The pre-season home game for the Calgary Stampeders will feature a starting lineup heavy on vets and may look a whole lot like the regular season game one lineup a few weeks from now.
Bo Levi Mitchell will get the start at QB, although don’t expect him to play very much. He will have some familiar faces as four of his five receivers started games last year in Eric Rogers, Juwan Brescacin, Markeith Ambles and Reggie Begelton.
The only new face on the top of the receiver depth chart, is Micheal Klukas who is currently ahead of Julan Lynch at his position. Klukas has been turning heads at camp so far with a few TD catches. The second year pro was cut from the practice roster in September last year before being brought back in December.
2019 first round CFL draft pick, Hergy Mayala is slotted into the third spot behind Eric Rogers at the slot position.
Folarin Orimolade is getting the first audition opposite Cordarro Law in the spot to replace the departed Ja’Gared Davis at defensive end, while Mike Rose will start at defensive tackle replacing Micah Johnson. Rose has been with the organization since 2017 but has only played in two games during his tenure, registering five total tackles.
The two hottest training camp battles were expected to be at linebacker and in the defensive backfield, there is some clarity emerging.
Cory Greenwood is getting the start at middle linebacker, but everyone behind him on this occasion carries an international designation. Wynton McManis will try and replace Jameer Thurman who signed in the NFL.
When looking at the defensive backfield, the new names include Royce Metchie, a second year player out of the University of Guelph at safety ahead of veteran Courtney Stephen. Metchie played in seven games last year racking up five special teams tackles.
Raheem Wilson isn’t a global player but has spent the last two seasons playing in Germany and will be slotted in at cornerback. Wilson is looking to be the latest in a long line of high caliber defensive backs that Calgary seems to have a pipeline of. Over the last few years, the Stamps have brought in Tommie Campbell, Ciante Evans (both now in Montreal), and last year’s Stampeders outstanding rookie Tre Roberson. And 2018’s rookie camp standout Gump Hayes will back Wilson up.
Don Jackson won’t be playing in this game giving the bulk of the early backfield work to Terry Williams. Although, I expect we will see a lot of Ka’Deem Carey as the three-year NFL vet spent a good amount of time on the practice roster last year learning the game. Time to find out what he can offer when the live bullets are flying. Carey had a great college career and could break a couple big ones against an inexperienced Saskatchewan defence.
On the offensive line, the injury to Brad Erdos has moved projected starting centre Ryan Sceviour over to guard and Ucambre Williams back into the middle of the line. Nila Kasitati will get a look at right tackle, which was the position that saw the most criticism last season.
In the second half it will be interesting to see the battle for backup receivers as Griffen Whalen and Aaron Peck look to make an impact, likely catching throws from Nick Arbuckle, Montell Cozart and Troy Cook. Head coach Dave Dickenson will be watching these battles closely as his receiving corps has been somewhat susceptible to injury the last few years.
The game goes at 7 p.m. mountain time tonight, and the air quality index this morning is at 10+, which is supposed to improve by game time, but breathing may become difficult as the game goes on.