Flags flyin'Stampeders continue to pile up the penalties
By DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun
The Calgary Stampeders are on pace to surpass a couple of dubious CFL records this season.
The team's revamped coaching staff is saddled with a squad determined to set new marks for penalties in a season and yards penalized after being flagged 20 times for 199 yards in Saturday's 46-16 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Taylor Field.
Calgary head coach Matt Dunigan and company seem powerless to find the cure, admitting after the loss his constant harping on the subject seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Dunigan was exasperated, searching for words to explain why some players continue with the costly parade of penalties.
Now, not only is the club's woeful 2-6 record cause for concern, so too is the players' inability to avoid foolish penalties. At this rate, the Stamps will shatter the B.C. Lions' CFL record of 2,008 penalty yards from 1995 while also eclipsing the Montreal Alouettes' mark of 252 penalties in 2003.
"Keeping our composure is becoming an issue right now," said veteran defensive lineman Joe Fleming. "Players need to be smart and be aware of the fact you can't make bad decisions on the field, the games are too important."
The Stamps were outmatched against the 'Riders, who appear poised to take a serious run at hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1988. But the Stamps were the Green and White's 13th man on a couple of key touchdown drives Saturday by taking costly penalties.
The game disintegrated into a melee of cheap shots and verbal sparring in the final minute.
Granted, questionable officiating is haunting the league again this season but missed calls go both ways.
"Bad calls went against us, bad calls went against them," Fleming said.
"In the game of football, there's going to be fights, there always is. We're grown men with testosterone flowing, it's going to happen and we know that. We just have to keep our cool and play smart."
Garrett Smith, off the practise roster playing injured defensive end Antwone Young's position against the 'Riders, was flagged for a crucial 15-yard roughing the passer call one on Saskatchewan TD drive.
"Those penalties kept them in drives and were very costly especially in the first half," Smith admitted.
"Towards the end, there were some penalties called that were iffy, a lot of pushing. They were popping them on us.
"I had two 15s, real stupid ones, and I have to clean that up myself. I can't lose my aggressiveness but still I have to be smart about it."
Smith said Dunigan again addressed the issue in the locker-room after the game. The team will have to clean up its act quickly with division-leading B.C. heading for McMahon Stadium Saturday night.
"He said to us that it's frustrating but you can't lose your composure and we lost it," Smith said.
"We've got B.C. ahead of us and that's what we're looking ahead to right now. This one's behind us and now we've got another game."
Fleming said he feels the solution isn't that difficult to find.
"Be pros, it's simple," he said.
Apparently that's easier said than done.