Stamps need an overhaul

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

The sputters and coughs over the past month were evidence of some engine failure.

Now that the Calgary Stampeders offence completely stalled somewhere on the way to Molson Stadium, it is finally time for head coach John Hufnagel to admit it.

His team needs some massive work on offence.

And it starts with the quarterback position.

Henry Burris doesn’t need a complete overhaul, but Hufnagel is looking to give his No.-1 pivot a tuneup.

“I’m studying right now. I’m going over the last four games and studying Henry’s mechanics to see if I can pinpoint something to help him out,” Hufnagel said after picking up the pieces of a 32-11 drubbing by the Montreal Alouettes Monday afternoon.

“It truly has to be inside that individual. He has to rise to the occasion. He understands he needs to execute at a higher level. I’m fully confident Henry will rise to the occasion.”

Over the past four games, although two of which were wins, Burris has completed just 47.4% of his passes and has averaged 167 yards passing with one touchdown pass and four interceptions.

It all doesn’t fall at Burris’ feet, obviously.

Against the Alouettes, the receivers couldn’t get off the jams at the line and didn’t find enough holes in coverage.

The offensive line showed some weakness in holding down the Alouettes front, although starting left guard Jesse Newman could return from a shoulder injury this week.

Questions about the struggling offence may get tiring, but Hufnagel was quizzed again yesterday as to what will fix the problems.

“We’re not functioning as a productive offence,” Hufnagel said. “We are running the football a little bit more but that’s no excuse. We try to have a balanced attack but we still need the quarterback completing passes.

“We need a 60% passer. That’s what Henry has been over the past two seasons until his four-game stretch we’re talking about right now.”

When Burris hit the 3000-yard mark for the season in just 10 games, he appeared on his way to another career year.

At that time, his quarterback rating was a respectable 95.4.

In the four games since then, his 54.4 QB rating has dropped his overall number to 85.0, which is 18.8 points lower than last season when he was the West Division’s most outstanding player.

The Stamps will stick with their franchise player.

And Hufnagel said yesterday there won’t be other massive changes in terms of personnel.

There are a handful of players who could contribute down the stretch — such as running back Derek Watson and receivers Maurice Price and Chris Davis — but the group that lost to the Alouettes must find a way to turn it around against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

“You have to fight through adversity,” Hufnagel said.

“If you do, you have to make sure you are a stronger football team. You have to be productive and get wins.

“You need to be playing good football at the end.

“There’s a lot on our plate right now. We will work hard to get do everything we can to win games.

“We go back to the basics and make sure everyone is at the top of their game in execution. What we’re missing right now is the execution of the pass plays.”


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