It's no time to drop ball

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

The difference between making the Calgary Stampeders receiving corps and seeing the door is an extremely fine line.

A dropped pass in tonight's pre-season tilt against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m.) could be devastating to one of the training-camp hopefuls.

If one of the pass catchers on the bubble doesn't get open or see another throw, the film review session might not go well tomorrow.

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto won't be judging the likes of MarTay Jenkins, Sulecio Sanford, James Terry and Kenyatta Morgan solely on the one game.

However, the time is now for these players to make a statement because nearly everyone has shone brightly at times in camp.

"If we're choosing players and player A made the catch and player B dropped it, we'll have to go with player A," Buratto said.

"We have to make some decisions after this ball game."

With Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland solidified as the No. 1 and 2 targets for quarterback Henry Burris, only two starting spots remain open for contention.

Newcomer Ken-Yon Rambo has made strong statements with his play and has been so consistent, it would take a terrible performance for his stock to fall.

Second-year CFLer Sanford could be a decent bet for one of the other wide-out positions but he's not feeling entirely comfortable after moving over from slotback.

Sanford had a decent freshman year with Calgary in 2004 and has received positive reviews from coaches but still feels he's on the bubble. He said he's trying not to worry.

"You have to work hard each day like your job is on the line," he said.

Buratto won't just be looking at stats following this game. The game film will be crucial because each player will be charted on how often he gets open in tight coverage.

If one of the three quarterbacks doesn't find him when he is open, the receiver won't be hurt in the evaluation process.

That philosophy suits Morgan just fine.

As an undersized receiver (5 ft. 8 in., 175 lb.), Morgan finds it easier to gain some space in a game than beating a defensive back one-on-one in practice.

"This is where I can solidify a spot on this team," Morgan said. "I just have to make sure I know my assignments."

Jenkins is trying to shake off a few dropped balls from training camp.

In an early camp practice, the former Arizona Cardinal made some outstanding moves to get open on an endzone route, only to have the ball slap against his wrists and fall the ground.

Said Jenkins: "You have to be as relaxed as possible so when (the ball) does come to you, panic doesn't set in."

EXTRA POINTS: Four players missed practice yesterday and are all questionable for the exhibition game. Receiver Mike Juhasz (hamstring), LB Marc Mitchell (knee) and DBs Jeremy Pearl (hamstring) and Lawrence Deck (knee) are all nursing minor ailments ... The roster must be cut to 50 players (not including draft picks or junior players) by Monday, giving the Stamps ample time to make tough decisions.


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