Stamps shrug off slight

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

The 'official' word is the Calgary Stampeders won't make the playoffs this season.

Editors at the The Official CFL Magazine have predicted the Stamps will finish fourth in the West Division behind B.C., Edmonton and Saskatchewan.

"That's amazing," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris with a chuckle.

"Is it that guy from the U.S. still doing it? I guess he has his own personal thoughts on it. I don't think he's been out at training camp. What do you expect from a guy from Edmonton?"

True, the magazine is produced in the City of Champions.

But contributing editor Murray Greig believes league parity combined with an improved Roughriders squad will leave Calgary out of the post-season party.

Saskatchewan pilfered the defunct Ottawa franchise in the dispersal draft, picking up starting quarterback Kerry Joseph and receiver-returner Jason Armstead.

"Good luck to them," Burris said of his former team.

"Kerry has a lot of ability and he's a good quarterback but he's moving into a new system.

"The thing for him now is getting used to the atmosphere and the players. It's something he has to grow into."

Burris vowed the Stamps won't be out of the playoffs.

"Really, it's going to be a toss-up this year," Burris said.

"Every team is a couple of injuries away from struggling.

"As good as teams start out, the back end is where it counts.

"That's where we'll find out what happens."

Defensive lineman Randy Chevrier likes being labelled as an underdog because it's easier to exceed expectations.

"In any league, there's always predictions and what do they mean at the end of the year?" Chevrier said.

"Nobody looks back and admits they were wrong.

"If they predict us fourth, that's good for us. Maybe the writers predict us fourth but the other teams don't think of us as a fourth-place team.

"Maybe they won't take us seriously then."

On paper, any team in the West could win the division.

Stamps linebacker John Grace said until teams step between the lines, anything is possible.

"Predictions are for you guys," Grace said. "For us as a team, we have to go out and play to the best of our ability.

EXTRA POINT: Practice had a much higher tempo yesterday as head coach Tom Higgins tried to shake off the rust in the last full session before tomorrow's final pre-season tuneup against the visiting B.C. Lions. For the first 15 minutes of team drills, the offence went into a no-huddle mode.


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