps hadn’t made a decision on what direction they were going to go.
“Thurm’s hurting, but he’s played. It’s not like it’s a new injury,” Dickenson said. “I’ve got to make sure I feel he can last a whole game, but he’s played a bunch.
“Wynton hasn’t, so I felt it was in our best interest to make sure that position was solidified. We still have Maleki (Harris), too, if we’re going to go that way to have some depth.”
For anyone wondering whether Bakari Grant is playing Friday, there wasn’t a ton of evidence to suggest the Stampeders had made a decision one way or the other at Wednesday’s practice. Grant put in work, for sure, but he wasn’t taking reps with the starters and Dickenson wouldn’t say whether he was in or out … The Stampeders’ injured receivers are around McMahon Stadium these days. Both Kamar Jorden and DaVaris Daniels were at practice on Wednesday … If the Stamps do beat the Bombers and clinch first place Friday, it still seems likely they’ll want to keep Bo Levi Mitchell in for at least a half against the Lions in their final regular-season game next week. He simply needs more game time to develop chemistry with his current crop of receivers. It sure would be nice to see Nick Arbuckle get an extended stretch at quarterback at some point, though. The kid can throw a pass and it’d be interesting to see how far he’s come this season.
Calgary Stampeders’ Tre Roberson during practice in June. Having Roberson out with injury means DaShaun Amos will likely get tapped to play corner against the Blue Bombers on Friday.