Toronto Argonauts: Scouting the Calgary Stampeders

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 27: Bo Levi Mitchell
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 27: Bo Levi Mitchell /

The Calgary Stampeders will look to avenge their Grey Cup loss from last season which makes them a difficult opponent for the Toronto Argonauts.

The Toronto Argonauts road to winning the Grey Cup is almost over but one major road block is in their way and that is the Calgary Stampeders.

There are only two teams the Argos did not win a game against during the regular season. One was the Saskatchewan Roughriders who Toronto finally beat in the East Final, the other team is the Stampeders.

Unfortunately for the Argos, they were outscored in both games 64-31 against the Stampeders so it will take their best game to beat the team with the best record in the league.

Before talking about the top ranked defence, let’s take a look at what makes this Calgary offence a tough challenge for the Argos defence on Sunday.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell finished third in passing with 4700 yards and sixth in touchdowns with 23. The Stampeders did not have a receiver go over 1000-yards receiving, rather they used a more balanced attack led by Marquay McDaniel who had 65 receptions for 860 yards.

Their most dangerous options could arguably be their running back Jerome Messam and kick returner Roy Finch. Messam had 1016 yards rushing with nine touchdowns and 33 receptions for 183 yards.

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Finch was the most explosive player on special teams with 1,200 return yards on punts with three touchdowns including one for a 103-yard touchdown that came against the Argos back in August. He has also been used at times offensively with 21 carries for 114 yards and 28 receptions for 133 yards.

The key to limiting the Calgary offence will be to limit Finch on special teams because this Calgary offence will capitalize on good starting field position. In the West Final, Mitchell found 10 different receivers so the defence will be busy trying to shutdown the many weapons the Stampeders will throw at them.

Getting pressure on the quarterback and limiting the running game will be vital for the Argos defence because the longer that offence stays on the field, the harder it will be for the Toronto defence to keep them in check.

Now onto Calgary defence which actually has better weapons than their offence and their mission will be to make life miserable for Ricky Ray. They tied the Argos for the most sacks in the league with 50, allowed the fewest touchdowns,the fewest first downs and surrendered the fewest yards.

To say that beating the Stampeders defence will be a challenge but the Argos offence will not be the same one that played against them early on in the season. Their breakout rookie running back James Wilder Jr. will make life easier for Ray in both the passing and rushing game.

What makes Wilder Jr. tough to stop is his frame and physicality averaging 7.1 yards per carry and 467 of his 533 yards receiving came after the catch. If the Argos can get him going and create some mismatches against the Stampeders’ linebackers, they should be able to keep up against.

If Ray is unable to get the ball out quick and avoid the turnovers that could have been costly in the East Final, the Argos will have a tough time against Calgary.

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What makes the Stampeders a tough team to play against and do the Argos have a chance against their defence? Let us know in the comments.