Stamps workhorse stashed in stable

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:33 PM ET

Four days later, the number still seems weird coming out of Joffrey Reynolds’ mouth.

“With four carries — the first couple carries might not be what you expect,” said the Calgary Stampeders running back. “Unfortunately, that’s where it stopped — at four carries.”

For only the second time in Reynolds’ Hall-of-Fame career with the Stamps, he averaged one rushing attempt per quarter.

The result was what one would expect. He finished with eight yards in Friday’s 36-31 loss to the B.C. Lions.

The reason for the light workload? The Stamps’ aerial attack was clicking better.

Henry Burris did throw for 373 yards, but the balance wasn’t there. It didn’t help there was a 20-point deficit to overcome, but Reynolds only had one carry in the second half, after the lead was erased.

“A four-carry game, I don’t want to say that makes me look bad, but it’s just the way the game went,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully, it’s over and done with.”

The last time Reynolds had just four carries in a game was Aug. 9, 2007, a 30-18 loss at Montreal. (He had one attempt in the 2008 season-finale, but he was rested because the Stamps had already clinched the West Division).

The eight yards isn’t actually his worst outing. In the 30-year-old’s first full season (2005), he was held to one yard on eight carries during the Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos.

It’s a rare outing when Reynolds’ backup, Jon Cornish, gets more chances to rush the ball. Cornish did pile up 42 yards on five carries, thanks in large part to an 18-yarder.

But even Cornish doesn’t understand how the gameplan went so far away from the lead runner.

“The more carries a player like Joffrey has, the more output he will have,” Cornish said. “He probably didn’t have as many opportunities as he needed to get it going. That’s what happened. Our run game is one of our strongest aspects of the team.

“You have the best running back in the league. You either give him the ball or you don’t. You can’t expect enormous numbers unless you give him the ball. You have to get the ball to our running backs. We have the best in the league.”

The Stamps are undefeated when Reynolds carries the ball more than 10 times this season, going 10-0 when it happens. The Stamps are still the top team when it comes to rushing the ball with 147.8 yards per game, more than 12 per game more than the second-place team.

With the Stamps playing two meaningless games to finish out the season, Reynolds wants to be part of the attack to prove he hasn’t lost a step or is even slowing down.

“My carries have been up, down, up, down ... ” Reynolds said. “I don’t feel my play has anything to do with it. The amount of opportunities, the more looks you get, the better off you will be.”

If there are some out there who aren’t appreciative of what Reynolds can do, Cornish isn’t one of them.

The two have worked hand-in-hand daily since Cornish arrived in 2007.

“I appreciate the fact I’ve had four years of his tutelage,” Cornish said. “I couldn’t imagine being the running back I am today without him.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


Photos