There’s more pressure on the Riders defence than they’re creating on the field.
Through two weeks of the regular season, the defence hasn’t had nearly the success it did last season in terms of creating pressure on the opposing quarterback.
The Riders only have five sacks this year. They had 10 after their season opener in 2014 and 12 overall after a couple of games.
“Some guys are doing some good things. Once it’s all put together as a whole, I’m very excited about what this defence is going to be,” said defensive end John Chick.
We’ve seen some glimpses of the last year’s defensive line with Chick, Alex Hall and Derek Walker all making plays at one point to get to the quarterback. That being said, there’s a lot more to pressure on an opposing quarterback than just sacks. Overall, the quarterback just doesn’t seem to be getting rushed.
This could be for a couple of reasons. First, the interior of the defensive line just isn’t getting the push it did last season. Canadian Rory Connop has not been able to recreate the success that Walker had in that spot last year.
“We’re working every day at that. It’s definitely a work in progress,” said Connop.
“I think results will come here.”
Connop’s adjustment into the CFL is an ongoing process. It can be difficult for a raw rookie to be forced into a starting spot, especially along the line of scrimmage.
The biggest adjustment for Connop has been to the speed of the game, an adjustment he feels is coming along.
Connop is also adjusting to working alongside the likes of Walker and Tearrius George.
“I haven’t played with either of them. So, just working things out and definitely, I think we’re improving,” he said.
The new rules not allowing defensive backs to make contact with receivers five yards past the line of scrimmage could be having an effect as well. Receivers simply could be getting open quicker than they used to.
If receivers are getting open sooner, then pass rushers need to find a way to get through the line of scrimmage faster.
“I don’t know if the verdict is quite out on that yet. You’re going to have to watch how it affects it overall,” said Chick.
“Across the league (we’re) seeing a lot of quick passes, guys getting rid of the ball quick. So, that does affect the effects of what the pass rusher can do. I think it’s early.”
Both Connop and Chick admitted that working within a three-man pass rush at times is different but is no excuse for not getting to the quarterback.
No matter the reason, the Riders will have to figure out how to start creating more pressure to give their defensive backs more of a chance to make a play.
News and Notes
The Riders have added another quarterback to their system. Head coach Corey Chamblin confirmed on Wednesday that Keith Price has returned after spending a few weeks with the club last season.
Receiver Ryan Smith won’t be playing against the B.C. Lions on Friday. He’s out with an undisclosed injury. Chamblin didn’t suggest who would replace Smith when asked if that meant a return to the starting lineup for Taj Smith.