STAMPS NOTES: Don Jackson won't be rushed back
REGINA — Dave Dickenson doesn’t want Don Jackson rushing back.
There are injuries you can fight through, but not concussions.
On Friday, the Calgary Stampeders placed their running back on the six-game injured list because of a concussion he suffered in the team’s game last week against the B.C. Lions.
“I hope he’s doing better, but these are not injuries you tough your way through,” Dickenson said. “To me, when he’s ready, get another week and then come back. But certainly concussions, six games are the best way to handle them.”
Jackson is just the latest on a long list of Stampeders players who have been sidelined by injuries this year, and it’s a situation that seems to grown more dire by the day.
His absence on Saturday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders might mean the Stamps go with a tandem of Ka’Deem Carey and Terry Williams at running back, although Dickenson made it sound Friday like that was not guaranteed.
“We’re still fighting on the roster,” Dickenson said. “We’ve got a little bit of issues in different places so I’m not going to lock in the running back position.”
It’s not exactly a surprise that the state of the Stamps roster is in flux only 24 hours before Saturday’s game.
The position chart the Stamps released Friday had six everyday starters removed from the squad that took on the Lions last week, including QB Bo Levi Mitchell, Canadian receivers Hergy Mayala and Juwan Bresscacin, defensive end Ivan McLennan and veteran DB Brandon Smith.
“There’s a lot of new faces, for sure,” said receiver Eric Rogers. “It’s tough, but last year we won the Grey Cup with a makeshift receiving corps on a crappy field, we’ve got to go out there and play and try to get a W.”
While the Stamps are putting on a brave face and insisting their expectations remain the same, there’s no use pretending that the crowded sick bay hasn’t made life more difficult than normal so early in the season.
Of the 24 players who started on offence and defence in last year’s Grey Cup, only eight will be starting in the same positions against the Riders.
The defensive backs group and the defensive line have only two starters each from last year’s championship team, and that’s obviously not ideal.
“It’s fine to play with young guys when they keep playing together and they keep learning and growing together, but right now we’re in Week 3 and we can’t seem to find that continuity in the back-end or up front,” Dickenson said. “It’s early, we want to be better, we want to mature, we want to make sure we come out and play well.”
If anyone needed proof that Micah Johnson is serious when he speaks about remaining close with his former Stampeders teammates, look no further than his answer when he was asked about Junior Turner’s season-ending injury.
The 30-year-old Turner suffered a knee injury in Week 1 and is not expected to return this year.
Seeing his friend and teammate on the Stampeders defensive line for six seasons suffering has clearly affected Johnson.
“I almost cried. Junior hit me up and I had to hold back tears, I felt sick for him,” Johnson said. “I mean, at his age and I think the biggest thing with Junior is we talk so much in the off-season so I’m hearing how much work he’s putting in. He’s showing me these workouts, I’m telling him mine, we’re sharing these things with each other and he’s such a hard worker. I think that’s one of the big things, you have those guys who do all the things the right way. They diet, they get the massages, Junior checks every box every day, it hurts to see injuries like that.”
Johnson, for the record, expects Turner to get back to the football field at some point.
“We had that conversation, I talked to him in June and said ‘I know it’s hard, I know it’s dark right now but soon you’ve got to make that decision that you’re going to come back and you want to come back and just tunnel-in from there’, “ Johnson said. “He’s made that decision and is already grinding. He’s a strong guy but I hate that.”
Considering that the Stamps and Riders boast one of the most heated rivalries in the CFL, there really wasn’t much trash talk this week.
According to Riders running back William Powell, there’s a reason for that.
Despite all the turnover around McMahon Stadium, a decade of dominance from the Stampeders is not something you just ignore because there are new faces in the lineup.
“Calgary’s always going to come to play, they’re always going to have a great game plan for you,” Powell said. “They’re the defending champs and until somebody eliminates that and takes their thrown, they’re still the champs.”
There seems to be no concern about Nick Arbuckle’s ability to perform at quarterback for the Stampeders. It probably won’t be the same as having Mitchell in there, but the Stamps seem genuinely confident in their backup … Arbuckle, by the way, said it’s has been at least four years since he started a game … If you’re ever at the Hotel Saskatchewan at 5 p.m., they give you a free shot of whiskey … All eyes are going to be on Solomon Elimimian. It’s been a while since the Riders linebacker played while at 100%, and he could be a transformative force for an already scary Saskatchewan defence.