Stamps looking to throw a changeup

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:26 PM ET

Like a baseball pitcher, the Calgary Stampeders defence kept throwing its fastball and the B.C. Lions continually hit it out of the park.

That's the analogy of defensive line coach Casey Creehan, still frustrated by the front-seven's lack of production last Friday in Vancouver.

Despite facing backup Buck Pierce, who was making just his fifth CFL start, the Stamps failed to shake up the youngster or force him into making mistakes.

"The biggest thing about pass rush is that it's a feel thing," said Creehan, whose team recorded just one sack in a 39-13 loss to the Lions, who they host tomorrow at McMahon (2 p.m.).

"It's like a pitcher in baseball. If I hit 'em with a few fastballs, I have to bring a curveball. It's the same thing in football. If I speed rush, speed rush, then I need to beat him underneath. Guys have to be able to call their own game but it's my job to teach them how to call their own game.

"We didn't have a great day pass rushing, an off day, and didn't fundamentally do the things we were supposed to do and that's my fault."

While players were in a sour mood on the practice field initially this week, Creehan said the last couple of days have been upbeat and positive.

Adding to the optimism is the possibility of multiple changes along the Lions offensive line.

Import left tackle Rob Murphy is out for arthroscopic surgery on his wrist, Bobby Singh is expected to move to right guard while backup Sherko Haji-Rasouli will likely slide into Murphy's spot.

"Early in the week we were still hurting from getting kicked but I think guys are back to focusing on achieving our goals," Creehan said.

The Stampeders called 26 blitzes last game, although the Lions countered with seven-man protection to provide enough blocks to shelter Pierce. The Lions offence also did an excellent job of getting rid of the ball quickly, avoiding defensive pressure.

Demetrious Maxie recorded the Stamps only sack. The Lions have given up a league-worst 49 sacks this season, partly because No. 1 pivot Dave Dickenson, now out with post-concussion syndrome, would rather eat the ball than throw an interception.

Pierce, on the other hand, has been exceptional at unloading the ball quickly.

"He never held the ball in his hands long enough for us to get to him," said defensive end Rahim Abdullah, the Stamps leader with nine sacks. "They used three-step drops and they also moved the pocket a lot, so it's kind of hard to get pressure on that."

EXTRA POINTS:

The Stamps have added import LB Matt Grootegoed to the practice roster, a USC product, and released import LB Hakim Akbar and LB Brandon Haw.


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