12 weeks into the CFL season and I have to admit, I was wrong.
Like most fans who follow this team, I thought they would take a little step back this season. Could they match the 14 wins they achieved in 2015? Nope, I didn’t think it was possible. I still thought they would host a playoff game, but I certainly didn’t envision them to be the class of the league.
Of course a lot can happen between now and the start of the playoffs in November, but after 10 games I am prepared to say this is the best team I have seen in Calgary over the last 10 years. Better than the Grey Cup championship team in 2008 and better than the Grey Cup Championship team in 2014.
The obvious reason is quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. The 26 year old from Katy, Texas is just entering his prime and all he does is win. 36 – 7 – 1 as a starter is the best winning percentage in CFL history.
If there was a coach of the year award for assistant coaches, it would be won by Stamps offensive line coach Pat Delmonaco. Despite a few injuries, the Stamps have given up the fewest sacks in the league this season. As a matter of fact, it’s not even close. Rob Cote and Jerome Messam play a big role in this as do the receivers. The Stamps will sacrifice passing yard to protect their quarterback.
Defensively, the team sacrificed some leadership in the off season to get younger. Tommy Campbell and Ciante Evans have been gold on the corners. Rookie Alex Singleton and free agent signing Taylor Reed have filled the gap at MLB. However, the biggest surprise for DC DeVone Claybrooks is the emergence of his leadership group. Last week on Sportstalk, Claybrooks singled out the likes of Josh Bell, Deron Mayo, Joe Burnett and Jamar Wall.
Special team coordinator Mark Kilam took a lot of heat last season as the Stamps stumbled with coverage and returns. The Stamps finally have a dynamic returner in Roy Finch and two of the best kickers in the game.
The Stamps are clicking on all three phases of the game, and that’s the reason they are riding a 7 game winning streak into Edmonton this Saturday night.
While 14 wins still seems a little unrealistic, I will be stunned if this team falters in the 2nd half of the season.
To quote Roy Finch from his twitter feed today.
I hear the chirpin about we gonna fall off that’s funny….Nobody can stop us but us