Rene Paredes doesn’t really have a good answer.
More and more this season, it seems like the Calgary Stampeders are relying on him to kick field-goals from beyond the 50-yard line. He set a career-best with a 53-yarder back in the CFL’s Week 8 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and then matched it two weeks later against the BC Lions.
It’s not like he couldn’t hit from that distance in past seasons. The Stamps are just relying on him to kick from 50-plus yards more often this year.
“I don’t know — I just go in when I’m told,” Paredes said Thursday. “I think the reason why we’re hitting those is probably that we’re behind in most games and we need the points. I’ve been here for a while, and as you know, we normally always had the lead.
“They haven’t really told me why. I just go out there and kick the ball.”
So far this season, Paredes has hit field-goals from 50, 51 and 53 yards (twice). His previous career high was from 52 yards.
It’s not what you’d expect from a 37-year-old. Guys his age aren’t generally getting better, but that’s exactly what seems to be happening with Paredes.
“We just kicked what we needed in those games, and he responded,” said Stamps special teams coordinator Mark Kilam. “It’s not like he couldn’t do those kicks before. It’s just that we weren’t asking him to do them. Just like always, he’s risen to every occasion.
“He’s a true pro. He knows what he needs to do. He works on what he needs to work on and there’s nobody better when the pressure’s on.”
While we’re still only at the halfway mark of the season, Paredes is already way ahead in the race for an all-star nod at kicker. Not only has he kicked more field goals than anyone in the league, with 33 so far this season, he’s also converted on 91.7% of his attempts. That’s the best in the league, too.
For a guy who was considering retirement in the off-season, that’s pretty exceptional.
It’s also exactly what Stamps fans have come to expect from Paredes over the past decade. That consistency is his calling card.
Kicking from beyond 50 yards on such a regular basis, though, feels new.
It wasn’t a deliberate strategy, though. Not at all.
“I come in every year the same way — I just kick the ball,” Paredes said. “They’ve seen me hit 58-yarders in practice. It’s mostly just how the game flow is going and what the offence gives me.
“I’m glad I got over that 52-yarder, which I honestly wanted to try. But honestly, I’m just swinging my leg and hitting the ball, and I just keep doing what I’m doing.”
With NFL cuts this week, there’s a new influx of players the Stampeders might be able to bring into the fold in the near future.
There are no guarantees, though, and the Stamps are being patient with players who are still dealing with the fresh wound of being cut by their NFL teams.
“We have reached out to lots of agents, but we also understand that when you get cut in the NFL, you kind of need a couple days to digest it and you don’t want to over-reach,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “I’ve personally talked with Rysen John, because he’s approximately three weeks out.”
John, for those keeping score, is the 6-foot-7 receiver the Stamps selected with their third-round pick in the 2020 CFL Draft. He was cut by the Chicago Bears a couple weeks ago and would be a massive addition to the Stamps receiving corps, both figuratively and literally.
Another guy they might be interested in bringing back to Calgary is James Vaughters, the defensive end who helped them win the 2018 Grey Cup.
Even there, though, Dickenson said that he’s rooting for Vaughters to latch on with another NFL team if that’s what he wants.
“I hope he hooks back on,” Dickenson said. “We want these guys to succeed in the NFL and, ultimately, take every chance you get, and if you’re ready to come up north and play with us, great.”
DB Branden Dozier was a partial participant in Thursday’s practice after being pulled off the six-game injured list on Wednesday. Dickenson said he needs to practice on Friday if he wants to be part of the plan for the Labour Day Classic against the visiting Edmonton Elks at McMahon Stadium (2:30 p.m., TSN, 770 CHQR) … It’s looking like Wr Richard Sindani could be back in the lineup on Monday … Julian Good-Jones and Jameer Thurman were full participants, so that’s obviously a positive for the Stamps.