Stamps struggling offence set to explode

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

They're O so close.

At least, that's the message coming from members of the Calgary Stampeders' offence, a usually-dangerous bunch that has struggled to find the endzone so far this season.

"I would say, at times, we don't look as explosive as we have in years past," admitted Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds. "But I honestly think we're just a game or a play away from being that team, where the lightbulb goes on."

This would be a good week to light it up.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who'll provide the opposition for Saturday's nightcap at McMahon Stadium, have surrendered only nine touchdowns in five outings so far, making theirs the second-stingiest defensive unit in the three-down football ranks.

The Stamps offence has posted decent numbers, too, but it hasn't translated into a ton of points on the scoreboard for John Hufnagel's 3-2 football club.

Henry Burris & Co. rank second in the CFL in average time of possession (32:37) and third in yards per game (365.8), but they're currently sitting sixth in offensive points scored (117), better than only the anemic Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"It doesn't matter if you have a 10-play drive, if you come away with nothing, it means nothing," Burris said. "You move the ball and you re-establish field position and that's all great, but if you're not putting points on the board, it doesn't mean anything. We've been close. We just need to make those big plays happen.

"The big plays, we haven't had enough of those. Normally, we're a team that when we get a chance to make a bigtime shot down the field, it's cash in the bank. We haven't been able to cash it in this year like we normally have been able to."

The proof is on paper.

Speedster Romby Bryant, who torched cornerbacks for a league-leading 15 receiving touchdowns last year, has only one major on his stat-sheet so far this season.

Ditto for slotbacks Nik Lewis and Ken-Yon Rambo, who'll miss Saturday's game due to an Achilles injury. Reynolds is also shooting for his second score of the campaign.

Running back Jon Cornish has made three trips to the endzone, but the Stamps are the only squad with only one guy who has scored multiple offensive touchdowns so far this season.

"A lot of teams, they look good at times and they don't at times," Lewis shrugged. "It's just the way it goes at the beginning of the season. On defence, it takes one person to make a play. Offence, it takes one person to mess up a play."

Likewise, jack-of-all-trades Larry Taylor figures it will take only one big play to spark the Stamps' attack. As Taylor pointed out, the Stamps led the league in almost every offensive category a year ago, and his addition should only add to their arsenal.

"It's definitely contagious. When you get a big play, you thrive off that. You want to get another one, then another one, and as a unit, you get into one of those places and you really feel unstoppable. It's big play after big play," Taylor said. "Then, everybody gets going. The fans get going, the team gets going, and you just get into one of those moods and one of those grooves and the defence has no way to stop you.

"It really only takes one big play, and we really haven't had that, especially at home. It's just a matter of us getting one of those big plays that Calgary Stampeders fans are used to having, especially at home. Then this place is going to go crazy."

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