Stamps' best offence is knowing the defence

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:43 PM ET

With a former Toronto Argonauts quarterback in the offensive meetings, the Calgary Stampeders must have an advantage on their opponent this week.

Yes, they have some insight into the defence, according to slotback Nik Lewis, but not how you might think.

Cody Pickett really can’t help much since the Argos roster has changed dramatically.

“It helps to have another good quarterback,” Lewis said. “The biggest thing for us is Rick Campbell (the Stamps’ running backs coach).

“Having a former defensive co-ordinator on the opposite side of the ball is the biggest thing for us. He knows how they game-plan and what they try to take away.

“He knows what teams are trying to accomplish with the defence they are running. We actually know what every player is doing on defence.”

Campbell spent four years game-planning against the likes of Lewis, Henry Burris and Joffrey Reynolds as the defensive co-ordinator of the Edmonton Eskimos.

Now that he’s on their side, Campbell has helped explain how defences go about taking away the Stamps’ strengths.

“I had some thoughts on what Calgary has done well in the past — there are some things when you play Calgary you try to eliminate,” said Campbell, who spent last season as the special-teams co-ordinator with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“If you do a few of those things, you tend to have a chance. If you don’t do those things, the Stampeders can make it a long day for you.

“I have some opinions about that. If there are things we can get done, it will be better for some other things.”

When Jim Barker took over as Argos head coach this off-season, he hired Chip Garber as his defensive co-ordinator.

Garber has one season of CFL experience, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2008 as defensive backs coach, so he brings a bit of the unknown to McMahon Stadium.

The Stamps have a new look, as well. Dave Dickenson takes over the play-calling from former offensive co-ordinator George Cortez, so it’s a matchup that will be intriguing on Canada Day.

“It’s hard to tell what Toronto is going to do with a new defensive co-ordinator on staff,” said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris. “We’re just trying to make sure whatever they do throw at us that we’re giving them different looks from what they showed in the pre-season.

“Right now, we’re going in like a blind man.”

Campbell has taken on a position he’s never coached before with the running backs, but he sees similarities between them and linebackers on defence.

Burris said he’s seeing an impact where it matters most to him.

“He’s really helped out our backs a lot in blocking,” Burris said. “They can read defensive fronts quicker and know where to get out on the block.”

With Campbell, the Stamps have a young offensive coaching staff in Dickenson, receivers coach Pete Costanza and offensive line coach Kris Sweet.

“There is a good dynamic — They’ve made it easier for me,” said Campbell, who is still adapting to the change.

“It’s moved me out of my comfort zone. I was involved in defence and special teams for so long that stuff was second nature to me.

“Offence forces me to think. I still look at things from a defensive perspective, so I can tell them what a defence is thinking.”


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