History on Stamps' side

John Hufnagel says the Stampeders aren't at their peak yet this season. (Sun Media/Al Charest)

John Hufnagel says the Stampeders aren't at their peak yet this season. (Sun Media/Al Charest)

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders don't like to mention last season.

Nobody wants to be living in the past, no matter how enjoyable it is.

But a history lesson during their current tough times makes sense because recent yesteryear provides a template for where they go from today.

On this day one year ago, the Stamps were coming off a one-point loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It was their low point of the season -- not the loss, their record -- at 3-3.

On the heels of Saturday night's 24-23 defeat at the hands of the Roughriders, their record stands at 2-3.

Either way, it was from that point the Stampeders of a year ago turned around their fortunes.

The Red & White rattled off 12 wins in 14 outings en route to the Grey Cup.

Seems like a reminder of how they were spinning their wheels a year ago and what it took to become a Grey Cup winning team would work today.

"I use some analogy, but I don't use it in the sense that time will heal things," said GM/head coach John Hufnagel yesterday. "When we were a .500 ball club last year, we were a team that was trying to get better. That's where we are right now, a team trying to get better. It really doesn't matter what our record is at this point. You're always trying to get better each and every week, because the key to the whole CFL process -- getting into the playoffs and doing well in the playoffs -- is playing your best football at the end.

"We're definitely not playing really good football at this point."

True, the Stampeders aren't at their peak. But it's not like they're a lost cause, either.

Offensively, they've been inconsistent -- part of that due to injuries -- but there have been signs of the high-octane game.

Defensively, they've seen plenty of turnover but been stronger the past three weeks.

Still, there are improvements to be made, just like there were a year ago.

Hufnagel, whose charges were given the day off, knows what turned the season around last summer.

It can't be too hard to remind them the differences between being a struggling crew and marching to a title.

"We played better football. We had similar problems at the beginning of the season to what we're having right now. We were able to correct them," he said. "It remains to be seen whether we can get this thing corrected."

Those would be penalties and a lack of execution, something he's made mention of plenty.

"We're not playing smart football. We're making too many mental mistakes, giving away some opportunities and giving the other team second opportunities. There are a lot of things that need to be corrected, and if they do, we'll have a better chance to win football games. If we don't, we'll be struggling."

"I'm very positive the players want it to be corrected, and they'll do the necessary things to get it corrected."

The first step will begin at practice today in anticipation of Saturday's home date with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Quarterback Henry Burris said Sunday it's quite simple what the Stamps must do from this point.

"Improve. Really, that's the only thing you can do," he said. "This team? We'll stay together, regroup and get this thing back on-line. Each and every guy has to take it upon himself to prepare the way we did when we have been victorious.

"We may have won two games and did it in good fashion, but it means nothing when the following week comes out. You can't just step out there and win."

NO RACE TO FIND A RECEIVER

More will be known today on the status of receiver Ryan Thelwell (hamstring), but the Stamps don't have plans to bring in a veteran receiver in case he can't play Saturday.

Thelwell has been battling a nagging hamstring since training camp and took the bulk of the action for injured WR Ken-Yon Rambo.

If Thelwell can't go, expect non-import WR Blaine Kruger to be put on the roster.


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