With Ricky Ray leaving for Toronto in a blockbuster trade, the spotlight in Edmonton has turned to receiver Fred Stamps. The Esks will need Stamps to be a big factor if they are to match last year’s impressive season.
New role for Stamps
Times are changing for Fred Stamps. The wideout has new responsibilities on the field and in the locker room as the Eskimos look to repeat a brilliant 2011. Stamps, who lost his left testicle after a freak accident against Winnipeg last season, comes back to Edmonton minus his quarterback and freshly installed as the new face of the franchise. With Ricky Ray moving to Toronto, Stamps is under pressure to carry the offense in 2012.
Whatever else about Stamps don’t question his toughness. The receiver played the second half of last season and two playoff games in unimaginable pain as he dealt with the injury. “Every time I ran it felt like another kick in the groin. Every time, it was like getting kicked all over again. There wasn’t a day I didn’t have to take pain killers to get through the pain. I couldn’t go a day. I had to take something every single day,” he told QMI.
Stamps enters his sixth season in far better health but, without Ray, there’s no doubting Edmonton’s offense looks under the weather. The receiver however is ready to accept his responsibility as a team leader. “I know I’ll have to step up and say a few things. I’m not really a vocal type of guy. It’s good we have Kavis Reed as our head coach that way. That’s one thing I like about Kavis. He can put a fire underneath you,” said Stamps.
Jyles already under pressure
Steven Jyles will enter training camp on Sunday at the top of the depth chart for Edmonton but he won’t have much in the way of job security. Reed has declared Jyles as the starter entering training camp but the Edmonton coach insists there will be a competition between the sixth year veteran and Kerry Joseph. Both veterans are being kept out of drills during rookie camp as Reed plans to give the duo the bulk of the reps once the real business begins.
After playing the second half of the season in Toronto last year, following Cleo Lemon’s unceremonious dismissal, Jyles knows how it feels to play under center in the CFL. The new environment in Edmonton however presents a different challenge. It’s going to be a fascinating battle to see who comes out on top.
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