Stamps’ Jones a rock on offensive line, could net big payday in off-season

 

The 23-year-old just might be the Stamp with the best chance of winning a CFL award — most outstanding lineman

 
 
 
 
Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Brett Jones works on a drill during Stamps practice at McMahon Stadium on Wednesday.
 

Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Brett Jones works on a drill during Stamps practice at McMahon Stadium on Wednesday.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel

There are no individual numbers to prove how important Brett Jones is to the Calgary Stampeders.

As an offensive lineman, you could point out the offence’s success — first in league rushing, tops in fewest sacks — but maybe the best gauge is the number Jones gets this off-season.

As a pending free agent, there might be a few teams lining up the Brinks truck for the 23-year-old Stampeders centre considering his meteoric rise in the CFL. Since joining the team as a second-round draft pick last year, Jones won the CFL rookie of the year award, and now has followed it up as the team’s nominee for most outstanding lineman this year.

Oh, and he’s started 34 games at the toughest offensive line position on the league’s best team. The one he didn’t start at centre was one he played left guard.

In his sophomore year with the Stamps, the Weyburn, Sask., native has handled every thing offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson has thrown his way, and excelled at the same time.

“He’s not your traditional centre because he can handle guys one on one,” Dickenson said. “It doesn’t happen very often. We have had a solid year from our offensive line and a couple other guys could have got it. To me, Jonesy deserves it.

“To me, in two years he’s the best one out there. I don’t watch enough of the other teams so I don’t know who else is playing great. I do notice on our film that Jonesy is our driving force. We feel like we have one of the better, if not the best, offensive lines in the league, and we require a lot out of him. There is a lot of communication and he’s our rock.

“Sometimes tackles get favoured for (the league) award. I think it’s time to move it inside. Jones had a great year.”

Among the Stampeders nominees for player awards, Jones might have the best chance at picking up hardware Nov. 27 in Vancouver during Grey Cup week based on his consistency and the team’s 14-3 record.

Jones will be up against a solid group in the West Division voting. B.C.’s Jovan Olafioye won the league award two years ago, while veterans Dominic Picard (Saskatchewan) and Glenn January (Winnipeg) have also had solid seasons.

On defence, Shawn Lemon is a first-time nominee for a franchise-best seven forced fumbles and 11 sacks, but his numbers lag behind the other nominees in the West.

Top rookie Sederrik Cunningham has played in 10 games and scored touchdowns three different ways, rushing, receiving and on a kick return. Punter Rob Maver earned a unanimous special teams nod for sitting second in the net punting.

Often the lineman award is based on reputation, but Jones has built a stellar one already, and as so often the case, he’s just happy to be nominated.

“It’s an award that many great offensive linemen have won,” Jones said. “It’s very special to even be mentioned in that group.

“Easily any of the guys on our offensive line could have been nominated. It’s very special. We’re all very good. We want to keep pushing and proving we’re the best offensive line.”

 
 
 
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Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Brett Jones works on a drill during Stamps practice at McMahon Stadium on Wednesday.
 

Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Brett Jones works on a drill during Stamps practice at McMahon Stadium on Wednesday.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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