Too early for Stamps panic
CALGARY - Clearly one pre-season loss shouldn’t throw a CFL team into panic mode.
But after not scoring any points against the B.C. Lions Wednesday night, coupled with an intrasquad game Saturday where the offence was out of synch, put John Hufnagel into the frustrated category.
“We’re nowhere near where we need to be at this stage in training camp,” said the Calgary Stampeders GM-head coach.
“We have a week left to work hard and to get better, prepare ourselves to go to Edmonton and put on a better performance and get ready for the league opener.”
Certainly it wasn’t all bad Wednesday night but it’s a rarity when the team doesn’t score at McMahon Stadium.
There hasn’t been a shutout in Calgary during the regular season or playoffs since 1970.
The Stamps had the CFL’s top offence last season, so it’s not like they forgot how to play in the past six months.
Something is missing however, even before the second-teamers got into action and put the ball on the turf a couple of times.
“We need to complete passes,” Hufnagel said. “We need to catch the football better. We had too many drops. B.C. had a few drops also but they made plays and we didn’t do that.”
Much like the mock game Saturday, the defence had most of the positives.
Safety Demetrice Morley had two interceptions and had a hand on a third, while backup Eric Fraser picked one off too and delivered a couple of crushing blows.
The veterans know they have work to do but the worst thing would be allowing this rough start to snowball.
“It’s still early and we’re getting kinks out,” said middle linebacker Juwan Simpson. “This is what pre-season is for.
“It’s not even the first game of the season yet. We’re still 0-0 on our real record. We know there is a lot of work to be done. We will use this next week wisely.”
Luckily for the Stamps, they have another seven days to fine tune things before they finish off the exhibition slate with a meeting with the Edmonton Eskimos.
“That just means more practice,” Simpson said. “The season isn’t affected by this game. Nobody is in a panic. We understand that things like this happen. We will just roll with it.”
One of the bright spots was on special teams.
Last season, the Lions won twice at McMahon thanks to Yonus Davis’ returns, but B.C. is trying to replace him.
“For as many people that played, they did a nice job,” Hufnagel said. “The total return yards we had more and that was a combination of getting some returns and our coverage team. We did let escape one time for a long return. We did find some seams where we were able to get 15 or 20 yards.”