Ryan likely in for Rambo

Stamps' Titus Ryan catches and runs with Lions defender Jerome Dennis during a pre-season game last...

Stamps' Titus Ryan catches and runs with Lions defender Jerome Dennis during a pre-season game last week. (Sun Media/Jim Wells)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

As a fresh-faced newcomer to the CFL, Titus Ryan is blissfully unaware of what Ken-Yon Rambo did a year ago.

It's probably a good thing.

If Ryan knew exactly how much production he would need to replace Rambo's spot on the Calgary Stampeders, there is likely no way he could take the field without being extremely anxious.

As Wednesday's season-opener against the Montreal Alouettes approaches, it appears more likely the 25-year-old Ryan will be starting with Rambo out with a wonky hamstring.

"Without question, those are big shoes to fill," said Stamps veteran receiver Jeremaine Copeland. "He doesn't have to be Ken-Yon Rambo. He just has to be Titus Ryan.

"He just has to give us some plays, take care of his assignments and let us do the rest."

Rambo was the leading receiver in the CFL a year ago in his first time playing the wideout position full-time. He had 100 catches for 1,473 yards and 10 touchdowns, all career highs.

But the fifth-year Stamps star injured a hamstring early in camp and only played sparingly in the second pre-season game, giving Ryan a chance to shine.

Once the team returned to practice Friday, Rambo re-injured the leg and has since sat out of practice.

Ryan, who spent time on the NFL practice rosters of the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers, has taken the majority of reps with the starting offence and has made coaches take notice.

Whether he can do it as well as Rambo does come game time remains to be seen.

"I'm trying not to really think about that," Ryan said. "I'm just focused on what I'm supposed to do as far as my position goes. I hope for it to get better by working hard every day."

In 2008, the starting four receivers didn't miss any time due to injury, which meant it was a daunting task to compete for a job during training camp.

But Ryan and fellow newcomer Jermaine Jackson did enough to earn spots, with Ryan getting a place on the active roster.

Now, it appears the Stamps could be dealing with two of their regulars out.

Veteran Ryan Thelwell has missed practice the past few days and is being replaced by Markus Howell, while Jabari Arthur broke his foot in practice and is being replaced on the roster by Teyo Johnson, who un-retired this week.

"It's different going in the way we are," Copeland said about the injury bug. "We haven't had this many injuries coming out of camp and going into the first game in a long time. We're usually healed by the end. It's a chance for guys to step up and get their game going early and see if they can be part of this offence.

"We know what we expect out of the vets. We have to play our game and hopefully keep the ball out of the Alouettes hands."

As for lining up beside a rookie, Copeland isn't concerned.

"He has great hands, and it's a matter of getting everything down so he can relax and just play football," Copeland said. "It doesn't really matter that he's a rookie. We're expecting big things out of him. He has to show the vets he's ready to perform."


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