Joffrey determined not to drop the ball

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Joffrey Reynolds' first taste of CFL playoff action was bitter, to say the least.

Not even his all-star season has erased the memories of fumbling twice in the 2005 West semifinal against Edmonton.

Even with all the outstanding Calgary Stampeders running back has accomplished in the past seven months, Reynolds feels he needs to prove he can be a playoff performer and not just a regular-season dynamo.

"This is a start of a new year," said the 26-year-old, who was the Stampeders' nominee for most outstanding player in 2006.

"You will be judged based on what you do Sunday. All the all-star talk and rushing titles don't really mean anything because it's thrown out the window."

The rusher, who piled up 1,541 yards this season, second only to Winnipeg's Charles Roberts, gets a chance to redeem himself Sunday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to McMahon Stadium for the West semifinal (2 p.m., CBC).

Reynolds' turnovers were just two of six fumbles the Stamps committed in letting the Eskimos come back and win that game at McMahon.

Although the team learned it can't give the ball away, it also took away some valuable experience in its first playoff outing in four years.

The biggest lesson: No matter how much you lead, there is no reason to take your foot off the gas.

And Reynolds had his eyes opened to the ferocity of the post-season, mostly because he couldn't see the players who stripped the ball.

"I learned that the intensity level is much higher because you are desperately scrapping to get to that next game," said the Houston product. "We had the lead at halftime (23-12) and thought we had it won. The other team was sitting there wondering how they can get back into the game."

When the temperature drops, the importance of a running game increases and holding onto the ball is tougher.

But Reynolds said the cold weather had nothing to do with why the Stamps struggled last year at this time.

Mental errors were the reason.

"You can't beat yourself," he said.

"This year, we have the focus on just executing and securing the ball. If we do that, we'll be fine."


Videos

Photos