Pre-season game scores don’t really matter. It’s something that coaches and management will drill into your head if you listen.
It’s more about the process, the evaluation of new talent, and the development of your new team’s chemistry.
Looking at head coaches Dave Dickenson and De’Vone Claybrooks on Friday night made that theory seem a little off. Both were very animated on the sideline, passionate about the result, despite the comments after.
Coach Dickenson was still pretty steamed about an interception thrown by Nick Arbuckle saying in a video posted to the team’s website “I didn’t think it was an interception…” although challenge officials disagreed, “I’m still confused on the replay, but anyway…”
Other notable moments from the game which saw the Stamps fall 38-36:
The Stampeders lost by two points and six points were left on the field by global kicker Oscar Hugo Silva. Silva had one kick go wide that was returned out of the end zone and another bounce back off the upright. Tough night was just the beginning of a tough weekend for the Mexican product as he was released on Sunday after the final round of cuts.
Time to Shine
On the other side of that coin was Fraser Sopik. The 2019 draft pick was thought to be an interesting prospect because while his body doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold, his football sense and drive appear to be off the charts. He caused a fumble in the endzone of the Lions that a few Stampeders could have turned into a touchdown, but the ball was eventually recovered by the Lions for a safety. After the game, Sopik said he could take little solace in the effort because the team lost. That may be exactly the kid of attitude that has helped him make the team, one of five draft picks to do so.
Nick Arbuckle was 14-of-19 for 218 yards with three touchdowns and one interception if you are looking. Stampeders fans have to be feeling a whole hell of a lot more comfortable than they may have been after Bo Levi Mitchell signed for a hefty salary this off-season. Every team is worried about what happens to their starter from an injury perspective, but it seems like the Stampeders would be in very capable hands should the worst happen.
You Get a Target, You Get a Target, You All Get Targets!
13 different players were targeted in this game for Calgary. Ten of them caught one or more of those looks out of the 18 total passes that were caught on 28 passes thrown. No one receiver stood out from a work perspective which is typical of the Dickenson offence. I imagine Juwan Brescacsin will be a name that CFL Fantasy GM’s will want to keep an eye on. He is playing in the same spot in the offence previously occupied by Reggie Bagelton and Kamar Jorden. Those two piled up yards from that spot and Brescacsin could do the same.
Elsewhere on the receiving corps, former NFL’er Griff Whalen was released, but Dave Dickenson has said that if the team saw injury trouble, they would reach out. Julan Lynch, who the Stamps were high on a few years back, was passed on the depth chart by Richard Sindani and Micheal Klukas and was also subsequently released. Daniel Braverman, and Aaron Peck both took the PR spots offered and add intriguing depth to a position that is typically injury prone in Calgary.
Delayed Carries for Carey
Ka’Deem Carey, formerly of the NFL’ s Chicago Bears, will also head to the practice roster. Carey had 72 yards on just seven carries including a 41 yarder and looked sharp. If the Stamps look to have Terry Williams move to an exclusively return role, Carey could do some damage if he heads behind the road graders the Stamps typically run on the OL.
QB’s Stay Clean
Neither side was able to get much pressure in this game as there was just the one Sopik sack in the game. Both teams were running a pretty vanilla defence in this one, but the loss of Ja’Gared Davis and Micah Johnson is starting to be noticed. The Stamps only kept two true defensive ends on the roster so look for something to happen here shortly.
There were a few other names on the cut list that caused me some consternation when I was reading through. Dagogo Maxwell and Gump Hayes were both released. I don’t know what their future plans are, but if it isn’t a buddy cop show called “Dagogo and Gump” I think that is incredibly shortsighted.
Hayes had played well, I thought, in the preseason, but the Stampeders are incredible at adding international DB’s year after year and it is consistently the position where we begin the system asking “Who’s that?” and ending the offseason watching them sign for big money elsewhere.
The Stampeders left B.C. with four less jewelry boxes than they brought with them on the trip. Nothing nefarious here though, they were just delivering the Grey Cup rings earned by Coach Claybrooks, Maleki Harris, Lemar Durant, and Taylor Altilio. Altilio joined the Lions as the special teams co-ordinator after three years on the Stamps as strength and conditioning coach.
Next up for the Stamps is the season opener vs Ottawa at home on June 15th.