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They say ‘Defence wins championships’ – so is this Calgary’s year?

As the 2017 CFL season was about to get underway there was a clear favourite, with odds-makers having the Calgary Stampeders at 3-1 to win it all. ( Hardly surprising perhaps when Last year Calgary went a CFL best 15-2-1, had the coach of the year (first year coach Dave Dickenson) and player of the year (QB Bo Levi Mitchell), and in fact the Stamps have not experienced a losing season since 2007 garnering an incredible 117-43-2 regular season record over that period.

Despite all that success however, there remains a question mark. For all of their regular season dominance, Calgary were upset in the Grey Cup final by Ottawa last year. Further to that during their almost decade long period of regular season success they have won only two championships, been beaten in two finals and lost in the playoffs on five other occasions.

Right now they are having another great regular season, sitting at 8-1-1 after ten games and looking for all the world like the team to beat. Until and if they win it all in the playoffs though the doubts will remain. With that in mind Stampeders fans will be looking for any reason to be positive and if the old adage that defence wins championships holds any truth at all then they certainly have reason for optimism.

Holding the visiting Edmonton team to only 18 points in a big Labour Day victory at home this past Monday was just the latest in a line of good performances.  This year’s vintage of the Stampeders defence seems to be getting stronger as the season progresses. Through the last two games, that defence has allowed only 25 points, going seven quarters without conceding a touchdown until the fourth quarter against the Esks.

Defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks can certainly be happy with the success of his charges so far. After ten games the team have allowed a league low 187 points (including points not given up by the D). To give some idea of how good they have been, that points total is 40 points less than allowed by Saskatchewan who have the next best points allowed total at 227 points. To emphasise it even more the Roughriders have played one game less on their way to allowing those points.

Speaking about the recent surge for the D “It felt like they found their groove,”  Head coach Dave Dickenson is quoted as saying over on adding, “Our defensive line is creating pressure, our linebackers are stopping the run and our defensive backs are knocking balls down.” There doesn’t seem like much else a coach could want their defensive unit to do!

If the D really is the key to winning championships then Calgary fans will feel confident with the unit they’ve got and if their defence continues to play this well and their O can really click then the Stamps will have as good a chance as anyone and their pre-season odds will have been more than justified.



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