Winning not enough for Stampeders

The Stampeders captains and coaches have a tough decision to make after a game. Who deserves that week’s game ball? Which player was it that made the difference for the team on offence, defence and special teams? After a 25 point effort and a 17 point win, you would think that the ceremony would be a happy one.

Not in Calgary.

In a video posted on the team’s website, offensive captain Bo Levi Mitchell credited the defence and special teams for the win “Y’all are carrying our asses out there and we’re not doing enough.” Mitchell said it was a good win but continued “the details ain’t there, we’re not executing but the game-plan was great though,” before tossing the offensive game-ball to the coaches.

Calgary has become the place where winning is no longer good enough.

That attitude has been pervasive here for a long time now and was reflected in head coach Dave Dickenson’s comments after the game.

“You win by 17, and you just don’t feel great about it. It’s pro sports and every win is hard and you really should cherish it and you should really respect your opponent and believe that every win should be special, but yet I look at what we did offensively, and even I didn’t think our special teams were very good, it just makes me want to be better.”

Referencing himself as offensive coordinator Dickenson also said he wasn’t happy with the run game and said after a good start, the Stampeders got complacent.

This may become a problem late in games for the Stampeders as the season goes on.

Derek Dennis appeared on the Horsemen Radio podcast this week, available wherever you find your podcasts, and said he knows his fourth quarter against Toronto was likely his worst of the season yet because the game was so far out of reach. Stampeder games have become an exercise in limiting injury potential during the fourth quarter lately because the scores have been lopsided at the half.

Three times in five games the Stampeders carried a lead of 18 or more points into the locker room for the halftime chin wag and maintaining focus will have to be a topic of conversation if the team keeps coming out in the opening quarters like they have.

Some other thoughts from Saturday’s victory over Montreal:

Look out Hank

Bo Levi Mitchell had 276 yards passing which was good enough to pass Doug Flutie on the all-time passing list for the Stampeders meaning that only Henry Burris is ahead of Mitchell now in the franchise record books. Mitchell will likely need at least two more seasons to pass Smiling Hank who has an 11,438-yard lead.

Defence lowers average again

After giving up just 9.5 points per game during the first four matchups, the Stampeders gave up just eight against Montreal. DeVone Claybrooks has this defence running at a fever pitch and is sending all kinds of pressure adding another pair of QB sacks to bolster their league-leading total to 16. The Stamps defence has allowed 46 points now through five games which is 65 points less than any other CFL club. In the interest of stats that likely won’t hold up, the Stampeders will allow 166 points this year. The 18 game low in the CFL is 302 total. Right now, the Stamps would have to average 20 points against the rest of the way in order to not break the record. That’s twice as much as they are allowing now.

So many weapons

Bo Levi Mitchell continues to spread the ball around hitting six different receivers during the game but Eric Rogers has definitely become the focus of the passing attack with nine receptions versus the Alouettes. Doubling Rogers becomes a problem for defences as that leaves DaVaris Daniels, Kamar Jorden, and Marken Michel as targets. Drop extra coverage and then the run game will get very aggressive.

Jackson has rough night

After averaging just shy of 100 yards a game through the first four, Don Jackson had 17 carries for just 46 against the Alouettes. Dickenson suggested during his post-game availability that due to the lower-body issue suffered by Mitchell last week allowed the Alouettes to place more pressure on the run game as they didn’t expect to see Mitchell rolling out of the pocket during this contest.

Nik comes home

A nice tribute video for Nik Lewis who signed a one-day contract to retire a Stampeder. It was missing my personal favourite TD of his, though. Known as “The Truck” around these parts, it was maybe left on the cutting room floor because that TD was scored against the Alouettes. You can see it below.

The man who referred to himself as “The Dumptruck” on a Horsemen Radio appearance a few years ago because he was not the fastest but he was definitely the sturdiest receiver out there joked about getting 1,000 yards in every weight class. The CFL needs more characters and players like number 82.

Here’s to you Mr. Robinson

Larry Robinson passed away this week. Born and raised in Calgary, Robinson played 224 games over 14 years winning the Grey Cup in 1971. The first player to score 1,000 points in CFL history, Robinson remained involved in the Stampeders Alumni organization. A punter, kicker, and three-time all-star defensive back, Robinson has been enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and won the Presidents Ring in 1972. Robinson was remembered best for a 32 yard FG into the wind in Regina in 1970 that sent the Stamps to the Grey Cup. The conditions that day, -30 with howling winds made that kick nearly impossible. Robinson sent it through and cemented his place in fan’s hearts forever.

A tougher test

Speaking of Regina, the Roughriders host the Stampeders next Saturday after a run of five straight games against East Division opponents. The Stamps currently have a two-game lead on the Western Division.

Must Read