Dave Dickenson after benching Bo Levi Mitchell: ‘Bo has gotta elevate his game’

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

Bo Levi Mitchell finished the Week 7 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the sidelines.

With less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson pulled Mitchell and sent in rookie quarterback Jake Maier. Calgary’s bench boss did not think about making the decision to bench Mitchell earlier in the game.

“When I decide to make it, I make it. I was just looking for a little bit of momentum. It’s still mop up duty, but it matters. Guys still compete and you saw that the guy is a good player, he’s a spark right now for us,” Dickenson said.

“I thought ultimately it was the right time to see what he could do. He gave us a little bit of hope. Bo has gotta elevate his game. I gotta elevate my play-calling. Jake’s gotta elevate his game.”

Mitchell completed 16-of-28 passes (57.1 percent) for 170 yards and one interception. The 31-year-old two-time MOP has been picked off more than any other QB in the league this season, a CFL-worst seven times defenders have caught his passes. He’s 1-3 as a starter after entering the 2021 season with a 78-18-2 win-loss-tie record.

“I hold myself to a high standard and I always prepare as if I’m going to go out there and play the games I’ve always played, today wasn’t one of those,” Mitchell said post-game.

“Honestly, I thought I saw the field really well, I thought I was putting balls where I wanted to. They made some good plays, but me being who I am, I gotta be the best player on the field and I was not.”

The two-time Grey Cup champion admitted at times he was frustrated with his play against the Ticats. Mitchell felt he could throw the ball and move around well in his second game back since recovering from a broken leg. The six-foot-two, 199-pound signal caller admitted he didn’t like being benched.

“Naw, I’m never going going to be good with that, just because I believe in myself. If I was OK with that there would be a problem,” Mitchell said.

“Regardless, I’m not the coach so if he makes that decision I’m just a player, I’m going to listen to what he says and do whatever is best for the team.”

Calgary enters their first bye week of the season 2-5, last place in the West Division. Dickenson wants his team to understand the schedule is halfway over and the road ahead to comeback and earn a playoff spot has to start with a win over Saskatchewan at McMahon Stadium in Week 9.

“We gotta push though, as a group, as a team, everybody’s gotta be better,” Dickenson said.

It’s a situation no one saw the Stamps being in, but here they are. Dickenson did not name a starting QB for the match-up with the Roughriders. He’ll discuss it during the week off with the coaching staff and personnel people, including general manager John Hufnagel.

“I gotta be honest and realistic about what puts our team in the best position to win,” Dickenson said.

“I have a lot of good people working with me. We gotta make sure that we’re putting ourselves in the best position to win.”

Whether or not that’s Mitchell taking the reins at quarterback is officially undetermined.