Five answers the Stampeders need from training camp

The first few days of Calgary Stampeders training camp is in the books, and there is very little of big news emerging from McMahon Stadium.

Considering that most of camp news is injury related, that might be a good thing for the defending West Division champions, who entered this spring with a few lingering issues already and don’t need any more to deal with right now.

With their two pre-season games coming quickly (June 6 at home to B.C., and then June 11 at Edmonton), the Stamps have to move and make decisions faster than normal.

There will be a few answers the Stamps need answered over the next few weeks, so we’ve picked out five of them:

Who will step up as the backup quarterback?

For the past several seasons, it was veteran Drew Tate waiting in the wings behind Bo Levi Mitchell, and that gave the team a sense of comfort. Mitchell has proved to be quite durable in his tenure as the team’s starting quarterback, but the Stamps do put their second and third quarterbacks into some key situations (see fourth quarter of the Grey Cup). Will local product Andrew Buckley continue with the same role he had as last year, which meant he ran the short-yardage unit? Buckley was brought down short of a touchdown in the loss to the Ottawa RedBlacks in a key turning point play. Buckley is up against Mitchell Gale, who has CFL experience with Toronto and Saskatchewan, and newcomer Ricky Stanzi, who has plenty of NFL experience. The two pre-season games will be crucial to see which of the three emerges as the No. 2 man.

Will there be any hangover from the Grey Cup loss?

The Stamps can talk all they want about leaving the crushing defeat in the past, but it will play a factor this season. It could serve as motivation, seeing as how the core players are all returning and have stewed over the loss all off-season. The 2016 Stamps went from threatening the record for best record in the 18-game era to walking off BMO Field with their heads down, knowing they missed out on a huge opportunity to be an all-time great team. There is a long regular season ahead before they can make anyone forget about last November.

So how will this team improve during the regular season?

Exactly how will this team make an encore is something they need to work out. Mitchell expects to keep improving, and at age 27 you can believe he hasn’t yet hit his prime. But being better than 15-2-1 will be a tough challenge. Everything went the Stamps way last season, even when they got down in some games and managed thrilling comebacks. It will be tough for things to fall into place again, but they have to work on building a new identity for the new season, and that will be worked out now.

Can the offensive line be patched together?

There are plenty of players vying for the money position on the offensive line. CFL veteran Randy Richards is the favourite to start at left tackle, but this will be something to watch during the pre-season. If more than one international player stands out during camp, there is a chance the Stamps start another American to patch over some injury situations. The easiest way to cover for injured Canadians is to add another American, but when at full health, the Stamps should be playing four homegrown players on the line. Over the past couple of seasons, the offensive line has often been a mishmash, but if the same five guys can play regularly, then that will be ideal for what head coach Dave Dickenson wants to do on that side of the ball.

Are there any spots for youngsters on defence?

Last year, the Stamps had a rookie defensive co-ordinator in DeVone Claybrooks, but there were plenty of ‘coaches’ on the field, which helped with rookies or sophomores in three starting positions. The same thing should be true this year. The secondary is especially veteran now. Halfback Brandon Smith is in his 10th season, while Jamar Wall is entering his sixth season. Those players are 32 and 29, while three of the other starting players — Joshua Bell (32), Joe Burnett (30) and Tommie Campbell (29) — are not exactly young in terms of football years. With Deron Mayo and Junior Turner working back from injuries to start camp, there are a couple ‘openings’ but virtually the entire defence is the same as last year. Campbell has yet to arrive in camp due to an off-season arrest, but he’s been cleared of charges and should get here on Sunday. At some point the Stamps will need to turn over the defence to youngsters, but it probably isn’t this year.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

57 Comments on Five answers the Stampeders need from training camp

  1. mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 5:43 pm //

    The biggest question is whether to have more diamonds or red rubies on the grey cup rings.

    People talk about how great this team was and the big “choke” in the cup. People seem to forget even the most positive prognostications for this team last year was probably 12-6. Most said even fewer wins and some even said .500 or below. This team is as good if not better this year and with a huge motivation!
    Yes secondary is older and will need to be changed soon. As will a big decision at running back need to be made soon. Remember thought Calgary replaced 2 aging corners with 2 eventual allstars last year and an aging middle linebacker with Alex Singleton. Rest assured as changes are needed this team will have the personnel to to do it!.

    • Yes I agree, there was no big “choke”.Ottawa had a far better team than fans and pundits comprehended and deserved the Cup.

    • Looks like stamps have lots of questions and 0 answers. Huff sleeping at the wheel again?? Looks like it

    • Plus the ring the stamps got a few years ago was a gift by the refs. Ticats won that game

  2. melonhead // June 1, 2017 at 6:39 pm //

    oh yeah start planning that parade route! I’m sure Calgary won’t choke like they usually do in the playoffs. BLM is definitely invincible too and you won’t have to worry about a mediocre backup QB running the show ever.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 6:45 pm //

      so far he’s avoided injury. I don’t understand the comment about Calgary choking in the playoffs. Please explain

      • GoCats! // June 2, 2017 at 8:42 am //

        Easy enough to explain … both in 2016 and 2014 the Stamps fans around here were sure it was going to be a cakewalk.

        According to them … anything less than a blow out GC win was a choke.

        Personally, I disagreed with them but those were their words.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 9:18 am //

          lol no one said anything less than a blowout win was a choke …come on..I know your drought is hard but please don’t be angry about it

        • GoCats! Well done. An insightful explanation of the mindset of the times.

      • Are you dilerious!! Choke is the stamps M. O

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm //

      Mediocre like Kevin Glenn..? Who lead the stamps to the Grey Cup game and a 14-4 record? Think he can do that for you?

    • Hey Melonhead and I heard they all get to ride unicorns to the field also. BLM is in for a bit of a shock this year and I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Riders13 // June 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm //

    The 6th question they need to answer is how not to choke so hard in the big game. 100% certain they won’t be able to figure out the answer to that question.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm //

      With nearly twice as many tiles as the riders. Calgary has that question figured out.
      Yet the riders haven’t figures out how to win more than 10 games in a season.

      • Stamps have choked away more championships the past 25 years than any other team. No matter if it’s Wally, Hufnagel or Dickenson, since the 90’s the Stamps have a culture of choking in the Big Game.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:50 pm //

          Another way to look at it is to say the stamps have PARTICIPATED in more cups in 25 years than anyone

        • You said it Trips. When I think the Flutie was 2 for 2 with the Argos but only managed 1 for 2 record in 4 years with the Stamps is wild. Nobody I would rather play in the playoffs. They can have their dream regular seasons, but man it must really suck to choke after such success.

          • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm //

            I’ll give you a chance to tell me how the riders are any better

      • Ladd Law // June 1, 2017 at 7:43 pm //

        Story about the Stumps and yet your can’t not bring up the Rider. The obsession continues. FYI, the Stumps are as mighty as you want to believe and 2017 will prove to be a continuation of the Big Choke that ended 2016.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm //

          Choke? How did we choke? Ottawa came up with a game plan Calgary wasn’t ready for. Yet we dam near came back and won!..choke is leading 27-11 with 7 mins to play and losing on last play when everyone was too flustered to have the right numbers of players on the field.

          • so what youre saying is that the Stamps coaching staff sucks. Im sure they would love to hear the confidence that their giggest cheerleader has in them. Ye of little faith

          • Mr. Trump here is an actual definition of choke in the world of sports as opposed to your convenient personal definition out of Trumps dictionary.
            “In sports, a choke is the failure of an athlete or an athletic team to win a game or tournament when the player or team had been strongly favored to win or had squandered a large lead in the late stages of the event”.
            In case you weren’t sure the Stamps fit into the first part last year.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 8:47 pm //

          Ladd Law…take off the angry glasses for a second..I wrote the first post. never bought up the riders.. The only reason this turned into rider talk was me being attacked by a rider fan first in response to my first comment..take a look!! but I’m sure you will chose to ignore that fact as it’s not conducive to your desired anger

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 9:21 am //

          if that is how you define a lousy coaching staff than every coaching staff is lousy unless they win every single game they coach

      • BOOM. Theres the first mention of the Riders…by YOU. Stop obsessing about the Riders. Only one team can be “Canadas Team”

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 9:26 am //

          Riders are only “Canada’s team” because people from sask live everywhere but sask. Make no mistake the riders boom in popularity in is relatively recent and very precarious. Remember last decade when the Alouettes had a waiting list for tickets and sold out Olympic stadium for the eastern final every year???

          • stop obsessing

          • Either your very young or your wear rose colored glasses. The only thing new about the Riders boom is Saskatchewan’s economic boom. The Riders have enjoyed the most loyal following since at least the 80’s. Financial success is a completely different matter. That is a much more recent trend, directly related to the provinces success.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm //

          Just like to keep the facts the facts. I refuse to allow this site to become a rider love in site like riderville

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:07 pm //

      Biggest question for the riders is understanding the concept of the number 12…….ouch! sorry,,still too soon?

      • Ladd Law // June 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm //

        Can you count past 12? Really, that’s the best you got. How did the west final go that year? Pretty sure 12 is about the number of times you’ve been deservedly called a basement dwelling mamma’s girl.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm //

          all I got??? its pretty much the ultimate!!!

          yep you won the west final.. BTW why were the riders training staff given the game balls late afternoon on the saturday and allowed to take them back to hotel? makes you wonder why the calgary couldn’t hold onto the ball

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm //

          oh no.I’ve been called a basement dwelling mamma’s girl way more than 12 times!!! Rider fans love to spread that sort of venom whenever they can!

          • Ladd Law // June 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm //

            Only for those who ask and deserve it. Most trolls figure it out sooner or later and leave. You seem a little to dense to get it. And it seems as if if you like the attention, good or bad. Must be because of your fulfilling life and all the friends you have. Or NOT.

  4. mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 7:02 pm //

    10-8 is an epic regular season to the riders

  5. Haters gonna hate…

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm //

      no kidding Rowdy the likes of Ladd Law are getting out of hand!

      • F u n n y….good come back, but you know who I mean.

        • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 8:49 pm //

          Rowdy .you are reasonable. Go look at the first comment by me. I never brought up the riders at all. Only once a rider fan attacked me did this turn into a rider story.

          • I see what you are saying but sometimes you have to turn the other cheek and just let it go and do a followup comment on your original point. Admit it though, you do like getting Rider fans riled up! Sometimes its just good banter and other times you go just a bit too far.

  6. The article says that everything went the Stamps way to compile a record like that so you can forget another season like that. Everyone knows a lot of luck was involved.

    Coach Dicky had better hold on to his tightie whites with a firm grip this year because every team is gonna wanna give him and the Stamps a wedgie.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 1, 2017 at 10:25 pm //

      everything went Calgary’s way?? please go back and look at our o-line injuries. Do you know how many times a d-lineman had to change jerseys mid game to play o-line because 2-3 would go down that game. Tragic shooting of a player that could have destroyed this team,,,luck BS….. You need to deal with he fact this is still the best team in the league..bare none

      • Who won the Grey Cup again?

        Yeah, the best team.

      • There you go again, calling something a fact when it is ONLY your opinion, BIASED opinion I might add. You guys ruin this whole site. Every freaking thread ends up being boy wonder against people who wear carved out watermelons on their heads. Can it get any more ridiculous?

  7. Scottsask // June 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm //

    I can’t wait.

  8. Rider fans, Relax. Remember, Calgary fans aren’t better than Winnipeg Fans, Edmonton Fans, Hamilton Fans. Ottawa Fans and BC fans. Let’s hope the Calgary choke continues after DD is gone, if not the chirping here could reach epic proportions and that would be unbearable

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm //

      I don’t think any fan base is better than another fan base

      • and we know how well your mind works so that explains that. Hell we have almost as good of fan base in Calgary than the Stumps.

  9. Scottsask // June 2, 2017 at 1:18 am //

    It is unbearable. Less squawking, more football.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 2, 2017 at 9:28 am //

      I can’t wait for football Scottsask.. 4 more days and I will return to historic McMahon Stadium for a game.

      • No one cares on this site what you do or where you go Stampland. Don’t you get it!! Go out and find a friend man, one in real life not your blow up doll

  10. Haha this is a stampeder’s blog, whose trolling now?

  11. OilRider // June 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm //

    Lol oh man, this guy. It’s an article about Stamps training camp and STILL The Troll can’t help himself and attacks the Riders. This site is getting ridiculous

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