WINNIPEG — Week 4 of CFL action will come to a close on Sunday night with the Calgary Stampeders travelling to IG Field to take on their Western rivals, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Stampeders will be looking to build on the impressive Week 3 debut of rookie quarterback Jake Maier, whose gutty performance helped to secure a 28-22 victory over the Montreal Alouettes.
Despite a rough start from the rookie, Maier wasn’t easily rattled, which earned him high praise from veteran offensive linemen Ucambre Williams.
“Great poise, even with the mistakes he was still back there gunslinging,” Williams told Stampeders.com.
“He got hit a couple times and still got back up. I enjoy that as an offensive lineman. You want to protect the guy, but when he gets back up when you make a mistake that gives you confidence.”
Maier struggled throwing the ball in the first quarter, completing just two passes on six attempts, while throwing two interceptions. However, through the remaining three quarters Maier showed that he has the talent necessary to be a CFL quarterback, throwing the ball 23 times and completing 14 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown.
This week, against an aggressive Winnipeg defensive unit, the young pivot knows he will need to stay in the moment and not let his emotions take over.
“I believe a quarterback should be even keeled and not get rattled by anything,” Maier told Stampeders.com.
“I think that rubs off on your teammates when you’re playing in big game or a hostile environment.”
While Maier’s first start was impressive and has generated headlines across the league, the recent play of the Calgary offence shouldn’t go without mention.
Headlined by the electric play of Josh Huff and Markeith Ambles the Stamps have been able to build an impressive passing attack. The Red and White have accumulated 846 air yards and are averaging 8.3 yards per reception, making them one of the most efficient passing offences through the first three weeks of league action.
Ambles and Huff have combined for 409 yards on 24 receptions for Calgary and are one of the best receiving tandems in the league, second only to the BC Lions duo of Lucky Whitehead and Bryan Burnham.
Despite the aggressive nature of the Winnipeg defence, they have struggled defending the run, surrendering a league-high 327 rush yards and three rushing touchdowns.
The Stamps will certainly be looking to Ka’Deem Carey to contribute on the ground in their matchup against the Bombers. Carey has totaled 185 rush yards through his first three games, including a two-touchdown performance against Montreal in Week 3.
The Bombers enter their Week 4 matchup coming off a 30-23 loss to the Toronto Argonauts, a rare occurrence for the defending Grey Cup champs. Their last loss in the CFL regular season was 672 days ago, where they fell 37-33 in Week 19 to Calgary.
As they prepare for the Stamps this time around, they will be preparing for a rookie quarterback. That’s something that veteran defensive linemen, Jackson Jeffcoat knows the Bombers’ front seven will need to take advantage of.
“He seems to be pretty confident back there in the pocket throwing the ball,” Jeffcoat said of Maier, through bluebombers.com. “As a young guy, we’re going to have to rattle him, not let him sit back there and be comfortable.”