Receivers rally around Rambo

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

Ken-Yon Rambo is gone, yet he will be standing right there on the sidelines.

So the Calgary Stampeders receiving corps won't have far to look for inspiration.

Can we expect a Jason Tucker-type tribute the way the Edmonton Eskimos did a year ago?

"Don't be asking about inside secrets," said veteran Stamps receiver Jeremaine Copeland. "There's not much we can do, but he's in our hearts.

"We will go out there and fight for him, and he knows that. He is expecting to be on the sidelines and not be in the booth. We will lay it on the line and do what we do, and hopefully, we get better and better every week.

"But it's back to what happens in between the lines and not about what happens outside the lines."

It's been a long week of preparation for tonight's meeting with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Rambo was injured last Friday against the B.C. Lions, and there were days of speculation about how bad the injury would be. It turns out he's done for the season.

The Stamps know they have to replace Rambo's production somehow, and the onus will fall on the veterans to pick it up.

It's similar to the Eskimos of a year ago. When Tucker suffered a broken neck, Kamau Peterson led an emotionally charged receiving corps the rest of the way.

"We're carrying Rambo with us," said quarterback Henry Burris. "We want to make sure we're winning games to keep a smile on his face.

"I know it's killing him not to be out there with the guys. We have some young guys coming in who will have opportunities to make big plays.

"A guy like Titus (Ryan) can run like the wind, and JJ (Jermaine Jackson) can make plays. We hope they can give us a fraction of what Rambo did, if not more."

The Roughriders have a receiver issue of their own. Canadian slotback Andy Fantuz is a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury.

So when asked how the loss of Rambo affects the Stamps, Roughriders head coach Ken Miller said it is similar to their situation.

"Our philosophy when we have an injury is we think the people we put in there will do an excellent job," Miller said. "I would suspect they feel the same way about it. If we don't have Andy Fantuz in the lineup, then it would be kind of a wash."

Both the Stamps and Riders are 2-2 heading into this matchup, but the .500 record is indicative of the Riders' play.

Although the Riders have forced a league-high 13 fumbles, they have also committed a league-high 18 turnovers.

So Stamps head coach John Hufnagel has stressed whoever has the ball for his team must hold onto it.

As for picking up the slack for Rambo, Lewis doesn't mind having some fun. On a blog on the Stampeders' website, Lewis posted this tongue-in-cheek message:

"As for the other receivers now that Ken-Yon is out? Titus Ryan sucks. Jermaine Jackson is not the player we thought he was going to be. He's really not very good. He probably would have a better chance being one of the Jackson 5 than being an all-star in this league. You know what? It's all on me now because I think Cope has lost about three steps and Ralphie's horrible and Thelwell's over the hill.

"But seriously, it's a team sport -- Nik Lewis doesn't win games, the Calgary Stampeders do. We all have to be team players and just go out there and do what we do."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos