Stamps D like Swiss cheese

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

The Joffrey Reynolds saga -- how he was handed the ball four times in a game is still a mystery -- has taken the glare away from the Stampeders porous defence.

Don't think the defenders, though, are figuring all's well in their part of the world heading into Friday's game against the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium.

In what's been a confounding and disheartening start to the season, the Stampeders defence has been just as guilty as those on the offensive side of the ball for the team's 3-4 record.

In fact, they've been a flat-out disappointment.

The 210 points allowed by Calgary is worst in the league -- and 15 more than the one-win Hamilton Tiger-Cats have surrendered.

Linebacker Cornelius Anthony won't mince words: He and his cohorts know they have been no great shakes.

"At times, we've shown spurts of greatness and, at times, we've shown we need improvement," he said after yesterday's practice. "I feel we beat ourselves mentally. Physically, we have all the right tools, all the right people, so if we execute the gameplan that's called, we'll be set up for success.

"Our defence is set up so teams aren't supposed to run on us and teams aren't supposed to get big plays, so we as players have to take ownership to do what is called."

Despite the hand-wringing caused by all the offensive ills -- Henry Burris' turnovers, the inconsistent passing attack, the virtually non-existent running game, the blown red-zone chances -- the defenders are far from perfect.

Think back to the loss in Montreal last week. Sure, the offence failed a couple of times to make the most of first-and-goal opportunities, but allowing Ben Cahoon's game-clinching touchdown with a couple of minutes left put the contest out of reach.

Even the debacle last time the Lions came to town -- when Burris was like a baker handing out four turnovers -- three second-half Lions touchdowns were nearly just as critical.

"I feel if we're up 3-0, we should win the game 3-0, or how many more points we score offensively or defensively," Anthony said. "I feel any great defence, any dominant defence, once they get up, the game should be won.

"To lose a lead, I take it personally."

Turning around how they feel about themselves is only one part of the Stamps' motivation.

The 32-27 loss at McMahon in late July still rankles everybody among the Red and White.

That was a wasted opportunity in what's been a season filled with ups and downs, and still bothers veteran linebacker Brian Clark.

"It should be motivation for the guys here," Clark stated. "We see Buck (Pierce) limping off after halftime and we all start licking our chops because we're getting the third-string quarterback, and he comes in and just torches us. I hope guys are angry. I know I am."

Besides, there are no excuses for a sub-par effort from the Stampeders.

Being sub-.500 is one thing. Sitting a couple of games below the break-even point heading into the Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos could verge on being a disaster.

And seeing as the club will follow the Lions match with a bye week -- which will include a slew of days off -- there are no excuses to not expend every ounce of energy.

"It should be on everybody's mind to let it all hang out," Clark said. "We have two weeks to recover and get rested."

Besides, a win would make the time off more enjoyable.

"I'll tell you what, if we lose there'll be some big changes around here," Clark added. "That's guaranteed."


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