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Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris takes to Twitter to predict turnaround

CALGARY - Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris took to Twitter in the wake of Saturday's disappointing home loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, reassuring anyone who would listen that his team will turn things around.

"We will be a great team this year! Mark my word!" Burris tweeted Sunday morning, a night after the Stampeders dropped a 24-19 decision to the Eskimos.

His tune was unchanged Monday as Calgary (2-2) looks to regroup heading into a Week 5 clash with Saskatchewan.

"I said it on Twitter and I'll say it again," Burris said. "We will be a great team before the season's over. We're building to make that happen now."

Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis echoed the veteran pivot, adding the team has the confidence to get back on track this Saturday in Regina against the Roughriders (1-3).

"My biggest thing is staying positive, because if you don't stay positive then this is going to carry over and you're going to stop working as hard," Lewis said. "So, stay positive, keep working hard and hey, we're going to keep grinding it out."

Defensive back Brandon Smith could only watch as Edmonton receiver Fred Stamps got behind him on two occasions for a pair of touchdown grabs. He said the Stampeders haven't lost any of their confidence because of the setback.

"We're still mentally and physically in it," he said. "It's fixable. All the problems that happened are on film and are fixable. We haven't lost any faith or any confidence or anything like that. We're just going to go back and get back to it and move on."

Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel said he wasn't surprised the players' reaction.

"We're a 2-2 team," he said. "We're in second place in the West with a lot of season ahead of us. If they have lost their confidence after four games of the season after being 2-2, I would be disappointed in them."

The Stampeders will have to bounce back against the Riders without the services of all-star linebacker Juwan Simpson, who went down with a knee injury against the Eskimos.

"He'll be out for a couple weeks at least," said Hufnagel, who referred to the injury as a strain.

Robert McCune will replace Simpson in the starting lineup, while Akwasi Antwi will serve as his backup.

"Simpson's a big part of our defence, we're not going to kid about that," Smith said. "It will be adversity that we have to get over. We've got other guys that can step in and hop right into the rotation and we won't miss a beat."

Another concern for Calgary is the kicking game. With Rob Maver already out of the lineup with a torn quad muscle, Rene Paredes struggled against Edmonton, missing field goals from 39 and 35 yards out.

"He had a rough ending to the game, but like I said before I was disappointed in both areas of our kicking," said Hufnagel, who wasn't impressed with how punter Burke Dales performed either. "We need to improve."

As for the possibility bringing back former Calgary kicker Sandro DeAngelis into the fold, Hufnagel said he has no such plans.

And while Lewis is confident that the Stampeders can turn things around, he has one concern.

"We're struggling to put the ball in the end zone, so that's the big thing," Lewis said. "We've got the weapons and we're making plays. We've just got to put the ball in the end zone."

Costly penalties have also hurt and that's something Hufnagel and his coaching staff will address with players this week.

"One of Achilles heels this year has been the amount of penalties we've been taking, especially the last three games," Hufnagel said. "In the first game of the year, we were good at it, but we have too many unnecessary roughness penalties (and) late hits on the quarterbacks. We've just got to clean that up."

Burris, meanwhile, shouldered his share of the blame as well.

"Everyone took their turns making mistakes and that's what's holding our offence back right now. The quicker we change that we'll become that offence that everybody knows that we're supposed to be," he said. "I'd rather deal with our struggles now than later on in the season."

Burris reiterated the fact that he believes Calgary will "come out of this rut" that they're in and emerge as a contender.

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