Previously on The Days Of Our Stampeders, Drew Tate was facing concussion questions despite passing tests, Nik Lewis was writing O.J. Simpson-referencing tweets and getting fined for it (when he wasn't delivering bulletin-board material for their opponents), and the team was banning its players from Twitter. Now, we have the weirdest twist of any so far. Tate is going to miss Sunday's West Final (and the Grey Cup if the Stampeders advance to it), but thanks to a just-diagnosed fractured right wrist (on his throwing arm), not any concerns about his head. It's unusual to see this caught this late in the week, but it's good for Tate's health that it was caught. However, this game was always going to be tough for the Stampeders to win, and it gets even more difficult without their top-choice quarterback.
Of course, the Stampeders are perhaps better-positioned to survive the loss of their starting quarterback than any other team in the CFL. For most teams, this would be a crisis. For Calgary, the next man up is Kevin Glenn, who not only has countless experience as a starter, but filled that role for the Stampeders for most of this season following Tate's Week 2 dislocated left shoulder. Glenn did very well in that job, too, posting a career-high completion percentage (66.7 per cent) and throwing for 4,220 yards (fourth-best in the league) with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. In fact, before the West semifinal against Saskatchewan last week, many argued that Glenn should be starting, not Tate. From this corner, the pick to go with Tate was the right one given his higher upside, and he played brilliantly against the Riders, but there was a legitimate debate between the two. Thus, Glenn is more of an Option 1A than a pure backup, and that's certainly positive for Calgary.
Still, this just adds to the turmoil the Stampeders have faced this week, and that's never a good thing. Moreover, Glenn now has only a short week to prepare for being the starter again, and the team's receivers will have to readjust to his style after getting used to Tate again. Calgary would probably like to go run-heavy this weekend to take the pressure off Glenn, and they do have the league's top rusher (and this past week's top offensive player) in Jon Cornish, but they're facing a B.C. defence that allowed a league-low 76.4 rushing yards per game this season and a league-low 89 rushing first downs. Things won't be easy for Glenn when the Stampeders take to the air, either; the Lions also allowed just 184 passing first downs, 7.5 yards per opposing pass, and 237.3 passing yards per game, all league-lows.
Perhaps most difficult for Glenn, he and his teammates are heading right into the Lions' den. They're on the road in a hostile B.C. Place, which is likely to have over 40,000 (and perhaps even 50,000) Lions' fans screaming their lungs out whenever Calgary's on offence. That's not going to make this an easy situation at all for Glenn and the Stampeders. Throw in that B.C. was a league-best 13-5 in the regular season this year and 8-1 at home, and things get even tougher. Tate's loss will hurt the Stampeders, but Glenn is a great second option to have, and it's perfectly appropriate that he gets to come off the bench in the playoffs thanks to a left-arm injury to the starter, as a broken left arm sustained in the 2007 East Final prevented him from playing in that Grey Cup. Glenn's now getting his chance to avenge that old injury. The question is if he'll be able to do so in an extremely difficult matchup.
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