Turns out Esks' Stamps isn't Superman
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
|Fred Stamps, who led the league before sitting out the last three games recovering from abdominal surgery, wasn’t able to pick up where he left off when he returned to the gridiron Friday. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Two receptions for 39 yards isn’t exactly what was expected from Fred Stamps as he returned to the gridiron Friday.
The Eskimos top receiver, who led the league before sitting out the last three games recovering from abdominal surgery, wasn’t able to pick up where he left off.
Then again, he hadn’t played in over a month and they can’t expect him to be Superman.
“We do,” Ricky Ray said following the 30-20 loss. “He’s a good player so we always expect him to go out there and make plays.
“Usually he does, unfortunately (Friday) night we just didn’t get him the ball enough.”
A couple of other passes went Stamps’s way in the end zone, one on the opening drive that might as well have been uncatchable and another that would have been to him if there wasn’t a mix-up somewhere in the read or the route.
“They did a good job of covering us down and making things difficult, but that’s what it usually comes down to,” Ray said. “Whatever team is able to make those big plays usually has a good chance of winning.”
Calgary came in with a conscious effort to stymie the Eskimos’ leading receiver with a double-team approach.
“They played some coverage where they had a guy high and a guy low on our slot receivers, so they made it difficult for us to get it to those guys,” said Ray. “(On one) drive, they brought some pressure and me and Fred had a little miscommunication on one route.”
One that saw Stamps turn one way in the end zone while the ball sailed harmlessly into open turf.
“It was just little things like that kept us off track (Friday),” Ray said. “It doesn’t concern me. With Fred, we’re usually on the same page. That was just one time where we both saw a little bit different things.”
But the two managed to connect on a 24-yard reception that saw Stamps win a jump-ball duel to set up Edmonton’s lone touchdown with 3:41 left to play.
“That play, me and Ricky, we just kind of dialed it up ourselves,” Stamps said. “He told me to take the corner. I’m glad he did because I knew I could beat (the defence) on the corner.”
Stamps said he started feeling more like his old self as the game went on.
“It felt like I hadn’t played in over a month in the first half, but the second half, I got into my rhythm and I just felt good,” he said. “I just felt like I could run a little faster and see the defence a little more.
“I just didn’t get as many opportunities, but credit to Calgary. They played good defence and we have to capitalize on mistakes. We can’t give up anything. We can’t make mistakes against a team like that because they’re such a good team.”
And, as of Friday night, they became the best team in the West Division, bumping Edmonton into second place. But the provincial rivals will have to wait until the playoffs for a chance to meet again this year, after Edmonton took the season series 2-1 and now set their sights out east for the upcoming game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.