There’s a special pride that emanates from a defensive back when they’ve been able to shut down the receiver they’re covering.
That’s why the Roughrider DBs are kind of into their new alignments that have them covering a specific Tiger-Cat receiver instead of a position.
The club started doing man to man coverage two weeks ago during their first matchup against Hamilton, pairing Ed Gainey with the dangerous Brandon Banks, Duron Carter with Terrance Toliver, Crezdon Butler with Jalen Sanders, Jovon Johnson with Luke Tasker and Mike Edem with Mike Jones.
It means the defensive backs follow the receiver all around the field instead of lining up with whoever is positioned in their area.
Crezdon Butler said it was a lot like pick-up basketball.
“You say ‘I got that guy.’ I take more pride in it as far as not letting your guy make the play,” Butler said.
“Given the chance to sort of win your matchup every play and Coach Jones is expecting that out of all of us, everybody to win that match up … it’s really fun to have that responsibility on defence, just to know ‘I got this guy and he’s not going to do anything,’” Carter said.
It seems that the decision surprised the Tiger-Cats two weeks ago, with Toliver telling the Hamilton Spectators’ Steve Milton he hadn’t really noticed it was Carter specifically that was covering him until later.
“I didn’t notice it until after the game,” said Toliver to Milton, adding “We didn’t practice for them matching up.”
Johnson said he thinks Hamilton will be a little more prepared for the one-on-one matchups this week.
“I anticipate them doing something where guys align out of position and work back towards where they’re usually at to try to confuse a bit,” Johnson explained, adding he’s not too worried about that.
“At the end of the day, our DBs can line up anywhere and play football. That’s what we’re built off of and that’s why were we able to adjust and mix and match and play where we were.”
The other thing he isn’t worried about is Jeremiah Masoli’s record. He’s aiming to go 10 games in a row with more than 300 yards passing.
“That right there means absolutely nothing to us. Our number one goal is to win the game. He can throw for 500 yards as long as we win the game,” Johnson said.
Head coach Chris Jones might feel a little differently about that, given he said if the secondary got lit up like that he’d probably shy away from the specific DB versus receiver match up.
“We happened to win one more football game with it, so right now I’m a genius, but let them light us up for 500 and have 30 points and I’ll be stupid come the next day,” Jones said.
In a week that saw practice stopped for lack of effort and Brendon LaBatte chastise his teammates for lack of effort, only the game will tell if Jones – and the rest of the team – will be viewed favourably.
Kick-off is 5:30 p.m. Saskatchewan time Thursday night. The Green Zone pregame show begins with a special edition of the Wise Guys at 3 p.m.
Here's the Riders depth against Hamilton this week… Just one change.
Makana Henry moves to the one-game injured list and recently signed (again) Tristan Doughlin comes in. pic.twitter.com/jvmGAFzKO8
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) July 18, 2018
— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) July 18, 2018