Stamps offence needs to find a rhythm … and keep their QB healthy

Dave Dickenson has a bit of a predicament over the next two weeks.

The Calgary Stampeders head coach needs to get his offence in gear. He also needs to make sure his franchise player is ready to start the post-season at 100%.

It seems hard to fathom, but a team that just clinched first place in the West Division, can rest up for a month until they host the West final Nov. 19 and just finished rattling off 11 straight wins needs to get straightened out.

For the first time this season, the Calgary Stampeders (13-2-1) laid an egg. The 30-7 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders was certainly a wakeup call and a serving of humble pie for a team that was cruising towards another West Division crown.

It’s the second straight week the Stamps were less than stellar in their play, but the road win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats can be easily forgotten because they did just enough to seal a victory, even if it was at the last second.

Against the Riders though, in a game where a win would seal the West, the Stamps stumbled in all three phases, but mostly on offence.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is dealing with a shoulder issue that has come and gone throughout the summer and into the fall. He admitted post-game that he’s dealing with an issue, but reiterated that if he couldn’t perform he wouldn’t be on the field. Clearly he was off, and that’s a bigger reason why he was replaced against the Riders.

With the Winnipeg Blue Bombers losing and allowing the Stamps to lock down first anyway this week, there is now a chance for Mitchell to get some rest if that’s what Dickenson chooses.

What does that mean for offensive cohesion though? The final outings against the Eskimos (still fighting for second) and the Bombers (who want to lock down a home playoff game) represent 120 minutes of warmup for what will likely be a West final matchup against one of those clubs.

The Stamps need to get Mitchell and the offence clicking, which they haven’t been for the majority of the season. Maybe the expectation is too high, but there are times this season when the Stamps have destroyed teams on special teams and defence, just done enough on offence and the score is lopsided.

At one point you could have asked, ‘how good will this team be once the offence gets rolling?’

You could even make the case that the Stamps defence, although not outstanding on Friday against the Riders, still performed well enough to win considering two of the Saskatchewan majors came on a punt return and a pick-6. The other 16 points should be good enough to win on a regular night for the Stamps.

A shuffling of receivers certainly hurt the Stamps on Friday, as Marken Michel went out early in his first start taking over for Marquay McDaniel. That caused a few players to be out of position and the Stamps offence didn’t find any rhythm after that — granted it was super early when that happened and it could be chalked up to a bad day overall.

McDaniel should return after a week off, but Michel is nursing a hamstring injury, which is devastating for a speed player.

The only thing you can pinpoint about the Stamps offence is it was a little off. Just a bit of an adjustment here or there and it likely would be fine to get the job done.

If Andrew Buckley takes the majority of the snaps the rest of the regular season, does that help the offence get ready for the playoffs? Buckley certainly deserves the chance to run the first unit for the majority of a game, and he’s shown to be one of the best backups — if not the one showing the most No. 1 type stuff — in the league this season.

There is no record for the Stamps to chase, unlike last year when 16-1-1 was still a possibility heading into the final week of the season.

What the Stamps need to do now is give Mitchell and his group enough rope to feel good about themselves, then let Buckley take over. Dickenson will need to walk a fine line as a coach, and it won’t be easy.

So much for cruising into the playoffs.

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.

53 Comments on Stamps offence needs to find a rhythm … and keep their QB healthy

  1. Oh the woes of 13-2-1 and clinching with 2 weeks left!. Yes the offense has struggled some but for the most part Bo has made the plays when needed. Yes Friday was bad but so was week 4 against the Al’s and look what happened after that!
    If you look at it rationally and ignore the green grapes being thrown it’s not that bad.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 26, 2017 at 8:21 pm //

      Dickinson’s culture he is instilling of cheap shots, unsportsmanship and arrogance has definitely filtered down to the fans. An embarrassment to the cfl.

      • George Porge // October 26, 2017 at 8:29 pm //

        I agree that jumping the line during a kneel down is a dick move, but c’mon L/R. I’m sure you can hang your hat on something that has happened in more than one game. Fact is that the Stampeders are still one of the most disciplined teams in the league and Friday was an aberration.

        You can keep churning out the “Stamps take cheap shots and Dickenson is building a culture of poor sportsmanship” line repeatedly all you want, but most people in the league (including yourself, probably), know that it’s simply not true. Ultimately repeating the same lie over and over just reflects poorly on yourself.

      • Lancaster/Reed // October 26, 2017 at 8:43 pm //

        And yey you support cal gary/ aka donkey.

      • HAHAHAHA! Jones: “lose with class”… oh, wait, it was “win” but I’m speaking from the Stamps’ perspective. Don’t forget that idiot Pedersen saying he was okay with that late shot on Mitchell. Buddy, you need a serious reality check. DD is the best and most civil coach in the league. But, I guess, when you lose 10-IN-A-ROW against the Stamps and finally eek out a win, you plan the parade. Before you, I only thought Rider fans were clueless.

        • Brad, what does the radio play by play guy have to do with the “class” of the team? He doesn’t work for the Riders. He represents the radio station. The guys (players and coaches) on the field are what makes a team classy or not.

  2. The Stamps are on the way down and we all know that. Go Argos!

  3. Bo Levi is as overrated as the Stamps. They were gifted that last GC. Also all these couple Stamps fans on here who rep their fan base must be sad and surely single in Alberta. Get some jobs boys and maybe meet some women instead of pumping your own tires on this website.

    • Sweetie, I typed some stuff but deleted it. You make it tooooo easy. So, serious question, do the Riders end up 3rd or 4th in the West?

      • Sweetie? Wow Brad. I bet you’re a real hit with the ladies with all that condescending talk. It’s 2017 pal – buck up.

  4. When you’re the best people are jealous and hate. Bo will always be an overrated whiner, Dave will always be classless, Calgary will always have a shitty stadium and I’ll always be a donkey.
    It’s just human nature, really it’s all quite complementary.
    No different for the New England Patriots.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 26, 2017 at 8:53 pm //


      • But they don’t every year do they.. infact is was 10 years between SB3 and SB4!!!!!! I guess the Patriots are chokers like the Stamps…especially the year they were undefeated but lost the Superbowl hey?

    • I don’t know much about the NFL, but you are correct: the only people taking the shots are the ones on top. No one is shooting at Montreal or BC. EVERY shot at the Stamps PROVES they are the best by far. I just don’t understand why someone can be so petty.

    • This is stereotyping Cal of football fans.Most fans like Bo Levi Mitchell,the Calgary team for their great contribution to the CFL.

  5. Eskimoses // October 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm //

    To those fools with red colored glasses who think the Stamps aren’t a dirty team, I have two words for you…. Kelly Whiltshire! That POS Lewis has yet to answer the karma gods for such a gutless career ending cheap shot!

  6. I am not a Calgary fan but it is hard to say they are just lucky and were gifted a Grey Cup when they have won the west as many times as they have in recent years. Why can’t anyone admit that they would be thrilled if their favorite team had Calgary’s record?

    • Fair comment. I actually DO respect Calgary’s record, a lot. I just don’t much care for the players, coaches, or (some) fans. But the record is really solid.

  7. Being a reporter following a team that has the next 3 weeks locked up so early is a hard thing to get a story on. I think Busby nails the difficult decisions Dickenson has to try and get the offence on track. Easily the best defence by a large margin in the CFL but the Stamps and quite frankly any team will need all 3 phases to gel at the same time to win the Grey Cup.

    As a Rider fan and a fan of the CFL, you cannot help but look at Calgary and admit they have done an unreal job for the better part of the last 10 years. The plug and play offensive line, the use of their National ratio, draft, etc. Not to forget that they have had some key guys go to the NFL during that time too.

    The stuff that everyone is calling dirty….each team does it. I think it is more about trying to get an edge for the second half. Davis wasn’t hurting anyone. He was mixing it up to get the energy going. Sure it ticked me off at the time, but if it was my team laying an egg at home to the most hated team to the East, and they were just laying down, I would be more ticked.

    I do disagree with Busby that Buckley has been the quarterback that has shown the most ability to be a #1. I don’t think the sample size is big enough to make that statement. He does have talent though.

    • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 10:23 am //

      Good comments Sec. 39.

      They had Glenn Suitor on Sportstalk last night talking about the decision to play or sit guys, and he’s saying the same thing – but the thing that stuck out for me was something to the effect of “I’d rather have a full roster of healthy players who are a bit rusty going into the playoffs, than to have 80% of my roster at full speed out of the gate.”

      Last year’s Stampeders team was a really weird display of this in the playoffs. They phoned in the game against Montreal before the bye week, and Dickenson let the guys take a week’s vacation for earning the bye – so there was ample time for rust to set in. When the West Final came around, there didn’t seem to be any rust at all on the team and they came out firing on all cylinders. Then, a week later they came out absolutely flat at the start of the Grey Cup game against a very fired up REDBLACKS team. Ignoring the obvious fact that the Stamps had been reading their own press clippings and getting complacent during Grey Cup week, I would expect that kind of thing to happen in the West Final rather than the GC.

      I agree there isn’t enough play time to really judge Andrew Buckley. He had one good half against an already defeated Hamilton team when that team was at its absolute lowest point of the season. Having said that, I am still happy to have him over Tate (even though I am a huge Drew Tate fan), because I think he has potential and is very coachable.

      Brandon Bridge, on the other hand – he’s shown he can lead a team and I hope he stays with you guys for the long haul. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if he gets significant playing time (or even the start, though it seems like Jones really likes to play him off the bench) during the playoffs, and if he does, the Riders are an incredibly strong team. I also gotta say that Richardson seems to be proving doubters (including me) wrong and he and Marshall remind me of the running back duo you guys had with Allen and Messam – except even stronger.

  8. The problem with being perennial favorites is you start reading your own press, start to pop off in that regard and piss off all your opponents for your arrogance and that brings out the best from your opponent each and every time you line up. This is how the Stumnps go from being favorites to choking most years. They think they are better and forget to show up and prove it. Dickensen’s own history shows that when things got real and the other team matched intensity, he tucked tail and shat the bed. The Stumps mirror their coach and it will be their undoing; and that can’t happen to a more classy group of players and fans.

    • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 11:04 am //

      If what you say is true about Dickenson “tucking tail and shitting the bed” whenever the pressure comes on in a game, you’d think that we’d have lost a lot more close games than we have. Truth is, Stampeders, more often than not, have turned on the heat late in games while under pressure and managed to pull out a win. Even last year’s Grey Cup game, while not a win, was an example of this. Stampeders were down by 20 early in the 3rd quarter and managed to make it all the way back to force overtime. They were a goal-line stand away from winning that game.

      I do agree with you on one thing though, Ladd Law. Teams (and in many cases, their fans) mirror their coach. The Stampeders are, again, one of the most disciplined teams in the CFL. The Riders, on the other hand, still have fans who, while trying their best to make a reasoned comment, can’t even show enough class to refer to their rival teams without using some kind of pejorative twist on their name.

      There’s a reason why, despite Chris Jones having done an incredible job rebuilding the Riders this year, it is Dickenson and not Jones who is currently regarded by many in the CFL media as the front runner for coach-of-the-year. Again.

      • Coach of the Year is all about what you value in a coach. If it’s winning, Dickenson will get it. Obvious choice. If it’s turnaround in a single season, it should be Jones. The record is greatly improved, but there also haven’t been any atypical distractions. Players have bought in. And, if you’re looking at a body of work (several seasons), maybe it should be O’Shea. Dickenson inherited a team, and Jones built one, but O’Shea seems to have turned a team of underperformers into a serious contender.

        • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm //

          I do agree on O’Shea and Jones (heck, even both Jones’, except the one out East hasn’t been here long enough) being in the running. O’Shea, though, didn’t just inherit a failing team and then make it better – he was a good reason for the team failing in the first place. I would peg their turnaround more on Matt Nichols than on O’Shea.

          Chris Jones has basically done in Saskatchewan what he did in Edmonton, except that he had a lot less to start with in Saskatchewan. So yeah, definitely should be in the running for COTY. Personally, I think the choice is really between he and Dickenson. And as you say, it really depends on what considerations you give for COTY.

          Dickenson didn’t just “inherit” a good team when he took the reins as head coach last year. He helped build that team alongside John Hufnagel. Dickenson has been coaching in Calgary since 2009 and was assistant head coach for at least two years before taking the job solo. Calgary also fielded a lot of pretty impressive rookies last year and this year under Dickenson (mind you, that could really point to Hufnagel and the scouting team rather than Dickenson).

    • Dickensen has a history??
      This is his second year! He’s 1-1 in post season and is 28-4-2 as a head coach. He wins close games, blow out games and ugly games. Your comment makes no sense

  9. Last year I would say the Stamps dominated, but lost the big game much to most people’s surprise. This year their offence has been so so, but their defence pretty darn good. Mitchell clearly has been pretty average at best in many games, just good enough to win games his defence has kept him in. He clearly has issues, which impacts their ability to score points

    Should they get bounced in the playoffs this year, i doubt many will be shocked, in fact an early exit is very possible.This year they won but don’t dominate. Their success has been more on the D side and we have all heard D wins championships so don’t rule them out.

    Good luck to all the playoff teams from a despondent Lions fan. Lol

  10. One thing people forget last year was Calgary played a meaningless final game against Montreal. We then had a scheduled bye week 20 and then the bye for being first. In effect we had 2 weeks off. We proceeded to beat BC after that and played 1 bad half against Ottawa in Grey Cup. I find it difficult to believe the decisions the rest people in the final game played any factor.

    • Smells like excuses, excuses, excuses. Last year the Stumps got what they deserved and most of the CFL applauded their loss as much as the RB win. The comments on this site by Stump fans pretty clearly demonstrate the issues; self importance and arrogance. And we all expect a repeat choke performance this year. But good regular season record. I mean that is something.

      • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 11:35 am //

        Of course most of the CFL applauded the Stampeders’ loss. Other than the Lions and the Alouettes, every other team not playing in the Grey Cup was swept by the Stamps in the regular season, and no team in the league had a better than .500 record against them. That kind of success tends to brew animosity in rivals.

        A good regular season record isn’t everything, but it is sure better than a poor one where you get to watch other teams compete in the playoffs. As far as “choke” performances go, I’d definitely take our last playoff game over yours any day.

        • We did sweep BC
          I was Ottawa and Montreal who we lost too

        • oh you are talking about last year not this. I understand now

          • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm //

            That still doesn’t explain why you think we lost to Ottawa. We won one and tied one against them this year (same as last year). It was Montreal and Saskatchewan that we lost against so far this year.

      • Ladd Law
        We are simply a special team. You would love to be 13-2-1 wouldn’t you?

        • Wrong on point one. Moot point on two. To be perfectly clear, don’t like the Stumps, their A-typical fans (like yourself), Hitman, Flames or anything to do with Cowtown including the attitudes, driving skills and crappy weather. Next question please.

          • why is point 2 moot? That sounds like a yes to me

          • lol we can’t all benefit from those tropical winters that Sask has Ladd Law. We actually get these things called Chinooks that make winter rather tolerable.

          • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 3:45 pm //

            Ahh Chinooks. The reason I hardly ever have to shovel my sidewalk in the winter…

  11. Does anyone notice who brings up last years Grey Cup?
    It’s not Stamp or RedBlack fans…’s rider fans!!!!!!!!

    • George Porge // October 27, 2017 at 12:21 pm //

      When you can’t cheer your team to victory, you can at least console yourself with your rivals’ loss. Far less likely to get disappointed when you cheer for eight teams instead of one.

  12. White Horse // October 27, 2017 at 12:04 pm //

    Ladd Law…your riders can’t even make it to the big show. Therefore I would call that THE BIG CHOKE year after year. If your 4th place team gets beat out in the crossover is that considered a choke? Of course not in your books! You don’t brag about your team because you can’t. The only thing you can do is take cheap shots at the CFL’s best team. I guess this makes you warm and fuzzy. What ever it takes to swallow a loser. You will be hearing from many a fan when your team chokes like it usually does year in and year out. Enjoy.

  13. You guys all sound like whiney babies, like ALL OF YOU. What a bunch of losers you must be IRL

    • It’s mostly a handful of digital rivals who ruin decent discussion boards. I always picture the “Android’s Dungeon” guy from the Simpsons…

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