Back in June when the Roughriders signed Mic’hael Brooks, many wondered why the team needed another defensive lineman.
Already stacked with stars like Willie Jefferson, Charleston Hughes and Zack Evans, it didn’t exactly appear necessary, but for Jones it was a no-brainer.
“Mic’hael Brooks two-three years ago was one of the top in the league at the position so we always file those away,” Jones said. “He came at the right price and we were able to get a very good player that wanted the opportunity to show he still had some game.”
Brooks spent three seasons with the B.C. Lions before being released in May of this year. He said it’s taken a little bit, but he finally adjusted to being in Saskatchewan.
“I’m really liking it. I really enjoy the team and the facilities and the whole group,” Brooks said. “It was a little adjustment at first but all the guys on the team helped me to make the adjustment and make it a little easier.”
It doesn’t hurt that he’s stepping into one of the league’s hottest defensive lines or that he already had a friend on the team — he and Jefferson know each other from their college days.
“We played together in an all-star game in college,” Brooks explained. “I just met Zack and Charleston and they’re fun guys and they get after it so it’s really good.”
Jones said he was interested in Brooks because he had been effective blocking the run game in the past. Over his last three seasons, he’s gathered 83 tackles, five sacks, one interception and forced one fumble in 43 games. His worse season, according to Jones, was 2017, but he’s confident there’s still potential there.
“I think he was a little too heavy. He’s 282 lbs right now and looks great and is moving around and seems to be in pretty good shape,” the head coach mused.
As part of the defensive line rotation with the Roughriders Jones is expecting to have him in about 20 plays per game. He’s played two so far and has two defensive tackles.
Regardless of how much he plays, Brooks said he’s enjoying being in a Chris Jones run defence.
“Just the freedom that comes with it. He lets you play your game inside the system. A lot of places you go they kind of make you change your stuff to fit their system. He just lets you play and you work inside the system so it’s a lot of fun and it’s a lot of good times,” Brooks said.
A lot of good times and a lot of good plays.
“From Willie Jefferson to Charleston to Zack everybody’s getting up the field trying to make plays. It’s like a race to the plays,” he said.
Hopefully, it will be a winning race this week as the Roughriders face Hamilton on Thursday night, just two days after Jones halted practice to read his team the riot act.
Game time is at 5:30 p.m. with Green Zone pregame coverage beginning at 3 p.m.