If there was one thing Kavis Reed could do to inspire, motivate, to maybe reboot the Edmonton Eskimos back into that 5-0 team they were a moth ago, what might that be?
Simple. Easy. No brainer.
Tell them Fred Stamps is playing!
Might there be such a story brewing?
It had been generally assumed that Stamps wouldn’t play in the Labour Day Classic in Calgary but would be returning for the Friday Labour Day rematch in Commonwealth Stadium.
But Friday Reed labeled both Adarius Bowman and Fred Stamps as “questionable” and hung the same status on his two starting cornerbacks, Jykine Bradley and Rod Williams.
“They’re all 50-50,” he said.
Time out. Just a minute. Forget the other fellas. Fred Stamps is 50-50?
Reed said the plan was to give Stamps full reps and see how he handled it and, most importantly, see how he felt when the Eskimos returned to the field Saturday morning for their final practice prior to Labour Day.
But it was Bowman getting full reps and Stamps on the sidelines not wearing pads when the Eskimos took to the soggy turf at Commonwealth Stadium.
Reed said that didn’t change anything.
“Under doctors advisement, we were to give him the day off because he practised for three straight days. He will be reassessed in the morning tomorrow.”
Reed said it’ll be obvious at Saturday’s practice.
“If he doesn’t practise, that means he’s not playing.”
YCan you imagine the impact of the team being told Stamps would play in this one?
The Eskimos lost three games to the Stampeders without Stamps in the lineup last year – 52-5, 56-15 and 36-20.
The turning point of this season was arguably early in the first quarter of the Winnipeg game when Jonathan Hefney kicked Stamps in the groin. The team that started the season at 5-0 suddenly went 0-3.
This year Stamps caught five passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns as the Eskimos scored a 24-19 win in McMahon Stadium on July 23.
In Stamps’s eight games against Calgary going back to 2008, he’s caught 34 passes for 582 yards, an average of 17.1 per catch, with seven touchdowns.
But here’s a stat that really tells the story.
Since 2008, Stamps’ first full year in the league, the Eskimos are 28-24 with him in the line-up and 3-7 without his services.
But thats nothin’.
Consider Greg Peach.
With Peach in the lineup, the Eskimos are 18-11!
With him out, they’re 3-12!
And by all indications Peach will be back for this one.
We’ll see about Stamps officially by 2:30 p.m. today — 48 hours prior to game time — when the Eskimos must declare their 46-man roster.
Reed said Friday that Greg Peach almost certainly will now be making the trip to Cowgary.
“Peach should be a go,” he said.
If T.J. Hill is the Ricky Ray of the defence, you could make a case that Greg Peach is the Fred Stamps of the defence.
And if you think the Eskimos record is significantly different with Stamps in the lineup or out, consider the third-year Eskimo defensive end.
“Peach being back is inspirational,” said defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler.
“My plan is to play on Monday,” said Peach, who suffered a knee injury late in the fourth quarter against Calgary in the game which made the Eskimos 5-0.
“The bye week was good for us in terms of evaluating ourselves, especially on defence,” he said.
“I think it’s really helped our team feel a sense of urgency and I’m expecting us to step up like we were playing before.
“I think we’ll be coming back with a lot more energy.”
Peach said this team isn’t like the previous two editions of the team. He doesn’t sense they’re down on themselves.
“Even after losing three straight, everybody is still enthused. We’re coming back refreshed and ready.”
And Peach is pumped.
“I’m excited coming back to it.”
It’s been difficult to find a positive angle around this team lately. But you can start with Peach.
If they follow with Stamps today, the positive effect psychologically could be phenomenal.
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