Trumpeting Tsoumpas

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

If the rookie-of-the-year race comes down to numbers, Dimitri Tsoumpas has no chance.

But, if the award is measured on impact to his team, Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris would pick his starting right guard over the other possible nominees.

One of those is Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Weston Dressler, and he has the numbers -- 38 receptions, 790 yards and five touchdowns -- in his freshman CFL campaign.

"But there's no telling where we would be without Dimitri," said Burris. "He's allowed us to be one of the top offences in the league with the leading running back (Joffrey Reynolds).

"We've run behind Dimitri on numerous occasions. He should be one of the nominees, for sure."

Dressler has gained significant buzz in Saskatchewan in his first season, in which the North Dakota product has contributed on offence as well as special teams.

He has a 11.1-yard average on punt returns and 21.1 on kickoffs.

All Tsoumpas can say is he has started every game at right guard in taking over for veteran Bobby Singh.

That is one category where Tsoumpas does have the advantage over Dressler, who missed three games with a hamstring pull.

"I play offensive line, so it's hard to come up with prolific catches and touchdowns," said Tsoumpas, a Weber State product.

"It's hard to gauge how much you are actually producing for the team. I have several starts under my belt, but so do some other guys.

"I don't have a whole lot to go off, where you can measure the stuff those other guys are doing. It's harder to evaluate an offensive lineman. It's not like you see me catching or throwing touchdown passes."

The Stamps look like geniuses for trading up in the draft to get Tsoumpas.

It cost new head coach/GM John Hufnagel two players -- offensive lineman John Comiskey and receiver Kevin Challenger -- but the deal is certainly paying off.

"With our offensive line, if everyone was truthful, they would have thought we had the worst offensive line in the league at the beginning of the season because of our youth," Hufnagel said.

"I don't think Dimitri has even missed a snap. He's learned a lot and improved a lot, and we need that to continue as we strive towards our goal."

If Tsoumpas is the Stamps' nominee, it would be the first time an offensive lineman from Calgary was up for the award since Bruce Covernton in 1992. An o-lineman has never actually won the award.

The West Division should be chockfull of deserving players. Running back Stefan Logan has made a huge impact since taking over as the starter for the B.C. Lions, while the CFL hasn't had a dynamic returner emerge the way Edmonton Eskimos speedster Tristan Jackson has in many years.

So Dressler isn't worried about what will happen in rookie-of-the-year voting.

"If it comes about, it would be icing on the cake," Dressler said. "If not, then so be it. For me, I'm just trying to help the team win.

"I came in for training camp just hoping to make the roster any way I could. When I made the team, I just wanted to get on the field any way I could.

"Now I just want to help the team win. My role has changed throughout the year, but I've enjoyed every moment in Canada."


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