After pulling Bo Levi Mitchell, Dave Dickenson won’t let ’emotions’ decide Stampeders’ starting quarterback next week

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Benchings have been few and far between in Bo Levi Mitchell’s career but after a four-week stretch of below-average play, the two-time M.O.P looked ineffective again on Saturday night and was replaced at the half by backup Jake Maier, who went on to lead the Stampeders to a 22-19 victory against the Argos.

It’s never an easy decision to bench your franchise’s all-time leading passer and Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson didn’t make it lightly.

“You make sure you are fair to the whole team and to the position,” Dickenson told the media post-game. “I felt like we needed the spark and I did think [Maier] provided that but there are lots of things both guys maybe could do better.”

Mitchell was 9-of-16 passing for 149 yards and two interceptions in the first half — but 80 of those yards came on his first throw of the ball game. The Stamps fell behind 16-10 at the intermission due to their struggling offence, necessitating the QB switch, though Dickenson reserved some of the blame for himself.

“I could have called a better game as well,” he noted. “I’ve got to look in the mirror; I think we all have to but we are really excited to win.”

Maier was 14-of-18 in the second half for 156 yards and an interception. It was an improved stat line compared to his predecessor but Calgary was held without an offensive major under his guidance, riding to a narrow victory thanks to an Elie Bouka pick-six and the leg of Rene Paredes.

When asked by Postmedia’s Danny Austin who would be the starter against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next week, Dickenson was less than committal in the immediate aftermath of the win.

“I just want to focus on the win,” he deflected. “Listen, I do want to look at the tape though. That’s just what I said before. You’ve got to make sure that if the quarterback position is doing his job and doing it to a standard that you want, you don’t let emotions decide one way or the other who’s your starting quarterback.”

“We’ve always thought we have good starting quarterbacks and [third-stringer Tommy Stevens’] making that a factor [as well]. That position will lead our team anywhere we are going to go, so I do feel good about that room.”

The Stampeders came into the game an uncharacteristic seventh in the league in average passing yards per game, but tremendous contributions from the run game and touchdowns on defense and special teams have allowed the Stampeders to build to a 6-3 record at the halfway mark of the season.

What remains to be seen is if that will continue to be good enough to win down the stretch.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.