We'll wrap up our 2021 CFL West Division team previews with a perennial Grey Cup contender in the Calgary Stampeders. Here's what you can expect from the Stamps this season.
The sky is the limit for Calgary after it went 12-6 and finished second in the West Division in the face of plenty of adversity in 2019. The Stamps were forced to go without QB Bo Levi Mitchell for an extended period and when he returned it was too little, too late as they fell to the eventual Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West semi-final.
Mitchell is back healthy and ready to guide an explosive, albeit new-look Stamps offense in 2021. There's reason for concern on the offensive line, which is nothing new in Calgary. With such a prized talent like Mitchell under center, the Stamps need the o-line to be better than just 'good enough' and certainly made a move to bolster that line with the acquisition of center Sean McEwen. As the anchor of the Argos o-line, McEwen played in all 18 games in each season from 2016-2019.
RB Ka'Deem Carey will be tasked with taking over the backfield duties from Don Jackson who was lost to free agency. Carey had gotten off to a fine start in 2019 before breaking his arm and missing the remainder of the season. There may not be a lot of household names, but the Stampeders wide receiving corps is brimming with talent. WR Markeith Ambles will make his long-awaited return to the fold after missing the entire 2019 season due to an undisclosed injury. SB Kamar Jorden also missed the bulk of the 2019 season due to an ACL tear but did return for the playoffs. Back in 2018 he racked up 944 receiving yards and caught 10 touchdown passes.
No fewer than three former Stampeders defensive starters have moved on to the NFL so there will be plenty of turnover on that side of the football entering 2021 as well. That's not to say the cupboard is bare, however - far from it, in fact. Calgary still boasts plenty of veteran talent led by the likes of SAM LB Jamar Wall, LB Cory Greenwood and DL Derek Wiggan. There are some question marks in the secondary but if the Stamps can apply as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as we think they can, that defensive backfield should hold up just fine.
Despite the roster shake-up, Calgary is being given the benefit of the doubt by most sportsbooks, currently priced around 6-1 to win the Grey Cup.