Buckley takes control of Stampeders backup job

With a short training camp and two pre-season games over the span of six days, the veterans had a real advantage in terms of making an impression for the Calgary Stampeders.

However, even without the benefit of ‘first-teamers’ around him on Sunday night, second-year Canadian Andrew Buckley held his own in the fight for the No. 2 quarterback position with the Stamps.

Coming into camp, the Calgary Dinos product had a bit of a leg up on Stamps newcomers Ricky Stanzi and Mitchell Gale, with the latter at least not new to the CFL, seeing as how he’s familiar with the team and Dave Dickenson’s offence. Someone else probably needed an exceptional performance in the exhibition outings for Buckley to drop down the depth chart, and that didn’t really happen, especially in a 36-35 win over the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday.

Although Buckley entered the contest fourth, the game was tight and he delivered, throwing a strike to rookie Canadian Richard Sindani for a great 24-yard touchdown conversion. Earlier in the game, when Bo Levi Mitchell was still in action, Buckley came in to run the short yardage unit, another good sign that he’s the frontrunner to take that job.

Buckley appears to have grown through his first full off-season as a member of the Stampeders, and he’s shown to be much more comfortable running the offence so far this spring. Over two pre-season games, he went 12-for-15 passing for 140 yards with four rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown along the ground as well.

Against the Eskimos, each of the four Stampeders quarterbacks helped put points on the board. Gale converted a Mitchell-led drive for a TD plunge, while Stanzi entered the game in the third quarter and hooked up with Rory Kohlert for a TD strike of his own on a nice corner route. Gale did lose a fumble though after his pocket collapsed under pressure.

The Stamps coaches didn’t get a great schedule when it comes to evaluations, but at least this is a veteran team, so they mostly know what they have already.

Still, it was good for them to see the likes of defensive tackle Micah Johnson record a sack, right tackle Dan Federkeil get into some action and receiver Marquay McDaniel and running back Jerome Messam doing their thing.

Incumbent return specialist Roy Finch also solidified his position by returning a punt 81 yards, although because he was working against a first pre-season game cover unit from the Eskimos, so maybe that should be taken with a grain of salt.

Of course, it wouldn’t be pre-season without an injury issue, and there is one that will be a blow to the defence. Cordarro Law went down with a leg injury and had to be helped off in obvious anger and frustration. International defensive end is one of the areas where the Stamps have some depth, but big things were expected of Law in a full season back from a long NFL stint. The Stamps sat veteran Charleston Hughes out of the pre-season and gave plenty of youngsters long looks, so now there is a chance for someone to break onto the roster that wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise.

In a complete reversal of usual camps, the Stamps will break camp with a scrimmage on Thursday, and it will be the final chance for players to make an impression before the opening day roster is set for the Grey Cup rematch.

But you have to believe most of the toughest decisions will be made by now.

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.

22 Comments on Buckley takes control of Stampeders backup job

  1. Ladd Law // June 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm //

    And he’ll be the starter by week 3 after BLM becomes “busted little man”. Stumps topple hard from their high horse this year. It’s called the grey cup choke blues.

    • Soft Serve // June 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm //

      I personally hope we see more than a little play time from both Bridge AND Buckley this season, but not if it means we have star players getting injured on any team.

      Bo might get hurt – that’s a reality in this game. All good CFL teams have to deal with the reality that players get hurt. But you posting this same nonsense on every single Stampeders-related thread makes it really seem like you are going beyond prediction – you are actively wishing for it to happen.

      Whatever your internal wishes are, stay classy, dude, and maybe enjoy the fact that the long offseason is just about over.

      • mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm //

        I too hope to see Buckley and Bridge get some real playing time this season

      • mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm //

        FYI Bo doesn’t seem to get hurt very often

        • George Porge // June 12, 2017 at 10:42 pm //

          Knock on wood, my friend. Knock. On. Wood.

          I think I recall he was hurt for a couple of games a few years ago, and Tate actually won two of the three of them. Even as a backup, any Stampeder QB has some pretty big shoes to fill.

    • BigRedMachine // June 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm //

      Because BLM has proven to be so fragile in the past….

      • Soft Serve // June 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm //

        But this year will be different because of O-Line injuries. Because Calgary has never had O-Line injuries. /s

      • Marc Lebut // June 13, 2017 at 9:54 am //

        I don’t think the “BLM gets busted” scenario is realistic. It’s a possibility, but he’s been quite healthy since he’s been a starter and I doubt it would be different this season.

        • George Porge // June 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm //

          All joking aside, that same thing used to be said about Darian Durant. It only takes a fluke step or a dirty hit to go from reliable and sturdy to injury prone.

    • dangnabbit // June 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm //

      You might be conflating him with Tate. Kinda similar skill sets, both Texans, but BLM has had more success and fewer injuries.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm //

      Look on the bright side Ladd Law. If BLM does get hurt think of all the time he can devote to watching the riders moves and keep them in line

      • George Porge // June 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm //

        The CFL investigative beat reporter will always be on the job, ready to report any nefarious doings by the nefarious doers.

  2. I hate to see vets hurt during preseason games, seems to hurt even more than when its a real game.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm //

      I think injuries occur more frequently when players are worried more about it

  3. mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm //

    I just hope we don’t lose him in a few years to another team willing to make him the starter and take the credit for his development.

  4. Scottsask // June 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm //

    Do you think he’d want to go anywhere else? I know he played CIS ball in Calgary, but is that where he’s from? Either way good for he and Bridge. I’m sure they’ll both play a bit this year.

    • mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm //

      Yes he did play for UofC but if he proves good and can’t get the starting job from BLM I’m sure he’d leave if someone else would would give him the opportunity. That is probably a few years away however. Is at all! He may reach a plateau and ever be good enough to start

  5. OL injuries are a bit of an issue in Calgary. Losing Law hurts. He & Hughes form one of the elite DE tandems in the league. Calgary will lose a few more games. How many teams go through a season with 2 losses – there’s some luck involved there. Speaking of luck, Winnipeg had a ton of it – very average team without the T/O’s – not likely to get that many again. Calgary still the team to beat. Cal, BC & Edm look like the big boys out west. The Bombers & Regina will fight it out for 4th. Look no further than the most important position – QB. In anyone’s book, Glenn & Nichols are probably the worst starters in the league. Yes, Glenn has been great in training camp but what do the completion % mean when Jones gives his QB’s credit for dropped passes that should have been caught? Goofy way of rating them. So you hear Glenn was 80% in practice – what exactly does that mean?

    • Marc Lebut // June 13, 2017 at 9:48 am //

      The Stamps usually find a way to fill the holes when some of their guys get busted. Who was talking about Derek Dennis last June? Same thing for Law’s position. Expect the next guy to do the job.

  6. mrnehnehincognito // June 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm //

    If performance on the practice field meant anything Marcus Crandell would be in the HOF. Would have his name on the greycup many times too

  7. I know Gale was brought in to be the backup, but I dont think he has earned it. He hasnt looked good in the games from my perspective. I think he’s gonna be the odd man out.

  8. Dan Bombers // June 13, 2017 at 12:03 am //

    Not surprised to see Winnipeg so low, still lots to prove but things are looking up for this franchise

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