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DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

A popular theory making the rounds has the Calgary Stampeders enjoying a competitive edge Friday in their CFL season opener against the Argos.

It's been suggested Toronto spread its cards on the table during last night's clash with the B.C. Lions, providing Calgary with 60 minutes of game film, while the Stamps have been laying in the weeds with a bye week, game-planning for the July 1 kickoff to their season.

Not necessarily, warns Denny Creehan, who's quick to point out even the coaching staff has plenty to learn about the revamped Stamps lineup.

"I don't think so, not at all," argues the Stampeders defensive co-ordinator, who is starting four new defensive backs this year while the team's offence has also received a substantial overhaul.

"The fact they play a game before us is actually a big benefit to them. I wish to hell we'd have played a couple of games already. Then we'd know a lot more about our new defensive backs.

"I'm sure our offensive guys would feel a lot better knowing what their new receivers and whole cast of characters is going to do.

"We have four offensive lineman returning, one running back and one receiver and that's it, everybody else is new over there.

"There's arguments both ways. People always say you show your most improvements between your first and second games and that's where they're going to be and we're not, so they have that advantage that way.

"For us, we get to see how they attack B.C. But every game's different and they're going to have a different game plan for us than they had for B.C."

The Stampeders coaching staff won't get its hands on last night's game film until sometime today and the Red and White return to the practice field tomorrow morning to prep for the Argos.

The Grey Cup champions have made just a couple of lineup changes since last season but won't have any fresh game film of the idle Stamps, other than two pre-season clashes and video from last season.

No matter, says Creehan.

"Most of our game plan has to be made off last year's game film as well," says Creehan.

"You would think they would base their game plan on last year's film of us. We are the same defence but we've changed personnel, so that's the only difference.

"They're not going to study us in terms of learning a new defence, they're going to study us in terms of learning what our new players are like and what they think the best matchups are and those kinds of things."

The first few games of the season are still a time to evaluate talent, much like the pre-season, even though the games count in the standings.

Creehan points out the West Division champion Lions lost three of their first four games last season while allowing an average of 34 points per contest before going to the Grey Cup.

Despite unparalleled optimism, the Stamps squad unveiled Friday night at McMahon Stadium is still a work in progress.

"No question," Creehan says.

"You look at B.C. last year. They were 13-5 but their first four games last year they didn't stop anybody. They were rough, they didn't play very well at all, especially defensively. Then they got used to each other, started playing better and look how they finished. So it's definitely not how you start that matters, it's how you finish."

The Argos in 2005 enjoy a continuity that should serve as a huge advantage early in the season.

"That's the nice thing Toronto has going, the number of years that whole team and staff has been together," Creehan says.

"It's a long time. They've hardly changed at all while our team has made major changes. Almost half our team."


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