Alouettes defence to test struggling Riders offence

Alouettes second in numerous defensive categories
Reported by Joel Gasson
Change text size: + -

During this three game losing streak the Roughriders offence hasn't been at its best.

Not once have they put up more than 30 points in a game, something that happened with regularity before the skid began, especially during the first few weeks of the season. To a man everyone on offence has been saying the right things, and they fully expect to get the offence turned around and back on track.

While there aren't any easy games for the rest of the season, this week could be another challenge for the offence to get the ball moving consistently as the Alouettes defense has been their best unit this year.

"They got great cover guys, they disguise blitzes well, smart linebackers," said quarterback Darian Durant about the Alouettes defense.

It's a defence Rider Nation got to see first-hand back in August as that was really the first time the offense hit the skids for basically all of the game. In that game it took until the final few minutes for the offence to find it's grove and score the eventual game winning touchdown.

The biggest thing the Als defence did that game was shutdown running back Kory Sheets, as that game was the first time all season that Sheets did not rush for over 100 yards in a game. Sheets' longest run from scrimmage was also only 14 yards.

When talking about the Montreal defence there's currently one name that sticks out as the undisputed leader, and that's linebacker Chip Cox. The last time these teams met he racked up 11 tackles, and has had five tackles or more in every game but two.

"In my opinion Chip Cox is the defensive player of the year," said Durant. "He's a guy you have to keep an eye on at all times. He can change the game with one play."

Cox isn't the only impact player on that defence either, you can't forget about linebacker Kyries Hebert, along with emerging stars safety Mike Edem and linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette.

Of course like any football team, the Riders are expecting that Montreal will introduce some different wrinkles defensively that they didn't see last time.

"It will be interesting," said offensive lineman Ben Heenan. "I think we have pretty good handle on what we expect to see."

2013 has been a complete 180 for the Alouettes, as last season it was their offence that was clicking along while their defence left something to be desired. This year, those roles have definitely been reversed.

So how did they do it? Durant feels basically they've pushed all the right buttons.

"New scheme, using those guys' strengths more," said Durant. "I think that's the main thing and they're playing well within it."

News and Notes

- Ben Heenan took over for Dan Clark at right guard today with Devin Tyler remaining at right tackle. Clark was once again wearing his eligible number 77.

- Chris Milo didn't practice on Friday. Head Coach Corey Chamblin said after practice it was a rest day for Milo who had a sore leg, presumably from working a lot with Don Sweet. He will play on Sunday.

- Hilee Taylor and Weldon Brown both didn't practice again. Tearrius George appears poised to return to the game day line-up, while Eddie Russ will remain in the secondary for the injured Carlos Thomas.

- Kory Sheets took another step forward as he practiced with the scout team offense on Friday. Even though he was wearing a game helmet, Chamblin maintains Sheets won't play on Sunday.