May 10, 2024

One Question for 2024: What will Jake Maier give the Stamps?

Jamie Douglas/

As the 2024 season approaches, each team has a question that looms over it that will shape its season. asked players across the league about that question. Our series continues with the Calgary Stampeders, who wait to see what Year 2 of Jake Maier‘s starting QB tenure will look like. 

CALGARY — In 2022 it might have seemed like Jake Maier had taken care of the hard part.

The new kid on the quarterbacking block, he did what many would have said was unthinkable at the start of that season, supplanting Bo Levi Mitchell as the team’s starter and earning himself a contract extension.

What comes after that, though, can be where the degree of difficulty increases. There’s a unique pressure and experience that comes from being the top pivot on the depth chart when camps open. Defensive coordinators around the league can devote their respective existences to taking away what you’re good at, what comes easily to you. If you make it through all 18 games of a season, like Maier did last year, you’ll see and feel every single high and low that comes with being the face of the franchise.

That first year as the full-time starter can be a hurdle all on its own.

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“Win or lose. If you’re in the losing column the quarterback gets the blame; if you’re in the winning column the quarterback gets the glory,” Stampeders’ star receiver Reggie Begelton told at the league’s content capture last month in Hamilton.

Begelton was a bright spot in an uncharacteristically dim Stampeders’ season that saw the club go 6-12 and squeak into the playoffs, only to get brushed aside in the Western Semi-Final by the BC Lions. His 1,119 receiving yards marked the second time in his six-year career that he’s gone over 1,000. While Maier endured his ups and downs — as did the rest of an injury-riddled Stamps roster in 2023 — the two clearly had a chemistry.

One of the goals that the team has going into 2024, he said, was to be adaptable and open to communication.

“Jake has come to me pretty often to try and figure this out because I am one of the veterans. This year our goal is to make majority of the team just transparent, just free to speak without emotions being involved,” he said.

“I mean, this is an emotional game but at the same time you know everything is from the heart. That’s the biggest (message) that we’re trying to get through this year.”

It’s something they made strides on late in the season when they won two of their last three games to extend the franchise’s consecutive playoff appearance streak to 18 seasons.

Maier was third in passing yards last year, at 4,244, and led the league with 363 completions and 578 attempts. His 62.8 completion percentage and 85.2 efficiency rating were in the bottom half amongst starting QBs, though, and his 19 touchdowns thrown were dampened by his 15 interceptions. The Stamps’ 33 offensive touchdowns marked the second-lowest total in the CFL last year.

Begelton is quick to add that a big part of his team’s 2023 troubles came from a glut of injuries to the receiving corps. Malik Henry only played three games before he was injured, taking the 1,000-yard receiver out of the mix early. Rookie Clark Barnes had his promising season cut short nine games in. Jalen Philpot didn’t get to set foot on the field for his sophomore season. Not one Stamps’ receiver played a full 18 games in 2023.


“A lot of people can see that we were decimated by injuries last year,” Begelton said. “In the games that we did lose, we didn’t really lose by that much. We had that one game in BC where we got our tails beat, but other than that we really didn’t just get stomped. To say that we had that many injuries, it’s pretty scary.

“You have to give yourself grace. Not every year is the same. You have some years where…you come out super healthy and you’re the team that that runs through everybody. And it’s some years you get decimated (by injuries). That’s why when you’re in those winning years you express gratitude and you have that urgency because you don’t know what next year is going to be like.”

The Stamps were the team to beat in the CFL through the last decade, going 132-46-2 from 2010-2019. Posting their worst record since the 2002 season and putting their playoff appearance streak in jeopardy was humbling, to say the least, but Begelton saw potential for growth this year, based on their late-season push. That and some healthy players injected back into the roster should make this Stamps team a different one this year.

“That’s the thing that we’re really personally all excited about is who can we be when we have all those guys on the field and playing at their best, right?” he said.

“Just think about it. Jalen, you have Clark and Malik. All those guys, any time the ball is in their hands — and we’re going to get it in their hands — they’re probably scoring. Just think about having all those guys on the field, it’s exciting. I don’t care about being the guy that has the highlight reel scoring and everything. As long as I can keep us on the field and move the chains, they can do all of that,” he laughed. “I know my role.”

While his contributions will be on offence, Begelton likes the addition of Demerio Houston to the backfield and what the linebacker tandem of Micah Awe and Cameron Judge bring to lead the Stamps’ defence.

“I think our defence is going to be really, really, really good this year,” he said. “We got some veteran leadership that’s on that side of the ball that’s going to win us some games and defence wins championships. That’s what makes me excited, is the fact that that if side of the ball is solid, then we’ve got a shot.”

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