Return of the titans

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Take away the leading receiver, two-fifths of the starting offensive line and the first player off the bench and any football team will suffer.

So inserting all those players back into the lineup should have the opposite effect.

The 0-1 Calgary Stampeders should expect a boost Friday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when it appears Ken-Yon Rambo, Jeff Pilon, Jesse Newman and Ryan Thelwell should all get back into action.

"When we watched the film (of the loss to the Alouettes), the biggest comment coach (John Hufnagel) made was the inconsistency," said Thelwell, who dressed but didn't see the field because of his hamstring injury.

"We had a lot of mistakes and a lot of busts. As receivers, we had more than 10 busts in the game and that shouldn't happen.

"Henry (Burris, the quarterback) gets a lot of flak and he shouldn't. There were times when we were not where we were supposed to be, but he's throwing it where we were supposed to be. It's tough on him."

The biggest loss was Rambo, who led the CFL in receiving a year ago.

Rookie Titus Ryan took over, and although the newcomer had a kickoff return touchdown, he also missed six intended passes.

The worst was an interception in the endzone Ryan bailed on because he thought it was meant for someone else.

Rambo nursed a hamstring injury through camp and reaggravated it right after the roster was set, meaning Ryan was pressed into starting duty.

"With young guys, sometimes you get flustered," Rambo said.

"I was the same way. He did a good job though."

Not one of the Stamps' starting receivers missed time due to injury in 2008 and it was a big reason for their success.

Rambo isn't happy he officially broke the streak, as Thelwell is credited with a game played despite not going between the lines.

"I'm not the type to sit out games," Rambo said.

"I'm not too much of an injury-prone dude.

"It's really frustrating being on the sidelines. I'm the guy to break the streak, so that makes it much worse. All I can do is get it right, then go out there and help the team win."

The return of Pilon and Newman will change the makeup of the offensive line.

Import Antonio Hall was taking Pilon's spot and the Stamps were rotating an extra Canadian into their defensive sets to compensate.

Newman also dressed but didn't see any action and his return is timely.

Godfrey Ellis (hamstring) sat out practice yesterday after taking over at left guard against the Als.

"Although I was sucking wind out there, I was glad to be out there sweating with these guys again," said the sophomore Newman.

"Being on the sidelines, going through the trials and tribulations of the game, I just thought, 'I wish I could help out.' "


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