From first to worst

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders get a rare opportunity this week to go from first to worst and they have to be loving the change of scenery.

After staggering through most of Friday night's 22-16 loss to the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argos in the season opener, the Stamps find the lowly Winnipeg Blue Bombers next on the docket.

Universally picked to finish last in the CFL West and winless in two starts, the Bombers were shredded for 737 yards passing in losses to Saskatchewan and Edmonton while allowing more than 1,000 yards of total offence against those two high-powered units.

On the flip side, Stampeders starting quarterback Henry Burris completed just 22 passes for 275 yards Friday, struggling against one of the league's stingiest defences.

Stampeders quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick expects a marked improvement in Burris' play against the Bombers after Smilin' Hank threw two interceptions and coughed up a pair of fumbles in Game 1.

"You keep working on it, going back and talking about it, looking at it on tape," Diedrick said yesterday after viewing game film of Friday night's disappointment. "You've been through it together now, now you need to make that next step.

"Most people always say that the most improvement is from Game 1 to Game 2, so now you look for a huge amount of improvement, especially with a short week. It's only a couple of days until we go to Winnipeg. You do some things with the package but all in all you restrict it a bit ... you do the things we can do and do well.

"I thought we did some very good things in the game but I also thought we broke down in a number of places. I think after breaking down the tape, meeting with the players, we'll go through it and go back and start over.

"Not start over but so we're all on the same page and Henry being the guy that controls it all, he's got to step up and make better decisions on a more consistent basis."

Against the Argos, Burris overthrew receivers, tossed the ball into strong coverage and failed to hold onto the pigskin in heavy traffic, all costly errors.

This week he'll face a Bombers secondary that includes Calgary castoffs William Fields and Omar Evans but Diedrick's focus is more on schemes than personnel, with Winnipeg offering much the same look as Toronto.

"I think it has more to do with the nature of what they do," Diedrick said.

"They do a number of things that Toronto does in the way they do their coverages so, I think, especially on a short week, going from a scheme that is very similar in a lot of ways is going to benefit you a great deal. That way it really doesn't force you to try to cram a lot into a short period of time."

While much of the blame for Friday night's loss has been heaped on Burris, Diedrick argues offensive breakdowns within the receiving corps led to some of the starting quarterback's mistakes.

"I thought in the second half he did a number of good things," Diedrick said.

"I think he had more time than he thought he did at times.

"There's a lot of plus things he did and the poor things were very obvious to everybody. I think if we perhaps try to put him in situations like that in practice, so that response, that decision-making becomes a little bit easier.

"I think there were a number of times where there were some route busts or what-not, or a route that should have been in that area and it wasn't. I think sometimes, especially early, that's going to freeze a quarterback.

"That didn't help him and kind of magnified the problems."


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