Riders defence not satisfied with keeping games close

Defenders want to make more big plays like against B.C.
Reported by Joel Gasson
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As the old saying goes in football: offence wins games, but defence wins championships.

Until Friday night in B.C. the offence wasn't winning the Riders any games as they had lost four in a row. As the offence struggled to put points on the board, the defence was actually playing quite well.

Over the last five weeks the defence has kept the other team to 25 or fewer points four times, the last two weeks they've been able to keep the other team below 20 points.

"The bottom line is our job to keep the points down and to give us a chance," said Defensive Coordinator Richie Hall.

The problem is, they still didn't win those games, and the defence hasn't been satisfied with their effort. Against the Lions at Mosaic Stadium they gave up a game losing drive after taking the lead. Why? Well the leaders on defence don't think they had been making enough big plays until Friday night in Vancouver.

"You got to make big plays on defence, you can't just play good, you can't just give up a small amount of yardage," said defensive end Ricky Foley. "It's not good enough to win a championship, it's good enough to make the playoffs, but every team I've been a part of we've made big plays."

During that four game losing streak Foley thinks that was the biggest problem was making a big play when they had to. Early on in games the defence made some plays early to give the offence a chance, but they couldn't come up with them late.

Against the Lions it changed. The plays were made at key times, led by defensive back Dwight Anderson who has always had a knack for making game changing interceptions.

"B.C. game is when we went back to our basics from camp," said Anderson. "Going back, being hungry, playing fast, run to the ball, even when you're wrong run to the ball because you never know."

It was an attitude the entire team seemed to show all week and it paid off with the four game losing streak coming to an end. Foley still feels that the short week was the best thing that ever happened to this team as they just went out and played football, Anderson alluded to that as well.

"I think we just say 'screw the stats or whatever, we just going to play for the next man,' and once you can do that you'll get all 22 guys executing," he said.

In that game against the Lions the secondary was able to intercept quarterback Thomas DeMarco three times and probably should have had a whole lot more. While there's been a lot of talk about change along the offensive line, the secondary has been dealing with a lot of change as well.

In the last few weeks other than Dwight Anderson and Terrell Maze just about every other defensive back has been in and out of the lineup but unlike the offensive line the defensive back field didn't struggle because of it.

"We know whenever guys go out there we can still things that we've done earlier in the season, we don't have to change our game plan," said Hall.

Hall credits the depth they've created in the secondary for not skipping a beat despite the massive change all year long in the backfield.

Now that it appears the Riders offence is back to their winning ways, it's time for the defence to win them a championship.

News and Notes

- Head Coach Corey Chamblin has ruled out LB Weldon Brown for Saturday's game against Eskimos.

- DB Rod Williams left practice with an arm injury, he was in the locker room getting treatment but that's all Chamblin knew after practice.

- Defensive lineman Jermain McElveen should be back at practice on Thursday, he's been in Atlanta for the birth of his child.

- With defensive end Alex Hal now in the mix, the defence appears to be getting even more creative with John Chick spending more time in the interior of the line, while Foley did some work during the pass coverage portion of practice.