September 6, 2019


Harder to shake than a shadow in sunshine.

“Yeah,’’ acknowledges Jamar Wall, “I’d definitely say it was one of our better tackling games. Didn’t leave too many out there.

“That’s always a priority around here. Tackle, tackle, tackle. Especially the way the league is going, involving a lot of running back action, even in the pass game.

“You need to tackle well to put yourself in position to win games. Make a mistake at the wrong time and you’ll be paying for it.

“So it’s a priority for us every day. Nothing crazy here (in practice), of course. We can’t tackle without pads on.

“But you still work on the communication as we’re running, making sure we’re taking the proper leverages and angles. Different things of that nature.

“And our coaching staff puts a real emphasis on that part of the game.

“It’s something that we as a group take pride in.”

A sign of the sure-handedness of the collective is the league-topping 75 tackles already made by middle linebacker Cory Greenwood, currently on pace to break Alex Singleton’s franchise record of 123.

This past Labour Day Monday, in limiting Trevor Harris and Co. to zero touchdowns and 271 total yards of offence, the Calgary Stampeders’ defensive battalion did an exemplary job of zoning in, wrapping up and finishing.

Both out in the open field and down in the pit between the tackles.

Once they had prey locked in their sights, there was virtually no escape. Why, it’d have been easier for Edmonton Eskimo attackers to pry themselves free of a Rottweiler’s incisors.

“Running to the ball and tackling well is the difference between getting off the field, putting teams in uncomfortable positions where they feel they have to change their play-calling,’’ emphasizes linebacker Wynton McManis, credited with five individual takedowns in the 25-9 trimming.

“That’s always our goal as a defence: Be the best tackling team. You keep making tackle after tackle, not giving them anything free, and it wears on teams.

“You make the tackles you’re supposed to, you prevent first downs and get off the field so our offence can get its hands on the ball.”

During the previous two provincial collisions this season, the Eskies have rushed for a pauper’s total of 84 yards. Why, only a few days ago, own his own Calgary tailback Ka’Deem Carey piled up 143.

No coincidence, then, that the Stamps are playing with house money as they set off in search of a seasonal series sweep in Saturday’s 5 p.m.-start Labour Day Week rematch at Commonwealth Stadium.

“There gonna try and do a better job of establishing the run,’’ predicts rush end Cordarro Law. “They haven’t had much success against us yet in that area but (C.J.) Gable is a good back. He can hurt you.

“Everything revolves around the run game. Get that going and it makes (Trevor) Harris and those receivers they have even more dangerous.

“We tackled well the last game but there’s always room for improvement. We’ll need to be better .

Savvy SAM linebacker Wall knows full well that the Eskimos will provide an entirely different

“Even on a short week, they’re definitely going to have put in a few new wrinkles to test us,’’ he cautions. “We watched last year’s Labour Day rematch on film and they came out for that game with a lot of different looks from only a few days before.

“That was a big-time different game. BIG-time. So we need to be prepared for tomorrow. What we did on Labour Day doesn’t matter now.

“We’ve got to be ready for anything. We can’t come out lackadaisical. They’re going to have watched the film and seen what we messed up on but might’ve gotten away with, and they’re going to attack that.

“So yeah, we might have landed the first punch Monday but they’ve got a good counter. They’ve had it for years.”

Case in point: That 2018 scenario Wall mentioned, which saw the Stamps prevail 23-20 on Labour Day, only to surrender a season high 48 points five days later up north.

Given the claustrophobic nature of the West Division at the moment, the ramifications of winning and losing are only heightened.

“I love going into loud stadiums and silencing crowds, where nobody likes us,’’ parries McManis, with mischievous glee. “Seeing those Anything But Calgary signs fires me up.

“We love that.

“We feed off that.

“It just makes whuppin’ teams that much better.”