Mann, Stamps emerging as dynamic duo

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Maurice Mann has a theory as to why he and Fred Stamps are burning up the CFL.

Like Butch and Sundance, the speedy Eskimos receivers have emerged as dangerous running mates who are having fun doin' their thing.

Both have caught last-minute, game-winning touchdown passes: Stamps in the memorable win over Calgary in mid-August and Mann last week for the win over Saskatchewan.

Both are well within striking distance for their first 1,000-yard pro seasons.

Going into this afternoon's return match with the Riders, Stamps sits at No. 2 on the CFL yardage list with a career-high 818 yards, while Mann is the No. 5 producer with his career-best 756.

If you look hard enough, you can see the twinkle in Mann's eyes when it's suggested that the weak-side receiving duos have become the strength of Edmonton's attack.

"I don't even like to call it the weak side," said Mann. "It's the short side of the field. It's a shorter throw. The ball comes out quicker. For Ricky (quarterback Ray), it's an easier read. I just happen to be fortunate enough to be out there."

While Mann is a natural, running the same patterns Jason Tucker used to run, it's been a bit of an adjustment for Stamps, who's had to adjust from wideout to his first tour of duty at slotback.

INSTANT FRIENDSHIP

"Fred and I kind of had an instant friendship, which made it easier for us to get along out there," said Mann. "We do a lot of communicating and talking to help each other get better. It's a good situation for me."

Earlier in the season, Mann was leading the league while Stamps was helping out in a downfield blocking role.

"He's a great blocker," said Mann. "Fred had to get used to a new position. Now, he's getting the feel for it and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's not just us making the plays. We've got other guys on this team who can make plays. It's a good situation for us."

Both players have a different viewpoint when it comes to closing in on 1,000-yard seasons.

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Mann is playing his first full season here after his first two years were interrupted by NFL aspirations.

"I don't want to be too overzealous or too anxious for it because who knows what can happen?" said Mann.

Stamps was well on his way in 2008 with 751 yards but had to miss the stretch drive when he was injured.

"The beginning of the season was kinda tough, but I only had one goal and that was to get to the Grey Cup," said Stamps. "I feel like we're gelling a lot all the way across the board. I had to learn this (slotback) coming in.

"I'm really not going to sit down and think about a 1,000-yard season too much because last year I was close and I got hurt. If it comes, it comes."

Stamps knows this receiving crew stacks up against any in the CFL with three receivers in the top 12.

While Mann and Stamps have emerged as the deep threats, Kamau Peterson has become the possession receiver. He has a comparable number of catches with 561 yards.

"You never know," said Stamps about who could emerge as the next last-second hero. "Whatever Ricky sees on the field, whoever beats their man that's who's going to get the ball. This week, it could be Jamaica Rector, Kamau Peterson or Andrew Nowacki."

Keeping the defences guessing is what they do best.

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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