Off to a strong start for the 2018 CFL season, the Calgary Stampeders will enter the month of July with an undefeated record. For the first time since 2014, the Stamps are 3-0, and linebacker Jameer Thurman, a NFL Regional Combine pioneer, is at the center of their defensive success.
“I mean, he’s doing all the right things,’’ stated Stampeders linebackers coach Brent Monson, according to Stampeders.com. “Everything he did last year was consistent. We’re looking for that same type of consistency this year and taking that next step with understanding offences, which will help him make more plays.”
Thurman is second in tackles for the Stampeders with 14, including four on special teams. Ahead of Thurman in tackles is the 2017 Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year Alex Singleton with 18.
Although Thurman performs on a high level, he is not recognized league-wide due to his quiet demeanor.
Singleton praises Thurman, and he is working with Thurman to be a little more exciting as the second year player from Indiana State is completely committed to football.
“Thurm wants to be great, wants to be the best at his position,’’ voiced Singleton. “With every meeting, every practice, he’s striving to do that. He may not get the love he deserves, but he shows us every day. He flies around, makes plays.”
“He might not celebrate as much as other guys,” Singleton continued. “Maybe that’s what he needs to draw a bit more publicity. I’ve been working with him on that. He’s gotten better with the celebrations. All I know is, it’s awesome having him next to me.”
Thurman and Singleton terrorize opponents as they both fly around the field. Against the Ottawa Redblacks in Week 3 was a perfect example.
In the fourth quarter with 8:02 remaining in regulation, Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris received the snap from shotgun formation from the Redblacks’ 29-yard line and threw a short pass over the middle to Redblacks wide receiver Brad Sinopoli.
Thurman immediately tackled Sinopoli and started stripping the ball. Singleton came flying in and finished Sinopoli off causing the ball to come loose.
The Stampeders recovered the ball and eventually scored the touchdown to help seal the victory.
In Week 2 against the Toronto Argonauts, Thurman led the Stamps in tackles with six, including one on special teams.
Thurman was dynamic in his NFL Regional Combine trial in 2017 held in Minnesota. With hopes of getting into the NFL at the time, his willingness to learn the game was clearly evident.
Crediting his defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks, Thurman is learning to become a complete professional.
“It’s been great (relationship with Claybrooks),” said Thurman, according to The Big Show. “He’s (Claybrooks) giving me, putting me in games, putting me in situations where I would have to learn and make plays in. He’s put trust in me to go out there and make plays.”
“It helped me to have the confidence to go out there and just do my job, just be out there and be consistent and perform in this defense we have.”
A film junkie, Thurman’s dedication to the game will ultimately help lead the Stampeders to a Grey Cup victory sooner rather than later.
When asked about how much film he watches during the week, Thurman responded, ” I can’t even tell you that. It’s a lot…that’s all I know. It’s a lot of film, hours of film. It just all comes together on gameday when I can actually go out there and actually perform and play and make plays.”
For the next 14 days Thurman will have time for more film study as the Stampeders enter their bye week. The team will be fresh when they face the Redblacks in Week 5.
Will the Stamps, the only CFL squad with an unblemished record, remain undefeated? There’s no telling, however, defensively, they are solid enough to keep the lose column at zero for several more weeks. The Stampeders lead the CFL in total points allowed (35), sacks (9) and forced fumbles (4).
But what is known is that Thurman will work tirelessly to be the best at his profession and for the success of the Stampeders.