Written by Guest Blogger: Mike Wilson cflinsider.com
After a loss against the Blue Bombers last week, the Esks were exposed to be human, and in this week’s game against Montreal, they are going to have to regain their superhuman powers once more to capture a win.
This is because they have lost one of the main gears in their machine. That’s right; Fred Stamps won’t be in the line-up for a while due to an injury in last week’s game.
Esks Gm Eric Tillman told media, “Fred was experiencing significant discomfort after the game. He was taken to hospital for tests which determined that there was some internal bleeding and surgery was required. The surgery was successful and Fred will remain in hospital for a few more days. Our medical staff is projecting that he’ll be sidelined 4 – 6 weeks. Football is secondary at a time like this and Fred will be in our thoughts and prayers during his recovery.”
This is a major blow considering Stamps is the top receiver in the league. He leads the league with 619 yards and 5 touchdowns.
In an offense where your top weapon is out of commission for a while, you need guys to step up. Jason Barnes had a huge game against the Bomber with 8 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. A repeat performance is hopeful for the Esks, as Barnes will be the main guy this week and for a few weeks to come.
Another guy who needs to start showing up is Chris Bouman. The former first overall pick is making 125k this year and that’s steep price for any player, let alone one with only 3 catches on the year. With Stamps out, this is a perfect opportunity for Bouman to prove himself and get involved in the offense with the best playing quarterback in the CFL right now. He’s getting paid too much to not do anything.
Another problem the Esks are looking to solve is the struggling return game. Last week, returner Brian Bonner fumbled the ball twice and lost both of them, and averaged a single yard per return. This is hoping to be remedied with the signing of veteran return man Jason Armstead. In three games with the Esks last year, Armstead had returned 13 punts for 149 yards and one touchdown and eight kickoffs for 139 yards. He also had one catch for six yards.
He doesn’t have the skills of a Chad Owens or a Larry Taylor, but he will defiantly be an improvement to Edmonton’s special teams.
The Esks aren’t in any danger as far as the standings are right now, but to keep the train rolling, you have to replace parts as soon as they break, or face a crash. If they are to keep first place in their hands, they have to have players come in and step up.