The Calgary Stampeders are expected to start second-year quarterback Jake Maier over veteran Bo Levi Mitchell in Week 12 against the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg at IG Field on Thursday night.
Head coach Dave Dickenson would not confirm his starter after Tuesday’s practice at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium. According to sources, Maier took all the first-team reps while Mitchell was relegated to running the scout offence.
“No update on that. It is my call. I just go with it. You want to be fair. History matters and production matters. All of us, coaches and players, know that you gotta produce and you gotta be at your best to win — we’re in a winning business,” Dickenson said.
Mitchell was benched at halftime during the Stamps’ 22-19 win in Toronto after completing 9-of-16 passes (56.3 percent) for 149 yards with two interceptions. Maier connected on 14-of-18 passes (77.8 percent) for 156 yards with one interception in the second half against the Argonauts.
“It’s not like I have a quick hook with either quarterback, but if I need a spark to try to win, I gotta be able to do that. We’re in a little bit of a rally mode,” Dickenson said.
“There was one game in my career I was having some concussion issues and I got benched, I just wasn’t feeling it. Other than that, as a competitor you think you can always win the game and you want to be in there with your teammates.”
The 32-year-old Mitchell recently became Calgary’s all-time passing yardage leader. The two-time Most Outstanding Player has started nine games this season, completing 160-of-261 passes (61 percent) for 2,010 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He has averaged less than 200 passing yards per game in his last five outings.
“He’s come to work and shows up early for meetings. We’re always on the same page. I don’t expect a guy to ever like getting benched,” Dickenson said.
The 25-year-old Maier dressed for 11 games in 2021 and made three starts, winning two and losing one while Mitchell was recovering from a broken leg. During his rookie CFL season, the six-foot, 212-pound pivot completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,211 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. He also carried the ball 16 times for 31 yards and two touchdowns plus made one catch for six yards.
During the offseason, Mitchell reworked the final year of his contract with president and general manager John Hufnagel while Maier signed a one-year extension. Both players’ pacts are currently scheduled to expire after the 2022 season.