O-nus on Stamps firepower

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

CALGARY - Sure, Friday’s pre-season game against the Edmonton Eskimos has no bearing on the standings.

Whether the Calgary Stampeders win or lose, and whatever the score, it won’t matter once the 2011 CFL season kicks off a week later.

Still, the onus will be on the Stampeders offensive stars to at least make some serious noise in Commonwealth Stadium.

Coming off a 24-0 shutout at the hands of the B.C. Lions in the first pre-season outing, which was on the heels of a less-than-inspiring performance in the team’s mock game, the point producers are under the microscope.

And they know it.

“Heading into your home-opener, the regular season, you want to be hitting on all cylinders,” said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds.

“I think with the performance we had last week, it’s necessary for us as an offence to have a good showing and good continuity.”

In the big picture, it’s not life and death if the Stampeders offensive attack makes mince-meat of the Eskimos defenders.

What really matters is whether they’re ready for the regular-season curtain-raiser July 1. Still, things haven’t gone according to plan through the first couple of weeks of training camp, and it doesn’t just come down to “little things” not being achieved.

“It was all the way around,” Reynolds said of his team’s exhibition struggles against the Lions. “It was little details we missed, but it was more. It was a bad-weather game, but that can’t be an excuse because the other team played in the same weather and put up points.

“It’s about execution. Just going out, competing and playing good football.”

En route to last season’s 13-5 regular-season record, the Stampeders led the CFL with 626 points — more than 100 beyond what the No. 2 Montreal Alouettes collected — and were also tops in touchdowns, offensive yards, first downs, plays from scrimmage and time of possession … just to name a few stats.

Considering the team has essentially the same bodies — although the Stamps will start the season with a couple of fresh faces on the offensive line — there shouldn’t be major problems. That is a saving grace when you have a hiccup in the pre-season.

“It is at some point, but you still have to go out and do it,” Reynolds said. “All of us expect each other to play well. We know we have talented players, and we know we have a lot of pride about winning football games. I expect to see the offence to play a lot better in Edmonton.”

“There’s really no such thing to me as hiccups in the pre-season,” said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris.

“It’s all about building, a process to the first game of the season. You could lose 100-0 in the pre-season, but the bottom line is to learn from it and go one way or the other from there. There were opportunities the other night, but we didn’t execute.”

To Burris, Friday’s game is just another dress rehearsal in which the No. 1 unit will see more than a dozen offensive plays and ready for the Canada Day festivities and the first regular-season tilt against the Toronto Argonauts.

“We’ll do good things — we don’t even think negatively,” Burris said. “It’s two teams who lost their first pre-season games, and both teams are going to be flying around making plays. Both teams will make plays, but I’m confident we’ll go up there and do what we’re supposed to do and execute the way we’ve been taught.”


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