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Calgary Stampedes aim to return to Canadian Football League glory in 2024 – Calgary | Globalnews.ca Breaking News | Latest News Today

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this Calgary Stampeders Need to make progress on both offense and defense to return Energy-saving lamps Upper echelon.

In 2023, a 2-5 start and five losses by three points or fewer led to a 6-12 record for Dave Dickenson in his first season in the dual roles of general manager and coach.

Calgary Stampedes head coach Dave Dickenson (center right) speaks with players during the opening day of training camp on Sunday, May 12, 2024 in Calgary, Alberta.


The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh


Calgary’s worst record in nearly two decades was still good enough to win the Turtle Derby for third in the Western Conference and the final playoff spot, but a team that has been winning a dozen games each season still needs work to get back among the league’s elite.

“I don’t think we’re that far off from last year, but we just can’t seem to win tight games. We’re not playing to the level we should when we need it most,” Dickenson said.

Calgary opens the 2024 season at home on Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Beau Levi Mitchell returns to McMahon Stadium for the first time since the Stampeders traded his rights to Hamilton in 2022.

The Canadian Football League (CFL) schedule does not schedule a visit for the Tiger-Cats to Calgary in 2023, even though the oft-injured Mitchell started just six games for his new team last season.

The Stampeders swapped Mitchell for Jack Meyer midway through 2022. Meyer had a mixed first season as a starter, completing a league-leading 363 passes but also throwing 15 interceptions.

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Calgary ranks last in the league in touchdowns (36) and average offensive yards (335.5).

Inviting veteran center Matt Shiltz to camp suggests the Stampeders won’t be as patient with the 27-year-old Meyer in 2024, though Dickinson said Meyer deserves more support at other positions.

“I do think it’s wins in the trenches first, and then there are interceptions or big turnovers in the run and pass game,” Dickenson said. “The turnovers are usually caused by pressure on the quarterback.

“If the quarterback is comfortable out there, he’s not going to make as many mistakes, so for me, turnover rate is the most important thing. We were pretty good. It’s not like we were terrible.

“It’s about the trenches, the offensive line, the defensive line, making the other quarterback uncomfortable and stopping the other running attack when necessary. We didn’t stop the other running attack in the fourth quarter and vice versa, we have to protect the other quarterback and the jack.”

Running back Dedrick Mills rushed for more than 800 yards in 15 games in 2023, and he and Peyton Logan could make up for the loss of star player Ka’Deem Carey, who left to the Toronto Argonauts in the offseason.

Reggie Begelton and Marken Michell are effective defenders, and Jalen Philpot, who missed all of last season due to injury, is now healthy and ready to bolster the position.

However, Calgary lacks depth and experience at wide receiver. 2022 1,000-yarder Malik Henry suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp.




Stampede receiver Malik Henry suffers season-ending injury again, raising turf issues


The Stampeders have the tools to defend the run and the pass. Forcing opponents into more turnovers is one of Dickinson’s key messages in 2024.

Sack specialist James Vaughters, whose 2023 season ended after just six games due to an arm injury, is back in the top four.

CFL tackles leader Micah Awe and Cam Judge are two of the top linebackers in the CFL. Tre Roberson and Demerio Houston were Calgary’s biggest offseason signings, guarding the backfield corners that will make opposing quarterbacks think twice on long passes.

Health and luck appear to be in short supply in 2023, but that could help the Stampeders return to their former glory.

“If we can really get a complete team together or get close to that — because football isn’t perfect, sometimes we’ll have guys in and out — but if we can keep that core of guys stable and build some continuity and play multiple games in a row and all those traits that most of the best teams have, we’ll be tough,” Meyer said.

2023 Records

6 wins and 12 losses, third place in the Western Conference, lost to the BC Lions 30-41 in the conference semifinals.

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The Cowboys have reached the Canadian Football League playoffs for 18 consecutive seasons, the longest active playoff streak and the fourth-most in history.

Key additions: QB Matt Shiltz, DB Demerio Houston, OL Trevon Tate, LB Micah Teitz.

Key losses: RB Ka’Deem Carey (Toronto), DL Derek Wiggan (Montreal), DL Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (Montreal), WR Luther Hakunavanhu (Hamilton), OL Ryan Sceviour (Saskatchewan)

Players to watch: Quarterback Jake Maier, running back Derek Mills, defensive back Demerio Houston, linebacker Micah Awe.

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