Blue Bomber Report Record: 4–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stamps backing up his boast

Esks slotback has by far been the best at his position in '11

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They both claim to be the best in the league at their position, but the key difference between Toronto Argonauts running back Cory Boyd and Edmonton Eskimos slotback Fred Stamps is that the latter is actually proving it this season.

Boyd, Bombers fans will recall, caused a bit of a stir when he proclaimed himself the best running back in the league, notwithstanding the fact he lost last year's rushing title to Bombers running back Fred Reid. Neither Reid or his Bombers teammates took kindly to Boyd's tough talk and the Bombers defence showed that displeasure in a decisive performance in Week 2 at Canad Inns Stadium, holding Boyd to an embarrassing seven yards rushing that night.

 

Since that night, Boyd has been in and out of the Toronto lineup and heads into Week 6 11th in CFL rushing with just 114 yards on 24 carries.

All of which is the background for the arrival in Winnipeg this week of Stamps, who boldly proclaimed at the start of this season that he felt he was the best slotback in the CFL.

That title was regarded by some to be the most recent domain of Bombers receiver Terrence Edwards, a two-time CFL all-star and Winnipeg's Most Outstanding Player nominee last season,

But that is where the similarities in the Boyd and Stamps scripts end. Because unlike Boyd, Stamps has made a watertight case, thus far, at least, that he is exactly what he claimed to be -- the best slotback in Canada.

Consider: Stamps is currently leading the league in receiving (30 catches, 578 yards, 19.3-yard avg.) and yards from scrimmage (576); and his five TDs are tied for the league-lead and represent just two less than the seven TDs the entire Bombers offence combined has mustered through the air this season.

Dude is walking that talk, in other words, heading into tonight's game at Canad Inns Stadium versus the leading pass defence in the CFL.

And there's the interesting subplot tonight: Stamps will be facing a Winnipeg defence that has yielded the fewest passing yards this season while simultaneously registering the greatest number of sacks, by far.

And Stamps will also be facing a Bombers club against whom he has performed poorly prior to this season, catching nine passes for just 85 yards through four previous games between the Esks and Bombers.

Old news, Stamps said Thursday, pointing out that the man who oversaw that Bombers defence last season -- Kavis Reed -- is now the head coach in Edmonton. "The last few years, we (didn't) have coach Kavis," said Stamps. "He was a mastermind with the playcalling and whatever. But he's our coach now."

Stamps tipped his helmet to the Bombers defence and pointed out the stingy pass defence in Winnipeg begins long before the ball ever finds its way into the secondary.

"It all starts up front with the defensive line," he said. "You bring pressure to the quarterback, it's more easy to cover the receiver with the DBs.

"But the DBs are real good..."

The DB Stamps will see most of tonight will be Bombers halfback Jonathan Hefney, who will be given the unenviable task of covering a man no one has been able to shut down successfully this season.

Hefney said he'll welcome the challenge. "Hopefully -- you always want the challenge to stop the best receiver," Hefney said. "Whatever happens -- if he comes my way, I will try to stop him... But we feel like we got great DBs. All our DBs can check off any person on the field."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 5, 2011 C2

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