Mitchell facing long rehab as Stampeders reload for 2018

Now that the sting of another Grey Cup loss has lessened a bit, it’s time for some sober reflection on what the next move should be for the Calgary Stampeders.

Sure, there are areas of the team that is getting older, and some turnover at certain positions will be unavoidable.

One this is blatantly obvious though. There should be no rebuild motion taking place. At least not yet.

With quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell admitting he has tears in both his shoulder and elbow and will need extensive rehab to be ready for training camp, the Stamps are going into another off-season of physical and emotional repair.

What would have happened if Mitchell’s throwing arm was completely 100% and he didn’t miss on the final pass that sealed the Toronto Argonauts 27-24 victory last month?

What would have happened if Kamar Jorden didn’t drop the ball with about five minutes left, allowing the Argos to return it all way the down the field to tie the game?

We will never know, but you two mistakes changed that game. Should that mean you give up on what this team has built and start over? No way.

No team has won more regular-season games over the past six seasons than the Stampeders.

No team has lost more Grey Cups either — with a 1-3 record over that span.

What this team needs is one more shot.

The reason why: Mitchell is due to become a free agent after next season. He will try to take his shot at the NFL, and no one should blame him for that.

The Stamps should be putting the focus on 2018 as a last chance with this core group of players. A healthy Mitchell will be a good start, seeing as how he was fighting through the injury for the majority of 2017 and it obviously affected the offence. Mitchell lost heat and accuracy on his throws, but the team still managed to lock down first place with three weeks left in the season. In the end, the injury probably bit the Stamps in the butt, but they did get within a minute of a championship.

It was in Week 5 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders that the injury took place, and Mitchell wasn’t right the rest of the year. There were several weeks when Mitchell wouldn’t throw a pass with the offence and then go out on game-day and try to perform.

In this ‘off year,’ Mitchell was still third in passing yardage, although his game clearly suffered as he dropped to sixth among starters in terms of quarterback efficiency. Once he goes through rehab, it’s quite likely he will return to the form that earned him the 2016 most outstanding player award.

So it’s time to reload and try to finish off another season in a positive manner.

Then, if this group is unsuccessful again, will be the time to make major changes, and it might be time to start the Andrew Buckley era.

The core group of players, especially the veteran defence that did basically nothing wrong in the loss to the Argos — except one deep ball Tommie Campbell probably would like back — should be able to get one more shot together.

The Stamps have a ton of free agents right now, but that doesn’t seem to be unusual for this league. If John Hufnagel so desires, it’s likely he will be able to put the pieces back together for this defence.

For every ‘old player’ the Stamps have in a key position, they have another ‘young one’ in another.

Sure the secondary has Brandon Smith (33), Josh Bell (32) and Joe Burnett (31), but Tommie Campbell (30) and Jamar Wall (29) certainly have some strong years left and Ciante Evans and Shaquille Richardson are just heading into their primes at 25 and the sky is the limit for Canadian Tunde Adeleke (22).

It appears that Deron Mayo (29) will be have a real hard time returning fully from the knee injury that kept him out most of the last calendar year. But Jameer Thurman (22) has a bright future after stepping up this season and Alex Singleton (24) was just voted the league’s best defender.

Who’s going to count out Charleston Hughes, who still is a sack leader at age 33, while Micah Johnson has seemingly been around forever and is just 29.

It just seems like the Stamps are getting old, because on offence that is the case a little bit.

No one would be surprised to see offensive lineman Dan Federkeil (34) and Marquay McDaniel (33) move on, and there’s a decent chance the Stamps turn over the running back position instead of going with Jerome Messam (32) again.

As big a gaffe as Jorden had during the loss to the Argos, he still caught an amazing pass that set up the final would-be touchdown drive. DaVaris Daniels is a free agent but is unquestionably a talent at receiver too.

The biggest free agent the Stamps could go after though is Eric Rogers, who has sat out two injury plagued seasons after leaving the team to sign in the NFL.

The Stamps never have too much trouble finding the next receiver, as Marken Michel stepped in and was West Division top rookie this year.

And there is no way the Stamps will be two straight years where the offence struggles like this. Dave Dickenson is too good of a coach to let that happen.

The team thought it might lose defensive co-ordinator DeVone Claybrooks to the Montreal Alouettes as their head coach, but he’s pulled himself out of the running for that job, so once again the Stamps have continuity with their staff.

Unless they lose a great deal of players to free agency … this team will be my favourite to be in the Grey Cup again.

And maybe this time they would win it.

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.

78 Comments on Mitchell facing long rehab as Stampeders reload for 2018

  1. Greenapples // December 31, 2017 at 12:21 pm //

    Great article, well done. Stamps fans like to refer to current edition as a team of destiny. Unfortunately for them this is true, they are just not destined to be champions. Of larger concern for management is an increasingly disengaged fan base which is apparent at most home games.

    • Mr Bo Jangles // December 31, 2017 at 12:50 pm //

      Stampfans never call this a team of destiny. This is a team of sound management and coaching. Destiny has nothing to do with it.
      Rider fans can have that type of rhetoric for themselves.

    • You worry too much about other teams. Plenty to worry about in Regina if would take the time and have a realistic look.

  2. Sea of Dead // December 31, 2017 at 12:31 pm //

    One can always dream but the ‘choke’ label will remain until the Stamps win a GC again … preferably through their own effort rather than with the help of an ‘iffy’ official’s call again.

  3. Mr Bo Jangles // December 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm //

    Calgary will never have to rebuild, rather they just have to replace and they do it with smashing success.
    Once Huff retires DD will run the show and this team will be successful for the next 2o years plus.
    This team was build on smart planing,management and sound drafting. Not lets just sign players, go over the cap and worry about the problem after the cup (we’re all looking at you greenland).
    Good luck on the rehab Bo. Its nice how ridefs fans kick him when he’s down. Jealousy!!!!! Plain and simple.

    • Greenapples // December 31, 2017 at 12:58 pm //

      Not much to be jealous of.

      • Mr Bo Jangles // December 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm //

        lol whatever you say greenapples.
        I could type a list a mile long of very obvious reasons rider fans are jealous of stamp nation, but I won’t bother, you already know what they are 🙂

        • Greenapples // December 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

          Must be the Bo Mitchell/Duron Carter showdown in the latter part of the season. “I’ll throw 25 balls your way, don’t do it”. Oops. #pick6

          • Mr Bo Jangles // December 31, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

            A late meaningless regular season game is the source of your rider hubris??????
            Everyone has forgotten about that except rider fans…pretty sad
            You do know we beat you twice this season right? and the 10 times before that?

        • Jeremiah was a Bullfrog // January 1, 2018 at 7:37 am //

          Stamps Nation?????? Ahahahahahaha

  4. White Horse // December 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm //

    If BLM stays healthy during 2018 season, we can count on the Stamps being in the Grey Cup again. Huff has a lot of work ahead to sign free agents by Feb/2018. If Marquay is gone then Eric Rogers would be a superb replacement at slot. Messam in my mind should be finished unless he cuts his weight back 10 plus pounds. Terry Williams is a good scat back along with Finch. I hope D. Daniels returns. I have a feeling Pierre Lavertu is done. Mayo is done.
    We must get both corners back on D. I would like to see Buckley get more Reps.

    • Mr Bo Jangles // December 31, 2017 at 1:10 pm //

      Mayo could never recover from his injury, he has already been replaced.
      I think Evans goes to an NFL camp making Campbell a top priority. I fear he will wait and go to the highest bidder. Look for Jones to make a huge offer.

      • Greenapples // December 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm //

        Not sure Campbell really needs the money. Apparently he’s got a pretty lucrative business going out of his mom’s house.

    • Buckley more reps? you mean a couple of more 1 yard plunges and 3rd and 1 plunges?
      He will remain as a 2nd or 3rd stringer until another better younger QB steps in.
      If BLM is undergoing “extensive rehab” it is doubtful
      that he will be starting the 018 season.
      Don’t understand your comment “if BLM stays healthy”?
      He’s not healthy now and won’t be.

    • ivan Diablo // January 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm //

      “Messam in my mind should be finished unless he cuts his weight back 10 plus pounds.”
      messam scored 2 TDs [1 by air and 1 by ground] in the GC game
      toronto should sign him at at his current weight
      he’s a free agent and a local FTA [canadian boy] Messam #33 would great along with Wilder #32 in the Argos backfield and help out younger Argos QBs by both being very good runners and receivers of the ball
      i think Messam if signed with the Argos would give him a good shot at the GC – he would help groom Wilder
      then Messam could retire with a ring on his finger
      from what i saw he is a big dude and hard to tackle

      • Messam doesn’t lift his feet. He shuffles. Unlike Wilder who high steps. Size doesn’t matter if the best way to tackle you is just laying down in front.

        • ivan Diablo // January 7, 2018 at 10:05 am //

          he scored 2 of 3 TD for calgary in the GC
          as a life long argos fan i would take canadian, local GTA boy, free agent messam in a heartbeat
          apparently he is not happy in calgary [didn’t come out for a post game interview after GC even tho’ he won ‘best cdn’]
          he would make a wonderful complement to wilder and help out young QBs
          even their numbers line up ! 32 & 33 – a sign from the heavens

  5. NFL shot? Hahahaha. What a joke that is.

  6. Bo Levi’s pass that went for an INT late in the game had zip to do with his injury but a whole lot to do with him not seeing the Safety.

    “If’s” are losers but here’s two.

    What if malcontent Marquay McDaniel hadn’t quit after the INT, he’d have been able to make the tackle and save the game.

    What if Kamar Jorden who hotdogged into the end zone for an earlier TD was spoken to about ball protection in the game and reminded it’s rule one for this game, how he might have just gone done and not tried to stretch out the run.

    Well neither happened and Bo’s injury didn’t lose the Stamps the game.

    What WON the game for the Argos was how prepped they were for the East Final and the GC as their coaches and GM focused them on dealing with the process of these critical weeks. Dave Dickinson dealt with it as just another game.

    What if Dave D focused his team on the process of the week versus be ready for the game??? That is a better what if than others here. That’s learn the lesson that stared you in the face from the prior year.

    • what “if” they didn’t go away from Jerome Messam in the second half?

    • True green // January 1, 2018 at 6:06 pm //

      If’s are a waste of time. Here’s a few for my Riders:
      – what if Kavis could count to 12 without somehow coming up with 13? Riders win 2009 GC!
      – what if Durant didn’t injury his elbow in the banjo bowl in 2014? Riders were a likely GC candidate!

      Calgary lost, period. No ifs ands or buts. No offence to Calgary, they’re a great team and Bo Levi is an amazing QB. He just happened to sh!t the bed with that last toss but he was throwing for the win because hes a competitor. We can all sit here and judge it but I can tell you I’ve never been under that kind of pressure in my life. Have you?

  7. Dan Preston // December 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm //

    You can have Manziel. It’ll cost you though.

  8. The Andrew Buckley era? What would that be? If Busby thinks hems the long term answer at qb in Mitchell leaves then I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell him. The Stamps never recruited or signed a FA qb because they think Buckley can play. Good luck to them with that.

  9. As an outside observer, I question why Mitchell played so much after the injury if “extensive” rehab is necessary before he’s ready for training camp. Getting hurt late in the season and bearing it for a couple games to finish the year is one thing. Playing 2/3 of the year hurt with a non-trivial injury? I would hope that a player’s health should always be more of a priority than winning regular season games.

    • That’s easy: because the Stamps have zero depth at qb behind Mitchell. They wouldn’t have been capable of winning any games without him, plain and simple.

  10. Sources Say // December 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm //

    Long time Roughrider fan here and I am envious of the Stamps organization. I wish the Roughriders could find that kind of stability. It never seems to matter who gets injured or moves on to the NFL Huffer just finds another one just as good.
    Meanwhile everyone in Riderland is deliriously happy because under Jones we improver from 5th to 4th in the west.

  11. Horsie your stamps did out play the Argos. There egos did not beat them selves. If the stamps kick a field goal instead of a int it is a 2 score game. BLM needs to learn to manage the game. No mistakes he will be back he is has to much skill not to be. I hope the riders give your stamps a good run this up coming season. Happy new year everyone.

    • Must be a different GC game you watched.

      For the one I watched … FG instead of INT makes it a tied game with less than 20 seconds on the clock. Likely it would be OT with both teams getting shots at winning.

      To be up by two scores – that would be Jorden keeping two hands on the ball, avoiding the fumble returned for a TD.

      • ivan Diablo // January 7, 2018 at 10:13 am //

        win by the gun slinger die by the gun slinger

        coach trestman’s game plan was to keep the score close into the 4th quarter

        argos did have 2 very big plays
        but it was a great grey cup

        [full disclosure – i am a life long argos fan]

  12. solara2000 // December 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm //

    Stamps – a model franchise. Strength across the board. Continuous upgrading. An envious succession planning model. Sound decision-making. Panic not in the vocabulary.
    ‘Cats Fan

  13. Steve Borsa // December 31, 2017 at 2:57 pm //

    Hold it. BLM could not think NFL 2019 if in fact all tears in shoulders. Which team would take risk on QB with injury issues. Flutie, Garcia ,Moon had no such issues. But then again, he may want to proof himself to NFL.

  14. One huge mistake you and everyone else doesn’t talk about…. coaching error offensively. Going away from Messam cost Calgary the game. Putting the ball in Mitchell’s hands down at the goal line was a mistake. Run Run Run with that gargantuan running back at the goal line = grey cup.

    Having said that, being a Lions fan watching calgary cough up furballs at the ends of grey cups… well I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t bring a smile to my face.

  15. I noticed a difference in philosophies in the pre-game speeches. I’m paraphrasing now but Marc Trestman basically told his guys to go out and play their best for their teammates. Dickensen told his crew to ‘kick ass’. Quite a difference. Maybe the Stamps weakness is DD.

    • ivan Diablo // January 1, 2018 at 10:01 am //

      trestman did so himself to be much more mature

      stamps were the better team but they lost the grey cup

      its funny that the team of the more mature coach had the bigger plays
      i think calgary needs to put away that ‘gun slinger’ mentality if they want to win it all
      sometimes u just gotta take what the defence gives u

      • ivan Diablo // January 1, 2018 at 10:03 am //

        ps -and i am a life long argos fan !

      • GC105 was lost by poor football risk management. Final 3-4 mins Stamps had it all on 24yard. But the wide-out pass to Jordan which was risky maneuver. Messam may have carried ball 1-2 then FG. Stamps 2 score lead. But the incredible happened. Rest is history. We can analyze till hell freezes over. Doesn’t change history.

  16. No team has lost more GC’s over six seasons than Calgary at 1-3?

    GC history says there’s a 0-5 team that clearly lost more, over six seasons, not matter which way one slices it.

  17. I think the riders have the worst GC record

  18. They do !

  19. Time will tell // December 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm //

    Funny how Rider fans always claim that the Stampeders are jealous of them. Jealous of what? Moving up to fourth place this year? I don’t know when the Stamps last finished a season in fourth place in the west. For moving up one position this year? Calgary can’t do that either; can’t improve over first. For having Bo Levi as their quarterback? At least they knew who their starter was the last few years and again next year. Dicky doesn’t have dirty fingernails from turning over stones. Jealous because they don’t have Duron Carter? Well, they don’t but I would gladly trade him for Kamar Jordan, Lamar Durant or Marken Michele. Envy because the Riders have Chris Jones? Hardly, they have a coach and GM who keeps them in contention while Rider fans are ecstatic to have taken fourth place and not be fined as much as last year. As for losing Grey Cups, at least they were there. I would think it is better to be there and lost then never to have been there. And before anyone makes the comment, no, I am not a Stamps fan. Nothing could be further from the truth. But expecting a Stamps fan to be jealous of the Riders is both inexplicable and ludicrous.

    • What’s funnier is how you assume all rider fans think the same. So because horsie makes an asinine comment and isn’t a rider fan, I would have to conclude that all non rider fans comments like yours are asinine.

      • Time will tell // December 31, 2017 at 10:35 pm //

        So do you also think it is funny that I have been a Rider fan for many years… until Chris Jones showed up. So I know that all Rider fans do not think the same. Many of us do not approve of the attitude of both the Riders and a lot of their fans right now.

    • True green // January 1, 2018 at 6:13 pm //

      Time will tell: “Rider fans” is a very broad statement. There are idiots posting on this site that are Rider fans AND Stamps fans. I know tons of Rider fans, I’ve never heard any of them say Stamps are jealous. But I’ll tell you honestly, I’m jealous of Calgary’s regular season consistency.

  20. Christopher // December 31, 2017 at 6:34 pm //

    Calgary was not the only team playing with injuries… at the end of an 18 game season, no team is exempt… this is plain media bullshit.

  21. Colour me green // December 31, 2017 at 8:28 pm //

    BLM didn’t seem to lose much ‘zip’ on his throws so I I take some of the injury caused them to lose the GC with a grain of salt. Lots of players play injured. It really came down to putting the ball in his hands and him living up to that quote. Literally that quote cost them the GC. The pen is mightier then the sword.
    Cowtown will have a good team again I’m sure.
    DD I think is another issue to solve.

  22. Count me as another lifetime Rider fan that quit supporting the team because of Chris Jones’ street punk attitude.

  23. To Green Pastures; That’s exactly what I meant when I said ‘street punk attitude.’

    • Green Pastures // January 1, 2018 at 1:17 pm //

      Tom: so be it then. I can’t make people like a team, coach, player. If that’s how you feel, thats how you feel. Happy New Year

  24. Ridersnhabs // January 1, 2018 at 2:21 am //

    Interesting how I made a comment earlier about Mitchell needing surgery and a long rehab and stamps fan were all over me about it .

  25. Colour me green // January 1, 2018 at 1:27 pm //

    Thanks for banning the troller.

    Carter has been nothing but positive here in Regina. The flag football league (NFL sponsored) here in Regina he was awesome with the kids as was the other Riders who came out to celebrate the league.

    Looking forward to 2018, hope he is back in Rider Green.

  26. BleedzGreen // January 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm //

    “In the end, the injury probably bit the Stamps in the butt, but they did get within a minute of a championship.”

    While the writer’s entitled to his opinion, BLM’s shoulder had nothing to do with losing the cup. In a Calgary Sun article (Nov. 28) Mitchell said: “Honestly, towards the end of the season, it started to feel pretty dang good… It didn’t affect me in the games.”

    As for losing the cup, Mitchell owned his mistake, describing his final play as follows: “It was the smart play. It was the right play. I just missed the throw.”

    • ivan Diablo // January 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm //

      as a life long argo fan i disagree with him
      it was neither the right nor smart play, especially in a snow game, in a championship game
      let’s not forget that the argos scored a TD off a fumble just scant 4 minutes ago
      it was a ‘gun slinger’ move

      and as a life long argo fan i happy he chose to make that final throw
      now he has another to stew and think ‘what if’

      argos are 2017 GC champs

      • BleedzGreen // January 1, 2018 at 11:28 pm //

        I agree, wrong play.

        Mitchell however says “I’ll stand by that decision for the rest of my life”.

        I think he’ll be doing himself a great disservice if he does.

        • ivan Diablo // January 2, 2018 at 1:38 am //

          Mitchell however says “I’ll stand by that decision for the rest of my life”.

          as a life long argo fan he’ll be doing me and the argos a great service if he does

  27. This roster is capable of winning- first place finishes two seasons in a row (albeit 2016 was more flawless than 2017). A recovered Mitchell is important, and hopefully management can keep him beyond free agency. A premier QB (& long term) is a definite nucleus to build a roster. The obvious challenge is getting over the hump of winning the Grey Cup game.

    To recall back in the 80s, the Ti-Cats got there five times, winning only one. Lost in 80′ during the Eskimos dynasty, 84′ & 85′ consecutively, then finally beat Dunigan & Edm in 86′. Then lost in 89′ during the thriller game against the Riders.

    Stamps have to find the last part of the equation in order to solve it.

  28. So Bo Levi Mitchell rehabs and returns to form only to take his NFL shot at the end of 2018. Are Stamps fans serious when they say Andrew Buckley would ascend to QB1 and the Stamps would keep rolling?

    If Mitchell was injured enough to need rehab in-game 5 and Dave Dickenson truly believes in Buckley why wouldn’t Buckley start for say 3 or 4 games? Either Dickenson has faith in his QB2 to be a starter or he doesn’t and it seems he doesn’t.

    It is highly likely the Stamps drop off a cliff if they do not bring a top QB in from free agency in 2018 that they can groom for 2019. That means the Stamps must give their QB2, who it is meaningful reps in 2018. If they don’t they become the Montreal Alouettes.

    • Steve Borsa // January 6, 2018 at 9:19 pm //

      Darren. True words. Stamps have big choice staying with Buckley QB2 or seriously into FAs . But not many available. Things can turn quickly in CFL. Hope Huff knows better.

    • ivan Diablo // January 6, 2018 at 10:15 pm //

      if bo hopes to make the NFL he’d better have a GC victory in 2018

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