OFFENCE BEST DEFENCE
CALGARY -- Calgary Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson thinks he might have an idea about what's wrong with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence this year -- the Bombers offence.
"I see (the defence) are on the field way too much. They're not getting any help, really," Dickenson said at McMahon Stadium Thursday morning as the Stamps held one final light practice in advance of tonight's CFL contest against the Bombers.
"They're still a good front, good speed, I think their DBs are some of the best in the league. So I don't think anything's changed, except they won every close game last year and now this year they're losing them. And confidence obviously can be something you can gain. And maybe it's not as high as when they had their 'swagger.'
"But I do think they're still a very good and a team that can beat any team in our league in any week."
The Bombers defence, which led the CFL in most major categories in 2011, has given up more touchdowns through the air than any other team in the league and is ahead of only the woeful Hamilton defence in a bunch of other categories, including points given up, yards passing and total yards.
The Stampeders are 6-4 and have been anointed 10-point favourites over the 2-8 Bombers, even though they'll be without star returner Larry Taylor and receivers Romby Bryant and Arjei Franklin.
The 46-man Bombers roster released Thursday was exactly as coach Tim Burke described earlier in the week, with both non-import running back Carl Volny and defensive back Johnny Sears back on.
PERKS PLEASE KHAN
Former Bombers offensive lineman Obby Khan -- who the Stampeders brought out of retirement last month after the Bombers chose not to bring him back for another year -- shared some thoughts on how life as a player for the Stampeders is different.
"As far as the organization goes, they do things quite a bit a differently here than Winnipeg," said Khan. "Being privately owned is a big part of that, as far as the treatment of the players, the food, the extra perks we get here. There's quite a bit of difference out here."
Khan was asked to clarify.
"I wouldn't say the Bombers are cheap. I just think there are two ways of running a business. They run the business very differently here than the Bombers ran it there...
"I think the overall atmosphere of the locker-room contributes a lot to what they do better here... I think simple things like getting you Gatorades after practice and getting you food every single morning and getting you food every single day after practice. I think those little things go a long way for the players."
Khan also said the Stampeders medical facility is vastly superior and better equipped, although he noted Winnipeg will likely catch up when the Bombers move into their new stadium next season.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Calgary receiver Nik Lewis had a playfully provocative answer when asked if he thought he would go over the 10,000-career-receiving-yards mark tonight.
"It's all going to be determined by how they play. Hopefully, they believe Jovon Johnson can guard me man-to-man and we'll get it done," said Lewis, who needs 77 yards to hit five figures. "And if not, then they'll double me and we'll see what happens... He's a great player. I hope he can cover me man-to-man."
Lewis made the comments with his tongue at least partly in cheek and Johnson took it the same way.
"How kind of him," said Johnson, laughing. "He's such a great guy. I love the guy. Great player -- and I look forward to the matchup."
-- Paul Wiecek