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*** 2013 CFL Western Preview - Calgary Stampeders ***

From The Sports Network

By Ted Michaels, CFL Editor

Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - They're a team that's despised by a lot of CFL fans.

Not because they win championships, but because at times, some players in the organization act like immature boors.

Exhibit A: slotback Nik Lewis, who was fined by the CFL last year for a comment he made on Twitter.

The league said that Lewis' tweet was unacceptable and was in violation of the its social media policy.

Earlier in the season, running back Jon Cornish was fined after he dropped his pants and mooned the crowd at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

But credit due, they came just short of winning the Grey Cup.

Heading into the 2013 season, there's one question that consistently gets asked... "how's Drew?"

As in Tate, the starting quarterback. The Iowa product played in just 8 games last season because of a dislocated left shoulder suffered in Week 2. He returned to play the final two games of the regular season, then, broke his forearm in the West semifinal win over Saskatchewan.

When he played, Tate completed 46-of-63 passes, for 570 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Kevin Glenn, the ex-Winnipeg and Hamilton pivot, played the majority of the season, completing 325-of-487 passes for 4,220 yards and 25 touchdowns.

The Stampeders scored 535 points last season, second only to Hamilton's 538. They were tied for most touchdowns scored, with 51, and led the league with most rushing touchdowns, 20. So they do have loads of talent, and ironically, the two players who drew the biggest headlines for their off-field antics, drew a lot of attention for their on-field performance.

Lewis led the team in 2012 with 100 catches for 1,241 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Cornish, a native of New Westminster, BC, who played his collegiate ball at Kansas, had a career year in 2012. He led the CFL in rushing, with 259 carries for 1,457 yards and 11 touchdowns, breaking Normie Kwong's 56 year-old single-season rushing record for Canadians. He capped off his stellar season, by being named the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Player.

The rest of the Stampeder receivers should come from a group including Chris Bauman, Jabari Arthur, Anthony Parker, Terence Jeffers-Harris and Marquay McDaniel.

Defensively, it all starts with Charleston Hughes, the terrific rush-end who had 11 sacks in 2012, which helped him earn CFL all-star honors.

Stevie Baggs, who spent time in Saskatchewan and Hamilton, is vying for the other defensive end spot. When healthy, Baggs is also a force. Demonte' Bolden should be one of the defensive tackles, with Canadian Corey Mace at the other defensive tackle spot. Bolden, from the University of Tennessee, played in Hamilton from 2009-2010 and had a good 2012 campaign, with three sacks and 60 tackles.

The linebacking corps is solid, if not spectacular. The incumbents are Keon Raymond, Ju-Wan Simpson and Malik Johnson.

The back end remains a work in progress. Three starters from last year are heading into year two: Jamar Wall, Derrius Brooks and Fred Bennett, while ex- Dallas Cowboy Quincy Butler is starting year three.

Coming off a Grey Cup loss to Toronto, the Stampeders had targeted eleven players that they either wanted to extend, or re-sign.

Of those eleven that they gave new deals to, seven were non-imports, or, Canadians. In the CFL, if you're Canadian content is strong, you have a great chance of winning.

Based on that alone, the Stampeders should have an excellent year. But, it may not be enough to warrant a trip to the 101st Grey Cup.

FACTS & FIGURES: Division - West 2012 record - 12-6, 2ND place in West. Playoff result: defeated Saskatchewan 36-30 in West semifinal, defeated BC 34-29 in West Final, lost 35-22 to Toronto in Grey Cup. Stadium - McMahon Stadium. Capacity - 35,650. Colors - Red and White.

06/12 15:32:33 ET

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