‘Time for people to know I’m the best’: Ka’Deem Carey primed for ‘career year’ with Stampeders

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Throughout a transitional 2022 season in Calgary, there was one relative constant: Ka’Deem Carey churning yards on the ground behind the best offensive line in the country.

Carey managed to collect a league-best 1,088 yards on the ground with just 164 carries last season for a whopping 6.6 yards per carry average. He also found the endzone often, scoring 10 times on the ground. He was the only running back in the top five in that category, with the other four being goal-line quarterbacks, who sneak a yard at a time for the major.

The 30-year-old led the league in runs of more than 10 yards, hitting that mark 38 times, and had more than double anyone else in 20-plus-yard runs with 11. He was also effective through the air, averaging 8.9 yards per catch for 248 yards on 28 receptions. Most of his yardage came after the catch, as he posted 221 YAC yards last season.

Carey is looking to keep rolling and has set some lofty goals for himself in 2023.

“1,500 yards, 15 touchdowns, (Most Outstanding Player) with the Grey Cup and Grey Cup MVP,” Carey told 3DownNation after practice Wednesday, on a day when the team was moved to an indoor facility due to the ongoing wildfires in Alberta.

“I feel like this is the year I’ve been waiting for. I feel like this could be my best career year, and that’s saying a lot when you look at my history. … It’s about time for people to know I’m the best.”

Going from 1,088 yards to 1500 on the ground may seem like a stretch until you remember that Carey has yet to play a full season of games in the CFL. If he had played all 18 games last year at the same per-game average of 77.8 yards, he would have flirted with the 1400-yard threshold.

When asked to clarify if that goal was total combined yardage, Carey made clear that those stats were only about the running game, though he is also looking to get more involved in the passing game than he has ever been before.

“I want to be there for (Stampeders’ quarterback Jake Maier). I want to be there for him on check-downs; I want to catch a lot more screens. I want to be a lot more involved in the offence and make his job easier.”

Speaking of Maier, Carey touched on the situation at camp last season where there was an open competition for the starting role at QB.

“Now we can just follow Jake. Now we can just understand Jake the best we can, instead of trying to understand two quarterbacks and we are off to a great start,” he said.

“(Maier) is telling us how he wants routes, telling us where to be and controlling the offence the way a quarterback should. We are going to make some huge plays out there!”

While Dedrick Mills and Peyton Logan shone during Carey’s spell on the injured list — thanks in large part to the offensive line creating holes that even I could get through — there is no question that Carey is the horse the Stampeders will need to ride this season if they want to maintain their current streak of 17 straight seasons with a playoff berth.

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