Get results or get new players: Stamps’ Dave Dickenson warns of changes following loss to Redblacks

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

In the immediate aftermath of another overtime loss, Calgary Stampeders’ head coach and general manager Dave Dickenson didn’t mince words about his team’s 2-4 start.

“We didn’t make enough plays. We could have won that game. We feel like we should have, but we didn’t,” Dickenson told the media. “I hope everybody is looking in the mirror, hope everybody’s trying to get better. Individually, you hopefully do that to make the team better.”

The Stampeders now sit fourth in the West Division a third of the way through the 2023 season, but it isn’t the first slow start in recent franchise history. In 2021, the team started 2-5 before finishing the shortened season on a 6-1 tear to secure a playoff berth.

Drawing inspiration from that experience, Dickenson was insistent that changes have to be made — one way or another.

“As coaches, I am of the same opinion that you have to do something different. You can’t continually make the same calls or coach the same way if the players aren’t responding and we’re not winning,” he said.

“As coaches, we found ways to change that up a few years ago and the players responded. So now we have to find the same ways, or we have to get new players. That’s the other option, so we will see how it goes.”

The Stampeders held a 32-28 lead over the Ottawa Redblacks in the waning minutes of Saturday’s game before surrendering a touchdown with 1:21 remaining. While the team marched the field to force overtime with a Rene Paredes field goal, they came up short by a two-point convert in the extra frame.

Asked if he felt his team lacked a killer instinct, Dickenson was indignant.

“I don’t really know what a killer instinct is. To me, do your job, execute, do your job. That’s it,” he said, shaking his head.

“If you don’t believe that you can do it, you won’t get the job done. The best teams have swagger and confidence, especially defensively. Right now that is not the situation for our entire team. I don’t believe that we feel like we are the team that is going to make the play.”

“You know how you solve that? You make the play. You make the play and you do it over, and over, and over, and soon you are the team where everybody believes that and you get the job done.”

The team seemed to have regained momentum with a walk-off win over the rival Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 6 but failed to win consecutive games once again. That’s another major concern for their coach.

“We can’t win two games in a row, we can’t build momentum and we can’t find a way to move ourselves up in the standings. We’re inconsistent. We have some great plays and some great looking things, but other times we are just very inconsistent,” Dickenson emphasized.

“Winning breeds winning, and we don’t want to wait until the last drive. We need to put the pedal down when we have momentum and put somebody away, and we just haven’t done that.”

The path doesn’t get any easier for the Stampeders going forward, as the schedule between now and Labour Day features the three best teams in the CFL, with the Argos twice, B.C., and Winnipeg all on the slate following a game against Montreal next week.

If the Stamps don’t figure out how to gain and retain momentum, a 17-year playoff streak could soon be in jeopardy.

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