Pivotal performance

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

Expect the Calgary Stampeders to reach for the hook more quickly should Henry Burris falter in the rematch against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Burris and the entire offence struggled before eventually overcoming the lethargic start to claim Saturday's CFL season opener 24-14.

The Stamps' No. 1 pivot completed just 18 of 33 passes, yet staged a late rally to score two touchdowns. Those heroics came on the heels of a first half in which Burris passed for just 75 yards while posting a mere 135 yards total offence in the opening 30 minutes.

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto said while he left veteran backup Danny McManus holding a clipboard the entire night, he would be more inclined to make a change if Burris sputters Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

In Game 1 of the season, Buratto said, he was determined to let his star pivot work through the inconsistencies.

"In the first game, against that bunch, I just wanted to let him get it back together," Buratto reasoned after yesterday's practice.

"I was more concerned about Henry getting his feet on the ground and you don't do that in an intermittent way. He's not going to get back to the level where he needs to be standing on the sideline watching."

That said, Buratto feels Burris could benefit from watching McManus run the show -- at least temporarily -- when the teams square off again.

"Now we're talking about the same thing when he comes to the sideline, he's played his way through a game and we can say, 'Now this is what's going on. Get back in there and go to work,' " Buratto said.

Damaging the fragile psyche of any starter is reason enough to let the No. 1 man play through a spotty outing. Last season, the Stampeders were wary of turning the ball over to either first-year backup Jason Gesser or Danny Wimprine. Now McManus's presence could change that mindset.

"We're about achieving victories and that's the bottom line," Burris said.

"Regardless of whether the quarterback is having a great game or not, you still have to put yourself in a position to win the game.

"Danny and I have a job to do and if they see fit for Danny to get in there, so be it. I'm going to go out there and play my butt off for 60 minutes to get better each game and make things happen."

Making things happen, particularly deep in the opponent's territory, was an issue at times last season and again Saturday against the Eskimos.

Burris's most glaring error was an interception while scrimmaging at Edmonton's 12 with Calgary holding a slim one-point lead over the Grey Cup champs. Burris later said his goal was to go the entire season without throwing a pick, a lofty target after tossing up a dozen in 2005.

"Everybody tries to achieve perfection but it's never been achieved," Burris said.

"You'll have mistakes throughout the season that will remind you can't do those things and it happened to me the other night.

"Thankfully, DBs don't have hands as good as receivers do. We're expected to make good decisions. I don't want to have more than the 12 that I had last year. Some people seem to forget that 12 was one of the lowest numbers in the league last year. I think I only had one the second nine (in '05)."

Burris's lone pick in Game 1 frustrated Buratto, who had been focusing all camp and pre-season on always finding the scoreboard from in deep.

"We made a big emphasis about making sure we got points when we got down into the Red Zone," Buratto explained.

"Don't take points off the board by making mistakes."

Come Saturday, those same miscues could leave Burris watching from the sidelines.


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