Stand-up guy

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Henry Burris, his left hand already wrapped in a cast, is keen on avoiding further damage Sunday in Regina.

Despite solid pass protection the entire season, the Calgary Stampeders QB expects to face a robust pass rush from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

With 37 sacks this year, the hostile hosts feature a front seven as mean as it is green with Burris squarely in the crosshairs come game time.

"The body's going to take some hits this week, so we have to be ready but I still have to go out there and play quarterback, execute the plays and make sound decisions," said Burris, sacked twice while also tossing two TD passes the first time the teams met, a 44-18 Stamps win July 23 at McMahon.

Additional muscle in the form of tackle Nate Davis, sidelined during the first contest with an injury, and veteran end Daved Benefield could make the 'Riders' pass rush even more proficient.

Fred Perry, who wasn't added to the Roughies lineup until the Calgary game three months ago, leads the club with nine sacks while Scott Schultz has eight.

If fan-induced adrenaline also plays a role, look for the 'Riders to feed off the anti-Burris venom expected throughout Sunday's contest, the faithful still riled by the QB's free-agent departure from Regina last February.

Each sack would ramp up the noise and emotions.

"They have great players over there, so I expect a great pass rush every time you play those guys," Burris said.

Burris injured his left (non-throwing) hand escaping the pocket in Edmonton Sept. 9. The resulting torn thumb ligaments has forced him into a light cast that could have been removed this week in favour of a splint, although that's been put off until next week.

Sweating along the Stamps o-line to help Burris avoid sacks, guard Taylor Robertson argues lineup changes won't alter Calgary's approach to providing Burris with time to operate. The Stamps have allowed just 26 sacks, third-best total in the CFL, while a consistent rushing game will also provide help keep the Green and White off guard.

"They have so many different formations, lineup so many different ways, we're blocking people, not scheming against certain players," Robertson said. "They do a lot of different things, maybe more than any other team in the league, so many fronts, so many different blitzes."

A dominant game from Stampeders back Joffrey Reynolds would also alleviate much of the pressure, said veteran guard Jay McNeil.

"They're a good front seven and we have to be able to run the ball with Joffrey," McNeil said. "Pass protection will also be a big part of this game."

The loss of veteran centre Jamie Crysdale to a knee injury is a key departure along the o-line. He'll be replaced by rookie Godfrey Ellis, who filled in for Crysdale during four mid-season games.

Crysdale underwent surgery on his left knee yesterday and the Stampeders are hopeful the 13-year vet will return for the playoffs.


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