RB rushes to praise blockers

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Joffrey Reynolds collects the yardage, and now he has the award nomination to go with it.

But the Calgary Stampeders running back knows he wouldn't be going anywhere without somebody making room for him.

So Reynolds is doubly excited two of his blockers were recognized when the CFL announced the team nominees for player awards yesterday.

Left tackle Ben Archibald is the Stamps' most outstanding lineman, while right guard Dimitri Tsoumpas is the top Canadian.

The Stamps have the top rushing game in the CFL, so it's no surprise three players responsible for that are getting recognized.

If Reynolds, the team's nominee for most outstanding player, had a vote, he would give Archibald and Tsoumpas the West Division awards as well.

"As far as linemen go, I don't see anybody in the league that's better than they are," Reynolds said. "I really don't. I'm not just saying that as a teammate but from a football standpoint. Those guys have played well every game. Some guys may have bad games, but those guys bring it."

Reynolds should be the favourite for West Division MOP since he leads the league in yards from scrimmage and is on pace for a second straight rushing title. But those numbers also get attributed to Archibald and Tsoumpas.

"Eight 100-yard games is unheard of for a CFL running back," Reynolds said. "That shows how well those guys are doing. It's not like I'm leading the league in carries by a whole lot.

"We are able to do it with a consistent running game, not an overwhelming running game. Those guys go from pass blocking to run blocking just like that, and that's tough to do."

Both linemen are in their second season with the Stamps and form the foundation of strong group that is fourth in sacks allowed.

Archibald, an import who spent five seasons bouncing around the NFL, is humbled by the nomination. The 6-foot-4, 318-pounder has found a home in Calgary and plans on staying here as long as possible.

"I've had a great time," said Archibald, who is the father of two-year-old triplet girls.

"The NFL may be the big time, but it wasn't the funnest time. It wasn't the best thing for my family with the situation we are in with our girls. Coming up here, I'm thrilled to be part of this organization. I never expected it to go this well."

Archibald should be the favourite to win the West Division nomination, while Tsoumpas will be a long-shot against the likes of Lions defensive end Ricky Foley.

Tsoumpas was deserving of the rookie award last year but lost to Roughriders receiver Weston Dressler, and this one took him by surprise.

He feels a bit sheepish about being the top Canadian ahead of veterans such as centre Rob Lazeo and right tackle Jeff Pilon, but he is thankful, nonetheless.

"It's frustrating. I'm playing beside these guys, and they are doing no different than I am," Tsoumpas said.

"They are guys who have put in their time and they are battling through stuff just like I am.

"You get the nom, but you also wish the linemates can get it with you. I have some mixed emotions over it."

For Reynolds, this is his second nomination, but the first one came back in 2006. He appreciates it more the second time around.

"Looking at 2006, I was young and I wasn't as confident in myself as I am now," Reynolds said.

"I still had doubts then about whether I could do it. As a team, I knew we were good but we were inconsistent.

"Back then, B.C. was kicking our butt, so we were always playing for second place.

"Right now, we have a chance to play for first. Coming off a Grey Cup last year, I feel real comfortable with the group of guys that is here."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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