Upon Further Review: Calgary Stampeders

Upon Further Review is a series that looks back at each team’s 2021 season, their key free agent additions and other staff and roster changes and looks ahead to their 2022 campaign.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/2022/02/25/upon-review-calgary-stampeders-2/

Calgary should finish top 3 & are the favourite, at this point, of taking top spot IMO. The QB duo is as good as any in the league, Carey gives the Stamps an advantage @ RB over both the Riders & Winnipeg & their top 2 receivers match up with anyone. They also have an advantage over the Bombers @ kicker, depending upon whether the Elks or Bombers sign Castillo. Here's what an insider this week said about that.

It’s probably safe to assume that (Sergio) Castillo will end up in Edmonton or Winnipeg by the time training camp rolls around, but the team that doesn’t get him is going to be in trouble. I can't agree with that more.

On D, Mike Rose is arguably the best DT in the CFL, Judge & Thurman give the club great LB & bringing back Lemon certainly helps. The back end could use another veteran assuming Wall doesn't re-sign. In summary, the Stamps look like a really good club - again.

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And we'll have our hands full when we play them again. Jake Maier was only a field goal away from beating us the very first time we met. This year he's both older and wiser so we might not be so lucky this time. I'm looking forward to our July 15th match. :smiley:

If BLM plays to his form as per a few years ago, and I do not think he will, due to arm/shoulder issues and the improbability of continuing a 750%(something like that) winning rate, they will battle the Riders for second. But, my guess is that they will battle Edmonton for third place. They have a good team but not a championship team. Only Edmonton and Ottawa made changes that make me believe that those teams will significantly improve. Winnipeg will struggle to compete at the rate they did last year, but they are still my pick to finish first, but this year it will come down to the last game or two to clinch. For every other team the jury is out on how things will go....except for BC. I pick them to finish last. Banking on the QB's they have with that O-line could make a good receiving core a mute point.
What may save Calgarys bacon is the back up QB. He is not yet BLM in his prime, not even close. But he may be the best back up in the league. The Riders and Stamps clash in the last two games of the year. Those two game will be playoff football. Can't wait!

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I hope we don't clinch early this year for the good of the league. There was zero suspense in the West last year going into the playoffs. With first place locked up our fans and players had to literally fight to stay interested in the rest of the regular season. I wanna see a battle between the top three or four teams (hopefully ALL tied for first or second) that keeps me on the edge of my seat right up to the last weekend.

I will give you a semi-detailed look at what I don't like about the Bombers & why you needn't worry about them clinching early. Let's forget kicking because that's been done to death. Keep in mind as I write this that I pick them for 2nd, largely because of defence. But offence, where do I start? Looking at the current roster this is what I see.

OL - 8 on roster. 3 extras - Kolankowski (N) drafted by Argos in 2016. 6th year in CFL & was on PR in 2021. Dressed for 2 games. Other 2 OL on roster now are Americans Jalen Burks & Drew Richmond who are new. Depth? What depth?

Receivers - Ellingson, Bailey, Jackson, McKnight & Simmons (who, who & who). Demski & Wolitarsky (N) with O'Leary-Orange. How do they compare to the other West clubs? They don't. A Collins or even Stafford, to mention 2, would help.

Here's the deal. If you start 3 Cdns on OL you need minimum 2 backups, 3 would be better. If you start 2 Cdns @ WR again you need to have a minimum of 2. You have 1 import receiver who is good, another who may be good & 3 with no experience. You have 1 Cdn, Demski, who is excellent, one (Woli) who has digressed since 2018 & another who hasn't gotten into a game.

RB - Small sample on Oliveira who, behind this same dominant OL, had close to a yd/carry less than Harris. Who does he compare to? How about ex-Bomber Flanders who ran behind the worst OL in the CFL - similar stats. Shaq Cooper, who also ended up on the Bombers for a cup of coffee had more carries & way better stats than Oliveira when he was considered a top free agent & went to BC & bombed. So it is far from a given Oliveira is going to be able to carry the load. The good news? BC & Riders may have worse starters @ RB than the Bombers.

Besides losing some top notch talent, their depth has taken a big hit. Now I know there will be an influx of names on all the clubs. So there's hope. But, if we're rating the Bombers as the club to beat AT THIS POINT compared to the others in the West, they have some serious questions on the offensive side of the ball IMO. Disagree all you will but saying mgmt will just find players is wishing & hoping, not a given.

You might be right. Gone are our top two wide outs and our star running back on offense. Our defense is largely intact but it's getting older. On paper we're still good but not dominant while at least one other team in the West ought to be greatly improved. So there's a lot of uncertainty this upcoming season which makes it more interesting. To be clear, I DON'T want to win all the time (at anything). I'd rather things stayed largely unsettled at the very top of our league in both divisions. Still I wouldn't put it past Kyle Walters to pull another rabbit out of his hat and makes us ridiculously strong from the get go. It happens.

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My thinking is the Calgary will be around .500 as with all the other Western teams this season, Winnipeg included. None seem to have a huge advantage. Winnipeg has lost some, others have gained, and the rest are staying the same. I don't see anyone in the West with a huge advantage. Zach and Cody are not super human, Bo isn't done, or proven to continue, and Edmonton and BC would only be discounted by fools if QB evaluation was the main mark. Calgary has superior coaching vs others in the West, and that may be the difference for them. The Stamps should and will build on their running game because they have the player for that. But, other teams in the West have built up their defense, So, I'm thinkin it's up in the air, and let's see what happens on the field. I like it, and can't wait.

red, green, blue and gold in any order for 0ne, two or three..It only matter how the playoff offs end...just like every other year. Regular season bragging rights mean nada or shite.... if you lose the play off game.

I think those are very valid comments. It should be close in both conferences. It's difficult to handicap teams at this point. The Bombers, as 2 time champions will, & should, get best odds on repeating come June. They've earned that. But it's fun to get different perspectives till the season starts. Like you, I like what I see shaping up as a very competitive season.

I read today where the Elks had their highest single day sale of season tickets in their history last Monday. So much for Jones turning off fans. I've been seeing some nice initiatives happening in BC & Ottawa as well which I hope is a sign that we'll see an attendance revival in the CFL coming.

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Jones will not turn off fans, he will improve the team and be competitive and improve the team in ALL aspects. especially in the win column....All will be good with the fans until at the end of season two he suddenly runs off with the next NFL job offer...the day after he says he is looking forward to the next season in the Evil Empire.

Yep. It's going to be an interesting race between the Stamps and the 4th place Eastern team to see who advances to playoffs. Could this be the year an East team crosses over to play either Riders or Bombers in the West semi?

Stamps loaded with young talent hoping for a better start than last year should know what we got by labour day
The author is right it’s up to Bo how far this team goes

Just wondering who the 2 back-up Canadian receivers were that the Bombers just had to have last season ?

At RB - have you noticed that guy named Augustine who has been basically outstanding when given CFL playing time? Him, Olivieira, last year's draft pick Borsa perhaps, and the Bombers might be just fine at RB again; mediocres like Shaq Cooper or Flanders need not apply.

Bombers last year's draft pick Liam Dobson getting drafted in the USFL is a concern/loss; but there is a good crop of U Sports all-star O-Linemen up this draft, and Geoff Gray might also step-up as a solid starter now.

The loss of Kongbo for a defence that has so little faith in playing/starting time for Nationals, might have to be addressed; there is a pretty decent looking DE crop this draft, so they could go there. Or maybe Briggs or Gauthier could play lots of reps inside at LB with Bighill.

Ellingson was a huge addition IMO for the receiving corps - to off-set the losses of Adams & Lawler (both over-rated with hands/drops issues IMO - Lawler getting 300K from that genius in EE land now is laughable).

Bombers will be in the hunt for 1st in the West again - just won't be as easy as last season. Stamps & Riders should be solid I bet; BC may surprise big-time; EEgo Jones might be a free spot on the bingo card for other teams.

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If you're going to play with 2 Nationals @ receiver, as they did in the Grey Cup & most of the year (see their depth charts) last year, then you're trusting you never get injuries. If you go down one, you're looking at a guy who hasn't played a game. That works out fine if your injuries aren't at National receiver. But tell me how it makes sense to carry 2 backups for a RB position behind Harris when he's in & 1 backup for 2 receiver positions? Of course it speaks to your depth. Winnipeg, unlike every other team in the West didn't have anyone with a CFL catch to back up.

At RB, Augustine has 85 career carries in 4 years. Oliveira slightly more. Too small a sample. He was undrafted in 2017 & dropped by both the Riders & Elks. In other words even the Bombers didn't pick him over 8 rounds as insurance for Harris despite Augustine the top ranked RB @ #17. Five RB's were picked by teams. Augustine's rushing stats his final college year were about the same as the Rider's LaFrance best remembered for one sensational playoff game in 2016 rushing for 157 yds. There's no way of telling what Augustine's trajectory is. And the most important thing teams look for in RB's these days is blocking something Harris was excellent at.

I agree Ellingson was a huge addition. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the Bombers have TOTAL 4 receivers they can field with CFL experience - Ellingson, Bailey, Demski & Wolitarsky. Nobody has worse depth in the West at present than the Bombers. Adams & Lawler may have the dropsies if that's what you believe but outside of Dressler 1 year, they're are the only 1,000 yard receivers you've had. Replace them with a handful of guys who haven't got a catch & hope they don't have the dropsies? Well, okay. I imagine there are 8 other teams that would take Lawler. Funny how the guys you lost all of a sudden weren't any good anyway but laughable to me is the guys you got to replace them past the top 4.

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Even though they won’t likely have as good an offense as last year, the Bombers still have the best QB and Oline and I think that Augustine will surprise people and may be the next thing as far as CFL running backs go.

Even though they won’t have the best defence in 50 years again this year, the Bombers should easily have the best defence in the league again this year.

As I have said before, the Bombers should be the preseason favourites. As I’ve also said, that means nothing and how teams actually play, especially the newly stacked teams in Edm, Ottawa and BC, and injuries and newly recruited players and how they perform, will also play their usual large roles.

I think it is safe to say that at this point there are 8 CFL teams that would love to have the Bombers roster and causes for pessimism heading into the season.

??? - all teams have back-up receivers - doesn't matter if they're Nationals or imports; could be a DI or a return specialist who goes in as an injury replacement. The Bombers won the GC the past 2 seasons with 2 starting Canadian receivers and they did not have to have 2 back-up Canadian receivers dressed - that is just another CFL cliche or myth.

Have you seen Augustine play? - don't mean jack if he was undrafted (neither was Lewis Ward - all-time most accurate CFL FG kicker) or if other teams didn't get what type of RB talent he is. I go by what I see on the field of play, and BTW I'm no Bombers fan, and Lawler has one good CFL season (buoyed by a huge game against a depleted BC secondary) with plenty of drops, on his resume - good for him that Jones was willing to pay him 300 K. Ellingson has 5 CFL thousand yard seasons on his resume. And CFL teams find new very good receiver each and every season - import FAs or the draft. O'Leary-Orange might emerge yet as an impact Bomber receiver.

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Interesting points being made. The Bombers are the favorites, there can be little doubt about that, though I'm not sure that is an enviable tag, but one that is well deserved. There's no reason to believe they won't have a solid running game and that always helps the passing game. For the teams that I cheer for I'm always concerned about player depth because we all know the havoc injuries can cause. I can remember Don Matthews, Cal Murphy, Hugh Campbell and Wally Buono all commenting at one point that having depth at Canadian talent may be the most important aspect. Buono in particular stated that otherwise you wind up having players on the field that have no business being out there.

A cynic might even say that the backups that have no business being out there sometimes replace starting Canadians that have no business being out there.

I would think that a Cynic has said that before. Not giving any specific player's name I would naturally conclude it was someone that only appreciated NFL football.