Dickenson hopes Stamps can block Winnipeg D-line that is ‘continually harassing quarterbacks’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Calgary Stampeders’ head coach Dave Dickenson knows that protecting quarterback Jake Maier will be a big challenge when his team travels to Winnipeg to face the Blue Bombers on Sunday.

“I think (Adam) Bighill is about as good a blitzer as there is. He’s got moves, he’s got physicality,” said Dickenson in a videoconference. “We know Winnipeg’s D-line notoriously is as good as any. It looks like they’re continually harassing quarterbacks, so [blocking] will be at a premium again, especially with the noise out there as well.”

The Stampeders started two new offensive tackles in Week 3 with second-year man Leon Johnson on the left side and Canadian rookie Bryce Bell on the right side. Incumbent left tackle Ucambre Williams missed the game with a knee injury, while rookie right tackle Julian Good-Jones missed the game due to illness.

Good-Jones returned to practice on Monday and his head coach suggested that there is a chance he and Williams could return to the starting lineup for Week 4.

“He looks like himself now,” said Dickenson. “Maybe we get both tackles back, maybe not. We’ll see, but it was nice to have Julian out there [in practice]. He’s a rookie. He needs to practice, he needs to play to get better. Whoever our tackles are this week will be challenged, so hopefully he’s out there and playing a good game.”

Having their No. 1 offensive tackles back against Winnipeg would be huge as the Blue Bombers have arguably the best defensive ends in the CFL. Willie Jefferson gets a lot of ink as the league’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player, but Jackson Jeffcoat has six tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles in just three games this season.

Calgary got their first win of the year in an upset against Montreal in Week 3, which also happened to be their first game without Bo Levi Mitchell. The Stamps intend to use the victory as a springboard as they look to improve on their 1-2 record.

“We just gotta build on our momentum. We gotta make sure that we use our win and our game to try to create some momentum and hopefully we can keep it going,” said Dickenson. “Big challenge [this week against Winnipeg], but hey — let’s go after it early in the year, see where we stand, and hopefully we play a good game.”

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.