STAMPEDERS NOTES: Marcus Ball joining practice roster
The Calgary Stampeders are getting some big-name linebacker help.
On Tuesday morning, TSN’s Matthew Scianitti reported that veteran Marcus Ball was on his way to Calgary to sign a contract with the Stampeders.
Shortly thereafter, Postmedia was able to confirm that Ball would be joining the Stamps practice roster and will be at Thursday’s practice.
“He’s going to be here,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said after practice. “We’re trying to find a little depth, trying to get a little spark. I’ve been a fan of his. So come in, start him out learning on the practice roster and hopefully he’s the guy we remember and if he gets on the field and produces, that’ll help us.”
The Stampeders are light on depth at linebacker right now, especially with Cory Greenwood fighting a back issue. It’s unclear how long the team’s starting middle linebacker will be out, and in fact it’s entirely possible that he could be back quite soon.
But his absence in the Stamps’ last game, against the Toronto Argonauts, forced a ratio change when the Stamps had to play three Canadian offensive linemen because their two starting linebackers – Nate Holley and Wynton McManis – were both American.
Greenwood is currently on the one-game injured list and was scheduled to go for further testing on his back on Tuesday, while Dwayne Norman is also on the one-game with a concussion and Eric Mezzalira is nearing a potential return from the six-game list.
In Ball, though, the Stampeders are getting a veteran with proven experience at both the CFL and NFL level.
The 32-year-old began his career with the Argonauts in 2012 and spent two years with the Boatmen before going south of the border for a three-year stint in the NFL that included stops with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers.
Ball then returned to the CFL in for two more seasons with the Argos, winning the Grey Cup in 2017 and being named a CFL East Division All-Star that same year.
In total, Ball has 238 defensive tackles, seven sacks and seven interceptions in 56 career games.
“We’re light at linebacker,” Dickenson said. “We’re hoping Dwayne, obviously, coming back from his concussion is fresh and healthy, as well. We just felt we needed good football players and Marcus has had a lot of success in the league.”
COULD BE BACK
Richard Sindani could return to the lineup this weekend when the Stampeders take on the Montreal Alouettes.
The Canadian receiver has been out of the lineup since the Labour Day Classic because of an injured shoulder, but has been participating in practice this week.
“I’d be surprised if Richie isn’t available,” Dickenson said. “Right now, we’ve got good depth at Canadian receiver. Colton (Hunchak) has stepped up, as well, and we’ve been good with (Hergy Mayala and Michael Klukas) all year.”
With 250 receiving yards, Sindani currently leads all of the Canadian receivers on the Stampeders roster.
David Brown was walking with crutches at Tuesday’s practice.
It might not have been something that would instantly jump out at most people as a big deal, but if Brown is unavailable it could have a big impact on how the Stamps line up.
Greenwood’s injury forced the Stamps to play with three Canadian starters on the offensive line last game, and that’s likely how they were planning on lining up against the Alouettes, as well.
Brown, who is Canadian, was tasked with being the backup.
If he’s unavailable, there’s no obvious Canadian backup available, and that might mean the Stamps have to go back to playing with three Americans on the o-line.
“(Brown) got a little tweak in his knee,” Dickenson said. “If he can’t get back out here we’ll have to look at bringing on another guy in that (sixth o-line role).”
If Brown is unavailable, the Stamps could revert back to the lineup they’ve gone with for most of the season and bring American Nila Kasitati back into the starting group at right tackle.
Starting tomorrow, there’s going to be a lot of talk about the pre-game fight that broke out last time the Stamps and Alouettes played. The coaching staff is very clear that nothing similar will happen again, but everybody around the Stampeders team expects Saturday’s game in Montreal to be tense … Reggie Begelton does not appear any worse-for-wear after missing the Stamps’ last game. Expect him to be central to everything the offence does against the Als … No, seriously, the Stampeders do not like the Alouettes.