Stamps' Lewis tries harder

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to net passing yards.

Although the Edmonton Eskimos defence is tops at defending the pass, they’re not about to take their southern rivals lightly.

“They’ve got a good corps of receivers: Nik Lewis, they’ve got (Ken-Yon) Rambo back, and they’ve got (Romby) Bryant, No. 83, then they’ve got (Arjei) Franklin,” said Eskimos head coach and defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall.

“Do they get any special treatment? I could say yes, I could say no being that it’s going to be aired (publicly).

“All I know is that we’ve just got to be sound. When we have opportunities to get our hands on them and jam them, we’ve got to do that.”

Leading the charge for the Stampeders is Lewis, who is sixth overall with 36 catches for 465 yards, behind Eskimos slotback Kelly Campbell in fifth place with one more catch and 58 more yards.

“The key thing that makes (Lewis) special is his yards after catch,” said Hall. “He does a great job running with the football, breaking tackles.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to him because he’s not your typical receiver. He’s going to take a hit and he’s going to bounce off. He’s not going to allow you to tackle him, you have to tackle him.”

But what is Lewis’s secret to getting yards after the catch?

“Effort,” offered the 28-year old Southern Arkansas product, who has recorded a 1,000-receiving-yards season in each of his six previous CFL seasons.

“I don’t know what else it is, I really couldn’t tell you.

“I don’t know what happens, it’s like everything blacks out and it just happens. I know on second downs I try to get the first. I think I’m willing to set my body up and take more shots from two or three guys to try to extend the drive or get two or three more yards, whereas some guys might try to step out of bounds.

“Those one and two extra yards add up, and sometimes you break through and get five or six more.”

It’s a niche Lewis is happy to have to help him stick out among a strong receiving corps.

“I think this makes me a little different, and I’ve always been able to do it,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of speed. To have the speed of Romby and Rambo out there on the field at the same time is pretty incredible.

“Those guys can just take off and outrun people. I can’t do that, I’ve had to make a little different niche for myself.”

Having Rambo back in the lineup after missing most of last season with a broken leg has opened up Calgary’s offence.

“It’s a big difference,” Lewis said. “You’ve got a guy in there that can go deep, do things underneath and has the speed to go the distance every play.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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