Ka'Deem Carey getting lots of looks ahead of Labour Day Classic
The timing was about as frustrating as these things get.
After three solid games in a Calgary Stampeders uniform, Ka’Deem Carey strolled into Ottawa for his team’s July 25 matchup with the Redblacks and took over the game.
Nine carries for 70 yards, as well as a seven-yard reception. All of it before halftime.
But right as it seemed like Carey was really going to formally introduce himself as the new terrifying rushing threat on the CFL block, it all ended when he badly twisted his ankle and was forced out of the game.
“It was very frustrating. Very,” Carey said Saturday. “It’s why I’m so excited to get out there and try to pick up where I left off.”
Carey might get that chance in Monday’s Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos.
For the first time all season, the Stampeders have three running backs healthy and ready to play. Terry Williams’ role as the Stamps’ primary kick returner means he’ll definitely be in the lineup, and that leaves Carey and Jackson competing for the starting running back job.
It’s a role Jackson has filled — often with great success — since the start of the 2018 season when he’s been healthy, but Carey took the majority of starter’s reps late in the practice week and appears like the frontrunner to be the Stamps’ starter when their roster is released on Sunday morning.
Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson wouldn’t commit to that on Saturday, but the number of reps Carey took at practice seemed to tell the story.
“We do think we’ve got, in our backfield, some healthy bodies now,” Dickenson said. “We’re moving in that direction to have options. We’ll just play it out.
“The thing with Ka’Deem is he’s produced every time he’s played. He had a little bit of an injury in camp and then obviously got hurt later on. Terry’s been our guy who’s stayed healthiest and has done a nice job.”
Earlier in the week, Dickenson had described Carey as the strongest runner in the Stampeders group, while he said Jackson was the best-rounded of the three and Williams was fastest.
There’s little doubt Carey’s got upside.
This is a guy, after all, who set school records with the University of Arizona Wildcats, running for 4,239 yards and 48 touchdowns in three seasons before getting drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
He played 37 games for the Bears over three seasons before being released in 2017.
It’s possible that Jackson and Carey are going to be competing for the starting job for the rest of the season. Certainly, nobody should be ruling out Jackson. He’s proven too much and been too effective for the Stampeders over the last season and a half to be out of the lineup for long.
With two games against the Eskimos in five days this week, it’s even possible that we’ll see both running backs play, with one getting the start in Calgary on Monday and the other in Edmonton on Saturday.
“Could be, but I’m not going to commit to that,” Dickenson said. “Whoever plays, if they play well and do their job and stay healthy, they’ll play again. But it’s good to have at least three bodies.”
If it is Carey who gets the start in the Labour Day Classic, his goal is simple: Keep building on what he did earlier in the season.
“Just feel myself and go out there and have fun,” Carey said.