Shakeup a risky proposal

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

Calgary Stampeders fans demanding change -- any change -- to curb the team's three-game losing skid should be reminded radical moves don't always spark production.

The mess in Hamilton should tell you player turnover and coach firings aren't necessarily a recipe for long-term success.

Although the Tiger-Cats beat Calgary in the first game under interim head coach Ron Lancaster, the team is still only 1-6 despite staffing moves and roster shuffles.

In Vancouver, conversely, cagey veteran Wally Buono looks like a genius for scuttling running back Antonio Warren in favour of Joe Smith. Buono is a master at making such moves to improve his lineup and remind the rest of the locker-room they, too, could soon be unemployed.

It's understandable Red and White faithful would enjoy seeing head coach Tom Higgins throw a garbage can, stomp on his hat or kick over the Gatorade. His outward appearance doesn't reflect the frazzled mood of some season-ticket holders who would love to see the bench boss blow his top.

But change for change's sake is rarely productive.

Lancaster's punting of Craig Yeast is a prime example. Axing the veteran slotback while he was still in the post-game shower Saturday night hints of panic setting in on a team that had high expectations but is now destined to miss the playoffs.

Things aren't nearly as dire in Calgary (yet) where the Stampeders, should they beat Saskatchewan Saturday combined with a B.C. Lions loss, would be tied for first in the West. A victory would also clinch the season series against the Roughies.

CUSHY RIDE: The Power Rankings on this page have proclaimed the Montreal Alouettes the early season's top dog, a rank they deserve.

But a closer look at the schedule reveals Les Larks have enjoyed a rather cushy ride through the first third of the schedule.

The Als built their impressive record against Hamilton and a rebuilding Winnipeg squad before facing the free-falling Eskimos Friday night in Edmonton. They now host the battered Toronto Argos Thursday before heading to Calgary the following week to face a team that hasn't scared anyone in nearly a month.

PRODUCTIVE PAIR: Receiver Milt Stegall and running back Charles Roberts have produced 58% of the Blue Bombers offensive production this season -- 1,658 yards.

Roberts still trails Calgary back Joffrey Reynolds in the CFL rushing race with 604 yards to Reynolds' 667, although Reynolds has dominated the league with a 7.4-yard average. The next best per-carry effort from a starting back is the Lions' Joe Smith's 6.2 average over just two games.

FINGER POINTING: We understand and appreciate the right of fans to boo their own players but what are the good folks of Toronto thinking?

Yes, 43-year-old Damon Allen looked his age in tossing three interceptions Saturday while losing to the B.C. Lions. But last season's MVP had played one series this year before breaking a finger on his throwing hand in the season-opener. Football is too complex to think the greying legend could come off the bench and save the sinking ship in his first game back. Allen is the Argo offence's key to success but his season is just getting underway. Be patient.

ROAD WOES: The Stampeders enjoyed the CFL's best road record last season (6-3) but their 1-3 mark while living out of a suitcase in 2006 is third-worst behind only Hamilton (0-4) and Edmonton (0-2).


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