“CFL and TSN don’t care about Calgary!” – Kanye West, if he’s a fan of Stampeders.
For the second week in a row, the Calgary Stampeders were eliminated from the TSN prep schedule and their game against the Edmonton Elks went unreserved. This was in the wake of a game in Calgary last week against the Lions that had no camera in sight from the league’s broadcast partner.
Since the CFL produced a schedule that included four games on Friday night, the network might be forgiven for choosing the Riders away game and a game featuring teams from both Ontario and Quebec to deliver broadcasts across the Battle of Alberta.
But last week, there were only two games on Saturday and there is no excuse not to show the two.
I know there are those who will suggest pre-season football isn’t worth watching, especially when the Stampeders opted to send a bunch of starters and backups on the highway and keep most of the big names at home. But in a league that only has three or four games a week, anything that isn’t broadcast should be considered unacceptable.
All of this means I wasn’t able to watch the game and, like most of you, rely on stats, my Twitter feed, and on-court reactions to say what happened when the Stampeders set an absolute. Clinic for the second week in a row, a 37-7 win over rival Elks.
Here are the top five things to glean from last night’s stats:
Tommy Stevens could be the new Chris Streiffeler
Tommy Stevens is a giant human in the middle room of the Calgary Stampeders, with a height of six feet five feet and 245 pounds. The second largest passerby is Bo Levi Mitchell, who is six feet tall, two feet long, and weighs 198 pounds.
Stevens will likely be a short-space specialist at the Stampeders this year, but he showed what he can also do with the legs last night, pushing for 61 yards on six carts in the first half including two QB offsides. One went for a landing and the other was successfully converted for the first time.
He didn’t do much with his arm, he only went for eight yards to six yards, but that’s what brought the Streveler comparison to mind. The former Reserve Bombers wasn’t known to be a great pass in any way but once he’s got the ball in his hands, he can hurt you.
It might be interesting to see what packages Stamps can collect with Stevens in a backyard with Ka’Deem Carey and Dedrick Mills.
Stevens’ best play of the night came 41 yards down the sidelines in the second quarter, where he was able to physically transform his body into that of a horse. At least that’s the way I choose to imagine it since the game, once again, hasn’t been televised.
Dedrick Mills is a bad and bad guy
The Calgary Stampeders have found a lover in Diedrick Mills. Producer Nebraska blasted off against the Elks defense last night, lifting 108 yards on just eight carts and breaking free on a short 67-yard trip down the field. Mills had two touchdowns in the evening, too.
Last year, Stampeders Ka’Deem Carey spelled Ante Milanovic-Liter with little or no success. If Mills could regularly provide production yards and let Carey see more of a break, the Stampeders offense would be much more serious.
During his 67-yard run, he broke 18 different tackles before dropping on all three. At least that’s the way I choose to imagine it since the game, once again, hasn’t been televised.
Brent Monson is a dirty wizard
The Calgary Stampeders played two full games before the start of the season and allowed fewer plays inside the green compared to their points total. In fact, they didn’t let the BC Lions play a single game inside the green for that entire game and kept the Elks out until late in the fourth quarter.
The Stampeders defense only saw two games inside the 20-yard line through two pre-season games against divisional rivals, and the Elks only got there due to a pass interference call against Calgary.
I know there’s always doubts when declaring a Pre-Season Champion but the Stampeders have allowed fewer points in both games combined than any other defense has let down in any single exhibition game this year.
Defensive coordinator Brent Monson makes the stamp team’s defense look like they have extra players on the field and they might have! At least that’s the way I choose to imagine it since the game, once again, hasn’t been televised.
Mark Killam is dirtier than Monsoon
You can now get three kick hurdles for Mark Kilam’s crew of specials in two pre-season games, as the bouncy-haired coach continues his team’s performance at a high level.
I’m not sure what kind of spell Killam casts from the sidelines either, but the opponent’s forwards have missed every goal on the field and converted the attempt against the Stampeders so far, while Kieran Burnham is a perfect 5v5 on field goals and 9v9 for converts.
Burnham was on his coaching list last year and certainly sees the Stampeders as the pioneer of the future. It was widely expected that Rene Paredes would be looking to retire sooner rather than later and spend his career one year at a time at the moment.
Burnham’s most impressive kick came in the fourth quarter, when he flipped his way to crash 49 yards. At least that’s the way I choose to imagine it since the game, once again, hasn’t been televised.
Jake Meyer looks solid again
Meyer went six of seven passes for 61 yards last night and wasn’t really looking to push the ball down at all, with most of his passes within eight to nine yards for depth of goal.
His longest finish was 18 yards after attempting a catch from Tyson Middlemost. His only incompleteness was a throw towards Richie Sendani which ended up being Mayer’s last pass that day.
In previous seasons, much was made about Bo Levi Mitchell’s health being crucial to the success of the stamps. The more I saw Meyer, the more I was reminded of the factory QB years in the ’90s when Doug Flotty, Jeff Garcia, Dave Dickinson and Henry Burris all followed each other in the field. Obviously, results aren’t out yet for this comparison, but Stamps fans certainly take comfort in knowing Meyer is on the premises in case Mitchell gets hurt again.
Mayer’s best play of the night was a nine-yard pass to Dedrick Mills on the stats sheet, but considering he ran nearly 60 yards to the Stampeders’ goal line to avoid a sack, before turning it over to Mills on the field. The original streak of melee, that’s not bad at all! At least that’s the way I choose to imagine it since the game, once again, hasn’t been televised.
(Bonus thought!) I know it’s pre-season but…
Calgary had the two lowest allowed points combinations as well as the two highest offensive points combinations.
This was mitigated, of course, by the general lack of novice players playing in these games, but they made both the Lions and Elks look silly with a pair of hits.
I made a bet with 3ownNation Editor John Hodge This week the Stampeders totaled +10.5 and I feel pretty strong after the opening look. For what it’s worth, the bet includes a donation to the charity of the winner’s choice and (thanks to the autocorrect) beets bought at the Gray Cup in Regina.