Stampeders preview: Key additions/subtractions, players to watch, biggest storylines of 2023 season
Coach: Dave Dickenson
GM: Dave Dickenson
2022 record: 12-6; lost Western Semi-Final to BC Lions
Opening game: June 8 vs. BC Lions
The 2023 season marks the start of a new era for the Calgary Stampeders as following a deal with the Tiger-Cats that sent the rights to two-time Grey Cup champion quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to Hamilton, Jake Maier takes over as the mayor of Cowtown.
The 26-year-old took the reins for the Stamps’ offence near the end of the 2022 campaign and finished the season with 207 completions for 2,389 yards and 14 touchdowns to seven interceptions. The Stamps also won six of their last seven games, clinching a playoff spot.
Returning with Maier is head coach and general manager Dave Dickenson, who gears up for his 15th season on the Stamps’ coaching staff and seventh as head coach.
Key additions and subtractions
Mitchell was not the lone Stampeder to join the Tiger-Cats as Canadian wide receiver Richie Sindani, linebackers Jameer Thurman and Fraser Sopik, and defensive back Javien Elliott all signed with the Black and Gold in free agency.
Though there were several departures, the Stampeders’ band is back together for another run in 2023 as former CFL and West Division All-Star wide receiver Reggie Begelton, linebacker Cameron Judge, and defensive back Johnathan Moxey all return to the Calgary lineup.
The two outside additions the Stamps made were the signing of 2022 East Division All-Star Tiger-Cats defensive end Julian Howsare and Montreal Alouettes linebacker Micah Awe.
Leaving town is wide receiver Shawn Bane, who joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders along with defensive lineman Stefen Banks. Canadian Folarin Orimolade headed east to join the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.
The Stampeders’ offence will be without 2022 first-round draft pick Jalen Philpot, who is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury.
The Stampeders also released veteran offensive lineman Derek Dennis during the final wave of cuts.
Player to watch
As the undisputed starter of the Stampeders this season, all eyes are on Maier as he looks to fill the Hall of Fame-sized void that Mitchell leaves.
The former UC Davis Aggie will have plenty of help with a deep, talented collection of receivers in Begelton, Luther Hakunavanhu, Malik Henry, Colton Hunchak, and 2023 first-round pick Cole Tucker.
In the backfield, Maier teams up with a stable of game-breaking running backs in 1,000-yard rusher Ka’Deem Carey, who spearheads a three-headed monster alongside Logan Peyton and Dedrick Mills.
“The Stampeders have been a model of consistency year over year but there are big changes in Calgary, with so many proven veterans out the door. Quarterback Jake Maier still has lots to prove after being anointed over Bo Levi Mitchell a third of the way through last season. But having stud running back Ka’Deem Carey will help. Being without receiver Jalen Philpot indefinitely puts more pressure on a raw group of Canadian receivers to contribute. With Mike Rose, Cameron Judge and Tre Roberson, the Stamps have elite talent at all three levels of the defence.” – TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor
“With BLM [Bo Levi Mitchell] gone, Jake Maier has no safety net now and he doesn’t strike me as the type of player who needs one. We know how good their rushing attack will be led by Ka’Deem Carey, but what does the receiving corps look like after Reggie Begelton and Malik Henry? I know who the names are, but let’s see what happens when the lights get bright. Losing Jalen Philpot for the first half of the season is a big blow, let’s see who else can step up and be a legitimate option for Maier.” – TSN Football Insider Farhan Lalji
“For the first time in a long time, these are not Bo Levi Mitchell’s Calgary Stampeders. With the franchise great now in Hamilton, it is Jake Maier’s show at McMahon Stadium. Maier’s shown plenty of promise in his first two seasons in Calgary and enters this season with far greater expectations—the Stampeders have not won a playoff game since their 2018 Grey Cup victory, a drought the organization is desperate to end. Beyond the increased attention on Maier, Ka’Deem Carey will likely be one of the league’s marquee stars after leading the CFL in rushing last season. Calgary’s defence remains solid and Rene Paredes is still performing at a high level. How Maier performs in his first full season as a starter, however, will be the biggest determinant on if Calgary wins its first playoff game in half a decade.” – TSN’s Salim Valji
Week 1 – The Stampeders host the new-look BC Lions in a rematch of the 2022 Western Semi-Final.
Week 9 – The defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts head to McMahon Stadium as the Stamps host the Boatmen.
Week 13 – The Stamps look to make it two wins in a row as they host the Edmonton Elks in the 2023 edition of the Labour Day Classic.
Week 17 – Maier and the Stampeders head to Hamilton to take on Mitchell and the Tiger-Cats.