After a start that reflected his number zero, Roughriders defensive end Alex Hall is starting to find his groove.
Over the last couple of games against the Eskimos and the Argonauts, Hall has three sacks, seven tackles and a pass knockdown.
“It’s the same thing. The sacks are just showing up. We’re getting pressure. Nothing changed,” said Hall.
Hall isn’t the first player to return from the NFL and get off to a slow start back in the CFL. The list of players that have gone through that struggle is pretty long.
Sometimes, it takes a half season or longer for those players to re-find themselves. The good news for the Riders is it hasn’t taken Hall nearly that long.
“He’s turned it on. We’ve challenged him a little bit,” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
“He’s accepted the challenge and he’s played full speed.”
That challenge appears to have come mostly from defensive line coach Mike Sinclair.
Over the first few weeks of the regular season Sinclair was trying to find the right buttons to push in order to get the most out of Hall. It seems the coach has now found the right formula.
“He just had to show him, himself. I think he went back and showed him his best rushes and just told him this is who you have to be for us,” said Chamblin.
Not only did Sinclair point out what kind of player Hall needed to be, he never lets his players rest on their laurels.
“He’s just always telling us work to get better and improve. Even if you do something good, aim to be great,” said Hall.
“He’s always talking about improving all the time.”
The rise in Hall’s play has been coming at a time when the entire defensive line appears to be improving as they’ve basically doubled their sack count the last two games.
As his teammates improve, so will Hall.
“We’re continuing to grow. We still have not a ways to go but things we can do better,” he said.
“The group is doing better.”
If the defensive line starts winning more battles it will ultimately improve the entire defence as it could lead to the Riders doing something they haven’t done often this year — create a turnover.
“That stuff comes. When the turnovers come, it shows the defence is forcing the issue,” said Hall.
News and Notes
Change is the name of the game on the Riders depth chart this week.
Coming on the roster this week are defensive back Marshay Green, fullback Scott McHenry, defensive back Paul Woldu, defensive back Keenan MacDougall, defensive back Junior Mertile, running back Anthony Allen and offensive lineman Randy Richards.
With all those names coming on the roster, receiver Korey Williams, defensive back Geoff Tisdale (released), defensive back Michael Carter (released), linebacker Nathan Kanya (six-game injured list), linebacker Jake Doughty (six-game injured list), offensive lineman Levy Adcock (six-game injured list), receiver Chris Getzlaf (one-game injured list) and defensive lineman Andre Monroe are coming off.
Look for Allen and defensive back Alex Suber to be scratched on Saturday.