Backup plans

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

During the final month of the regular season, depth in on-field personnel becomes a major factor for CFL clubs.

The number of injuries in this weekend's games will test the backups on several teams fighting for playoff positioning.

In Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers will have to do without outstanding receiver Milt Stegall for at least two weeks but luckily have a bye over Thanksgiving.

In Saskatchewan, starting quarterback Kerry Joseph re-injured his knee on a huge hit from Steve Charbonneau and could be iffy to return when the 'Riders head to Montreal Monday.

In B.C., the quarterback situation is a huge question mark as Dave Dickenson is still suffering from post-concussion syndrome and No. 2-man Buck Pierce injured his throwing arm against Hamilton.

Pierce should return to practice this week but clearly won't be 100% after the beating he took in Hamilton.

In Edmonton, defensive lineman Adam Braidwood and defensive backs Malcolm Frank and Roosevelt Williams went down with various ailments.

What made matters worse was the Eskimos didn't dress a backup defensive back against the Roughriders.

Even the Stampeders, who have lost the fewest man games due to injury this season, have multiple ailments to deal with for one of the first times this season.

Linebacker Cornelius Anthony and safety Trey Young both suffered ankle injuries against Toronto and sat out of practice yesterday. Receiver Ron Johnson is still smarting from knee and shoulders problems suffered on the controversial incomplete pass at end of the loss.

The Stamps have built a decent roster of reserves for this purpose and head coach Tom Higgins will have to do some juggling for Friday's match with the Lions.

"This time is our turn for the bumps and bruises and we have to see how things come around and what changes we need to make," Higgins said.

The CFL provided outstanding TV entertainment this weekend, starting Friday night when TSN's Brian Williams interviewed Alouettes GM Jim Popp.

Popp did the interview with his son in his lap but dad must have been too boring. It wasn't long before the youngster dozed off, only to be startled awake by dad.

The following day, TSN made a huge deal of Matt Dunigan's Hall-of-Fame induction during the Hamilton-B.C. game.

The best part was when the on-air personnel and production staff donned Dunigan jerseys for an interview during halftime.

However, the best video clip of the weekend was the isolated shot of Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia during the wild finish to Edmonton's victory.

Maciocia raised his arms in celebration when Antico Dalton rocked Rocky Butler. Then the coach laughed as the 'Riders played rugby but the facial expression went to horror as Kenton Keith darted upfield. In the 30-second segment, Maciocia smiled, gritted his teeth, went ashen, clenched his jaw, winced and finally smiled again when the play ended. Ironically, Maciocia was screaming at his defensive backs to retreat before the play, which is crazy they needed to be reminded.

With B.C. beating the Tiger-Cats and clinching a playoff spot, a weird anomaly was cleared up in the standings.

Prior to Friday, the Stamps were second in the West Division but were the only team with an 'x' for the playoff berth. Calgary was still second because it lost to the Lions earlier this season ... Obviously the Eskimos defence wasn't ready for lineman Rob Lazeo to catch a one-yard touchdown pass Saturday. It was the veteran's first catch and TD in a nine-year career ... Als GM Jim Popp said the salary cap needed to increase from the $3.8 million set for this season because every team is over that figure in 2006 ... Bombers defensive player Kelly Malveaux might be the smallest linebacker in the league after getting moved there from halfback the past two weeks. The former Stampeder is 5 ft. 9 in.

A Grey Cup matchup between Calgary and Toronto would be quite interesting, especially after the pre-game skirmish between defensive lineman Jonathan Brown and Stamps kicker Sandro DeAngelis. Plus, the two teams provide interesting matchups in all three phases of the game ... In the category of inexplicable stats, the West club with the best intradivisional record is Edmonton. The Eskimos are a woeful 0-5 against the East ... Montreal DL Anwar Stewart was used as a tight end for an entire offensive series against the Blue Bombers Friday. He even made a 52-yard reception.


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