Pickup Pickett strong in preseason win

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:06 PM ET

Maybe all Cody Pickett needed was a change of scenery.

Maybe now the Calgary Stampeders have a quarterback-in-waiting.

Just five days after joining the Stamps, Pickett started the third quarter of Sundays 41-17 CFL pre-season victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders and threw a touchdown pass on each of his second and third series.

The former Toronto Argonauts pivot would have kept his first drive alive had Deon Murphy not dropped what would have been a first-down reception.

It felt great to have guys open, be on a winning team and have some success, said Pickett, who struggled with the woeful Argonauts

the past two seasons.

Coach (Dave) Dickenson did a great job giving me a good game to start off. The linemen did a great job blocking. The guys were running open, and they caught the ball for me. It was just pitch and catch. That felt really good.

Pickett was a surprise first quarterback off the bench after only getting into a handful of practices since signing with the team Tuesday.

On his second possession, it certainly helped that Keon Raymond picked off a Ryan Dinwiddie pass at the Riders 23-yard line, but Pickett quickly converted with great field position.

The 29-year-old pivot made an outlet pass to Rafael Little for four yards then hit Ronald Keels for an 11-yard gain and found fullback Mike Cornell open for an eight-yard touchdown strike.

That ball was perfect, Cornell said. I couldnt have done anything else but catch that.

On the next drive, Pickett had completions to Landan Talley for 21 yards and then a 21-yard bullet to Keels that was fed in between two defenders.

He put it right there in the hole, said Keels, who notched his first touchdown.

A perfect throw. That was a play that weve been doing since rookie camp, and Ive been getting it wrong and getting it wrong. I talked to the veterans to get help, and it finally paid off. It felt good after last week when I had a poor game.

I came back this week learning plays and trying to get things right.

That touchdown was Picketts final pass, and it was a good way to end the day.

Im happy it got there, said Pickett, who finished 7-of-9 passing for 87 yards. It takes a while to get into a rhythm. When the ball started feeling good in my hands, I felt

I could put it in there.

Drew Tate relieved Pickett and did well himself, going 4-of-5 passing for 41 yards while also scrambling for nine-yard gain.

QB Zac Champion didnt fare as well in the fourth quarter, connecting on 2-of-4 passes for just 19 yards with an interception.

Although it would seem Tate is the favourite for the backup job behind Henry Burris, Stamps head coach John Hufnagel did say Pickett showed poise and confidence during this three series.

Cody did a fine job out there, Hufnagel said. He did not hurt his stock value.

After getting released in Toronto when Jim Barker took over as head coach, Pickett signed with the Montreal Alouettes, only to get cut before training camp.

With the whirlwind of the last few weeks behind him, Pickett is excited about his performance.

It was overall a great experience, Pickett said. To come to a new place and to feel comfortable with everybody, having some success right away feels really good.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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