August 24, 2018

Preview: Wpg @ Cgy

Forget the past.

Move on.

The Stamps have something to prove.

With the sting of a 40-27 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the rearview mirror, the Red and White are looking to get back in the win column and tighten their grip on the West Division as they battle the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

“Don’t get me wrong,” defensive lineman Micah Johnson said. “Everybody here knows that we lost last week.

“And we aren’t about to lose back-to-back.”

It was a short (and smoky, and rainy, and cold) week for the Stamps, who had only two practices and a walkthrough ahead of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. matinee, but head coach Dave Dickenson isn’t using that as an excuse.

Back in the friendly confines of their home stadium, where they’ve assembled a perfect 4-0 record this year, the Stamps are ready for one their biggest tests yet.

“Knowing Winnipeg, there are so many challenges,” Dickenson said. “They really play a fast offence; they give you multiple formations…

“They have so many trick plays on offence, defence and special teams. And when I say ‘trick plays,’ I mean exotic looks; things that aren’t the norm.

“They’re aggressive, they’re physical, and we’ve got to play well to beat them.”

The Bombers are coming off a 44-21 loss at home to the Ottawa RedBlacks, halting a three-game winning streak that saw Matt Nichols, Andrew Harris and company put up a combined 107 points.

Johnson and the Stamps D line are expecting a stiff test and know they have to be aggressive to get to the house.
At the same time, they can’t let tunnel vision creep in and allow a belligerent pass rush leave Winnipeg’s star running back with room to romp.

“(Harris) can get out of the backfield so well and you really have to be dialed in as far as the linebackers go, converging down on him,” Johnson said. “He’s an easy option for the quarterback. He’ll make a few guys miss and turn a one-yard catch into a 15- or 20-yard gain.”

Not to be outdone, the Stamps will be getting some help in their own backfield, as first-year running back Don Jackson will return after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury.

Jackson has rushed for 448 yards with two scores on 68 carries this campaign, and has another 39 yards through the air.

With some key players back and both teams entering the game on the heels of defeat, the Stamps are expecting a playoff-like atmosphere.

“It’s a dogfight-type of game against them,” Johnson said. “They’re the type of games I enjoy, and something the D line and the defence really relishes.

“We understand who they are and what they’re trying to do.

“Last week has nothing to do with this week and it doesn’t affect the outcome of this game in any way.

“If you can shrug that off and separate the two, you’ll be fine.”

The additions to this week’s 46-man roster are RB Don Jackson, DB Tre Roberson and DL Michael Kashak. The subtractions are RB William Langlais, RB Romar Morris and DB Patrick Levels.