So what's next for the Calgary Stampeders?
Their Week 15 loss to the BC Lions saw them once again fall short of first place, ultimately making their climb to the top even steeper. Now, the Stamps are left two games behind the Lions, with the defending champs holding the all-important tie-breaker.
Simply put, the Stamps are in tough.
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The goal now for the Calgary Stampeders should be to get all the parts in order for their playoff drive.
At the head of that list of parts, is trying to get some stability in the lineup. Injuries have forced a constant shifting of the lineup. In fact, the Stampeders have five defensive linemen on the nine-game injured list.
To help shore up the line, the team has resurrected veteran Anwar Stewart. Stewart had a long, successful tenure with Montreal, however, his Canadian Football League career actually began in Calgary.
He was part of the 2001 Calgary Grey Cup championship team. Then, in a rare misstep by then-GM/Coach Wally Buono, Stewart was released just prior to the 2002 season.
He went on to spend the next 10 seasons in Montreal, being named Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2004.
Stewart’s presence will help stabilize the line. The team imported veteran Steve Baggs to fill that role, but he has been battling injuries ever since he arrived. The team realized they couldn’t wait any longer for Bagg’s health to improve.
Eventually he may see the field but the Stampeders need help now.
More importantly, however, is the question of what the Stamps should do at quarterback.
Kevin Glenn will start this week in Winnipeg and almost certainly next week against Hamilton. He has proven to be very effective for the club since taking over as the full-time starter, July 12 in Montreal.
Truthfully, without his steady hand it is hard to imagine the Stampeders being in their current position in the standings.
However, there is the looming specter of Drew Tate returning to action. Tate has dressed in the last couple of games and is ahead of schedule is his rehabilitation following shoulder surgery.
Even if he is given clearance to play, do the Stamps bring Tate back at this late stage of the season? That will be a tough call for Stampeders GM and Head Coach John Hufnagel.
The Stampeders will also work on keeping Saskatchewan behind them in the standings. After going on the road for the playoffs in 2011, the team is eager to have a home playoff date.
The Stampeders and Roughriders enter this weekend tied in the standings, but the Stampeders hold the tie-break, having defeated Saskatchewan twice this year. The teams have no remaining regular season meetings.
Each team, however, does have two remaining home games and two road contests in their final four outings. The Stampeders will travel to Winnipeg, and then play at home against Hamilton and B. C. before concluding their regular season in Edmonton.
Saskatchewan will head to Edmonton, play home against Montreal and Toronto before wrapping up the year in Vancouver.
Mark Stephen is Sports Director of CHQR Radio in Calgary and has broadcast Calgary Stampeder games since 1996. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkonFootball.
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