May 11, 2023

Five Things to Know: Calgary Stampeders

Matt Smith/

As the 2023 season approaches, is here to catch you up with the Five Things To Know series. Each article will look at key storylines facing each team this season, while examining off-season movement and where your team might stand in 2023. 

Not all that far off, really, were the Calgary Stampeders in 2022. A 12-6 record is pretty damn good, but when you have a 1-5 record against the teams that finished ahead of you, you know you have work to do.

However, the Stamps lost those five games to Winnipeg and BC by a total of 19 points, which says they were maybe not so distant from the top perch as they’d appeared to be.

The task at hand in 2023 is to try and close that gap, while keeping what ought to be improved teams in Saskatchewan and Edmonton in the rearview.

Here are five Stampeder things to consider as the 2023 season dawns.

Five Things To Know: Hamilton Tiger-Cats
» Five Things To Know: Edmonton Elks
» Five Things To Know: Saskatchewan Roughriders
» Five Things To Know: Montreal Alouettes
» Five Things To Know: BC Lions
» Five Things To Know: Ottawa REDBLACKS
» Subscribe to the CFL’s newsletter for exclusive offers and league updates
» Get Yours: Single-game tickets on sale now
» Play CFL Preseason Futures to win cash prizes


The Stampeders led the CFL in rushing yards in 2022, piling up 2,436 (135.3 per game) and giving us three running backs who each averaged more than six yards a carry. Led by number one RB Ka’Deem Carey (1,088 yards last season, 6.6 yards/carry), the Stampeders can also test a defence’s will by handing off to Peyton Logan (6.3 yards/carry) or Dedrick Mills (6.8), each of them able to use their particular set of skills to turn modest gains into big plays. They’ve also got a battering ram quarterback in Tommy Stevens to use in short yardage situations.

All of that weaponry means a lot even if you have merely a decent offensive line and the Stampeders have much more than that in a unit anchored by centre Sean McEwen, left tackle Derek Dennis and guards Zack Williams and Ryan Sceviour. Right tackle Julian Good-Jones will be missed, signing with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, but the Stamps have veterans ready to step in, like second-year man Hugh Thornton and the adaptable Bryce Bell.

Calgary also signed free agent right tackle Jamal Campbell, so there’s little doubt the line will be fine once again. The Stampeders won’t run the ball 40 times a game (They averaged 23 rushes per game in 2022) but boy oh boy would I love to see them try.


Considering that the Stampeders had already handed the keys to quarterback Jake Maier during the 2022 season, there was little to no shock felt when the team dealt two-time MOP Bo Levi Mitchell to the Hamilton Ticats last November. The intriguing thing here is that the Stamps previously had Bo on the sideline behind Maier as insurance and his presence meant it was not necessarily Jake’s team to lead and command even if he was the starter.

The Calgary Stampeders believe that Quarterback Jake Maier can lead the team in 2023 (Christian Bender/

That’s the newness in all of this in 2023 as Maier will be expected to grow into the leader the Stampeders believe he can be. The training wheels are off and we’ll see how right they are about that. Thing is, over the last, I don’t know, 30 years, the Stampeders have almost always been right about quarterback decisions.


The Stampeders have had an incredible succession of middle linebackers over the last decade and beyond; Juwan Simpson, Alex Singleton, Wynton McManis. And last season, Jameer Thurman shifted over from weak side to have a terrific season at MIKE for the Stamps. With Thurman moving on to the Hamilton Ticats in free agency, the Stamps will once again need to employ a new player at middle linebacker. All the men I’ve previously listed came in to the CFL as Stampeders, making their way to star status as linebackers from within the organization.

LB Micah Awe enters his seventh CFL season and first in Calgary (

This year, the Stamps’ went shopping for a replacement for Thurman in free agency. Veteran Micah Awe is tasked with fitting the bill and his CFL resume suggests he’s up to it, although the jury will remain sequestered until we see what he has at the position in the long haul. Awe is fast, smart and hits like a hammer, but many of his big plays have been made – for various teams – from the weak side position. Can he keep Calgary’s middle linebacker greatness beat going?


The Stamps lost a couple of primo pocket crushers in free agency with Shawn Lemon – the West nominee for Outstanding Defensive Player in 2022 – heading to BC and Folarin Orimolade signing with Toronto. However, the pain of those losses was offset with the signing of free agent defensive end Julian Howsare, who heads west this season from Hamilton after four strong seasons with the Ticats. In 2022, Howsare was named an East All-Star for the first time, totalling 30 tackles, seven sacks, and picking off two passes as well.

The Stampeders also signed defensive tackle James Vaughters this past off-season, back after spending the last four years in the NFL. Vaughters was a menace when we last saw him in a Calgary uniform, amassing 50 tackles and 11 sacks over two seasons.


Just imagine how things could have gone if Titus Wall hadn’t been injured in 2022. A foot injury kept the rookie SAM/DB out of Calgary’s line-up from the middle of August through the end of October but still, he finished the season with 39 tackles and two sacks in 10 games.

Despite missing nearly half the season, Wall still ranked among the league leaders in ‘big plays’ with six (three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery). If we get a whole season from Wall, what eye-popping numbers might we see in 2023?

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!