It would be easy to look at the early-season results and ask yourself, where do the Calgary Stampeders find these gems?
Kamar Jorden has become one of the early-season success stories for the Stamps, moving into the slot receiver spot and becoming the go-to guy in a dynamic offence.
Another case of the rich getting richer? Just plug another player in and he will be successful?
This is a case of nature vs nurture, and Jorden’s success is due to patience, practice and development, something that’s rare in the CFL when it comes to American players.
Due to a strict ratio, it’s tough to get young players on the roster to experience game situations. There are only 20 international players outside of quarterbacks among a 44-man active roster and among those generally three are backups.
So if you aren’t already good enough to start, chances are your in tough to make the roster and get game action in.
This is what happened to Jorden, who joined the Stamps late in 2013 and in 2014 only seeing action in one game. It just so happened another player on the reserve list — Eric Rogers — emerged quicker when given his opportunity to play, so Jorden was playing the waiting game.
The following season, Jorden stuck around playing that same waiting game, all the while spending his workdays practicing and learning the nuances of the CFL game.
The Stamps stuck with him that season, keeping him around while Rogers led the league in receiving and then bolted for the NFL. Jorden only suited up in two games, but again it was a chance to get more experience.
Last season, it wasn’t until late in the year that Jorden started to find a groove, coming in during Week 14 and then putting up more than 50 yards per game the rest of the way. He was solid in the Grey Cup game as well, with five grabs for 75 yards.
This season, the talent the Stamps have seen since he arrived so many years ago has blossomed.
Through four weeks of the season, Jorden has five touchdowns to lead the league in that category, and the Stamps are using him in different ways just to put the ball in his hands.
Against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 3, Jorden was given the ball on a rushing attempt, and he scored that way too.
Last week against the Montreal Alouettes, Jorden was the top target again, catching nine passes for 140 yards as the third option behind DaVaris Daniels and Marquay McDaniel.
There’s been much chatter around Calgary about the Stamps constantly throwing the ball Jorden’s way, but that’s because he is constantly finding himself open for Bo Levi Mitchell.
With all the reps he’s received over the years, Jorden is now a solid route runner, and he’s only going to suit up in his 18th career game this week.
Certainly, the Stamps have had their share of quick studies, players who became instant stars. Rogers was one, while Daniels was another last season.
But give credit where it’s due. They’ve put in the time and energy into Jorden and are now reaping the rewards. They are making a case for sticking with a talented player through some growing pains.
The situation in Regina is on the polar opposite end. The Saskatchewan Roughriders under Chris Jones are constantly moving players in and out of their practice roster trying to find that instant spark.
The success hasn’t been there yet. The Stamps meanwhile don’t make all that many roster moves, and only by necessity of injury do they add players to the practice roster mid-season.
So the answer is clear: The Stamps don’t always find these guys; sometimes they are created.
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