October 8, 2012
Stampeders suddenly faced with formidable foe in Blue Bombers
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Thanks to the Montreal Alouettes and the turkey they laid Monday, the Calgary Stampeders got fair warning about taking a team too lightly.
This is the CFL, you know, so anything can happen.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers earned the upset of the 2012 season Thanksgiving Monday when they went into Montreal and beat the first-place Alouettes 27-22.
Considering the Bombers (4-10) were 0-6 on the road with their top quarterback in street clothes and their playoff hopes desperate at best, the Als (8-6) missed a huge opportunity.
The Stamps took a day off and probably didn’t like what they saw from their next opponent.
The Bombers defence created five turnovers, including a final interception by Brandon Stewart to seal it, while QB Joey Elliott suddenly found a groove with his offence.
Elliott had played five games previously and saw considerable action without throwing a touchdown pass. But he came out gunning early in Montreal, throwing majors of 50 yards to Terrence Edwards and 36 yards to Chris Matthews.
When Elliott started in Calgary Sept. 14, he was yanked in the second quarter after posting a 15.4 passer rating. Against the Alouettes on Monday, he posted a 154.6 rating and looked like a completely different player.
A week after chucking up three interceptions against the Toronto Argonauts in relief, Elliott had no turnovers.
So if QB Buck Pierce (concussion) is available Saturday against the Stampeders, should the Bombers even play him? Elliott probably deserves another chance.
The Stamps have a 7-3 record this season when they get more or equal days off than their opponent, but they have lost the last two outings when that’s happened.
There is good news for the Stamps on the injury front, although they will have to make some changes this week regardless.
Middle linebacker Juwan Simpson fought through an ankle injury during Saturday’s 27-22 loss in Vancouver to the B.C. Lions, but head coach John Hufnagel expects his defensive captain to be in the lineup against Winnipeg.
The prognosis is the same for Simpson’s backup, Deron Mayo, who also has an injured ankle that will require some absence from practice.
The news isn’t as good for coverage linebacker Chris Randle. The rookie has a knee injury, and Hufnagel termed his condition as extremely doubtful for Saturday.
That likely opens the door for fellow rookie Derrius Brooks to step in and make his second start for the team, although the Stamps could shake things up in the secondary to cover that important position.
Defensive halfback Jamar Wall is also doubtful after leaving early Saturday with an ankle injury. If Wall can’t play, it’s likely Quincy Butler will return to the starting lineup.
Butler has been out since suffering a knee injury in practice Aug. 23, but he still sits second on the team with three interceptions this season. Butler started the first seven games of the season and was having a strong first full campaign.
As for the quarterback situation, the order remains the same as of this moment.
The Stampeders are hoping Drew Tate will be available soon, but Kevin Glenn remains the starter and Bo Levi Mitchell is the No. 2 man.
So Glenn will go back to his former home in Winnipeg hoping to get the Stamps back on track and keep hold on second place.
On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby