Hurtin' Stamps catch more trouble

Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis is needed in a depleted receiving corps. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI...

Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis is needed in a depleted receiving corps. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 AM ET

CALGARY - The strength of the Calgary Stampeders receiving corps is its depth, but it’s being tested at the moment.

Observers at Calgary Stampeders practice had to wonder if the team is hard on those who catch passes for a living.

On a few plays, there were four receivers standing without helmets watching the action instead of participating.

“I’m not being hard on them,” said Stamps receivers coach Pete Costanza with a laugh. “The other guys we’re playing are doing it.”

The Stamps added another receiver to the long-term injured list Saturday after the 32-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Landan Talley suffered a dislocated shoulder getting tackled on a kickoff return and will miss about four to six weeks.

Talley replaced Ken-Yon Rambo at the slot position for that start, and Rambo was still resting a tender Achilles Monday after missing his second game this CFL season.

Nik Lewis sat out the session due to a sore heel, which was suffered a week ago at a kids camp in Kelowna, although it didn’t stop him from catching seven passes for 87 yards against the Tiger-Cats.

Also wearing a ballcap instead of a helmet at practice was Arjei Franklin, who is on the nine-game injured list with broken ribs.

Rambo and Lewis are both hopeful for Friday’s clash in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but Tuesday’s practice will be an important one for them.

“It’s been adverse year for us,” Costanza said. “I told them we have to keep working through it. The adversity has helped us.

“We’re learning to pull together as a group and look out for one another. The guys are playing different positions, and it’s helped in a strange way.”

If Rambo can’t go, the next guy in line is Jake Allen, a Mississippi College product who has spent the entire season on the practice roster.

At 6-foot-4, 190-lb., the 26-year-old looks like an intriguing prospect, but he wouldn’t bring the same aspect to the offence as Rambo or even Talley.

“This league, it seems like the big guys get to play one-on-one with safeties,” Allen said. “I see myself as being a good fit for this league.

“When I’ve been doing scout team (working against the Stamps defence), I’m going against one of the better corners in the league in Geoff Tisdale. I try to give him a good workout every week. In doing that, I’m getting better, as well.”

Had Talley stayed healthy, this week might have been another chance to showcase his skills.

“With Landan, for all the work he put in last year … it’s a shame,” Costanza said. “He works so hard, and even though he’s behind two veterans (Rambo and Romby Bryant) where he knows playing time is scarce, he stays focused.”

It’s likely Lewis plays no matter what.

There is no real option if he can’t, but the Stamps have gone through this scenario many times with their bulldog slotback.

“Over my four years, I’ve seen him miss two days of practice and still play a great game,” said Costanza of Lewis. “It’s good in the sense that we prepare if something happens during a game. We get a chance to work the contingency plan instead of just talking about it.

“It’s tough not having him out there, but on the other side, more guys are getting reps.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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