“It’s a highly debated question among fans of the CFL, can the Calgary Stampeders repeat as Grey Cup Champions?”
Henry Burris finally won the big game.
In a picture perfect season, the Stampeders won the coveted Grey Cup over the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal.
Things weren’t always perfect for the Stampeders last season. The defense was highly inconsistent and the offense was off their games at time, but when it came down to the wire, the Stamps perform.
The Stampeders survived against the BC Lions and used an all-around effort to defeat the Alouettes.
The Stampeders also had a number of individual accolades last season.
Joffrey Reynolds won the rushing title and Henry Burris was the Western nominee for Most Outstanding Player. Mike Labinjo was solid for the Stamps and kicker Sandro Deangellis was nominated as the Special Teams Player in the Year.
The Stamps managed to keep their roster intact during the off-season, and should be posed for another run at the Grey Cup.
Let’s take a closer look at the Calgary Stampeders:
In the offseason, the Stamps focused on securing their own players rather than bringing in new talent.
The Stamps managed secure some key players.
The team finally reached a deal with star quarterback Henry Burris and slot back Nik Lewis, securing two of the teams veteran leaders.
Punter Burt Dales, return man Markus Howell and defensive players Dwaine Carpenter and shut down corner Brandon Carpenter.
Calgary did bring in some players as well in the offseason. The team brought in quarterbacks Drew Tate, who had been floating around Saskatchewan’s practice roster, and quarterback Matt D’Orazio from the Arena Football League,
The team also added a pair of receivers, Titus Ryan, Vincent Marshall and Cedric Thompson and Derrick Watson.
In the Canadian Draft, the Stampeder’s didn’t have a lot of picks but ended up one of the winners of the draft.
The team added solid linebacker Tristan Black, offensive lineman Steve Myddelton, coveted slot back Scott McHenry and defensive end Osie Ukwuoma in later rounds.
When all was said and done, the Stamps retained their core players and their coaching staff.
The Stamps weren’t flawless in their Grey Cup run last season and they won’t be this season.
In last nights preseason game, Henry Burris looked rusty and it my take him some time to adjust to the offense again.
The main concern surrounding the Stampeders is their defense is their defense.
Mike Labinjo should be solid once again wherever he lines up in the front seven, but the rest of the front seven is questionable.
Calgary’s secondary has improved but has been prone to giving up the big play.
If Calgary’s defense struggles it will put that much more pressure on their offense.
And of course, will Calgary have the desire to repeat as the defending Grey Cup Champions?
It hasn’t happened in a while.
With head coach John Hufnagel, offensive coordinator George Cortez and coach Dave Dickenson, Calgary has developed a very solid football core.
Just by watching them in preseason it is apparent that they have been working on a lot during the offseason.
If Joffrey Reynolds experiences any kind of a drop off this season the team should have their replacement in Derrick Watson. Watson is a tough as nail, downhill runner.
Henry Burris should once again have all of the tools he needs to run the offense and the defense should be decent.
Calgary cruised to the top of the West last season and they may well again this year.
But of course, as with any defending champion, whether or not Calgary has the desire to repeat as Grey Cup Champions.
Defending Grey Cup Champions, that still has to sound good for a Stampeders fan.
My Prediction: 12 wins, a first place finish and a home playoff game.
Outstanding Player of the Year: Henry Burris
Defensive Player of the Year:Mike Labinjo
Canadian of the Year:Rob Lazeo
Lineman of the Year: Jesse Newman
Special Teams Player of the Year:Sandro Deangellis
Rookie of the Year: Tristan Black
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report next week for my final thoughts on the season to come. During the season I will be writing two articles a week on the CFL.