Stamps take nothing for granted

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

TORONTO -- The opponent tonight hasn't won at home in more than a calendar year, was recently shut out and endured a beating at your home park this season.

But that doesn't mean the Calgary Stampeders are underestimating what the Toronto Argonauts have in store for them tonight at Rogers Centre (5:30 p.m., TSN/AM 770).

With quarterback Cody Pickett taking the reins before the bye week, the Argos were close to beating the B.C. Lions.

At some point, they will break a franchise-record nine-game home losing skid. So even though the Argos are 2-5, the Stamps are committed to bringing their 'A' game.

"We're only one win above them so you can't take anyone lightly with our record," Stamps receiver Nik Lewis said about Calgary's 3-4 mark.

"You can't think you are better if you aren't winning games yourself. We need to get back on track, and that's really what it starts coming down to."

When the Argos came into McMahon Stadium July 17, the Stamps were one game under .500 at 1-2, but the defending Grey Cup champs put a hurt on the visitors with three defensive touchdowns for a 44-9 win.

That was when receiver Arland Bruce was still with the team and Kerry Joseph was at quarterback. Bruce has since been traded to Hamilton after a dispute with head coach Bart Andrus, while Joseph was benched for Pickett after losing 25-0 to the Montreal Alouettes Aug. 7.

Pickett played decently in his season debut as a starter, going 25-of-40 passing for 326 yards with one TD and no interceptions. Yet the Argos settled for field goals despite moving the ball and ended up losing 36-28 to the Lions, a second straight devastating home loss.

With receivers such as P.K. Sam, who is making his season debut tonight, and Chad Lucas, an NFL Europe veteran, the Argos give the Stamps a completely new look with Pickett at the controls.

"It's hard to figure them out right now," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "They did a complete reversal as to how they attack the game offensively.

"They had 19 straight passes with Cody playing quarterback. He did an excellent job. They are a challenge, and we don't know what to expect."

In their previous home game against Winnipeg, the Argos were all set to break their losing streak until Justin Medlock's would-be game-winning field goal was wiped out due to a penalty.

The next attempt hit the goalpost, and the Argos were victims of a 13-12 defeat.

The Rogers Centre used to be a tough place to get a win, but the Argos haven't won at home since Aug. 1, 2008.

"It's a good story for the media," said Argos right guard Taylor Robertson. "For us, it really doesn't mean anything.

"It's a road game for us anyway (home base is in Mississauga). We're still packing up our bags and travelling, so it's like we're playing in B.C., Edmonton or anywhere else."

The Stamps are a bit different from the last time these two teams met, as well.

Due to a porous rush defence, there are some changes. Linebacker Tim Johnson and defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks were signed during bye week and both will make their Stamps debuts tonight. Halfback John Eubanks will start in place of struggling rookie Davanzo Tate.

But the Stamps offence is coming off its best performance of the season, a 519-yard effort against the Eskimos during a 38-35 loss. Still, the Stamps won't be confident until they are winning.

"You always say your record should be what it is," said quarterback Henry Burris. "We didn't come out and play the type of ball we needed to. Everything happens for a reason and this has happened for a reason, too.

"Those close losses, I would rather them happen now. We have a number of young guys on this team. We can learn from this and respond when it really counts."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos