Corey Chamblin still expects more from his defense
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have won five of their last six games...but listening to head coach Corey Chamblin you might think it's the other way around.
The Riders bench boss met with the media on Tuesday afternoon after the teams 36-10 win in Toronto, a game which the Riders pretty much dominated from start to finish.
Chamblin remains unsatisfied though.
"We played a good game, I thought we came together in a couple of phases, but there's a lot of things we left out there," said Chamblin. "The Argos made some mistakes and we just capitalized on their mistakes.'
Specifically, Chamblin is remaining pretty tough on his defense. Yes, the same defense that stats wise is second in the CFL, but over the last few games is probably playing the best football in the league.
It might sound a little crazy, or maybe Chamblin is just blowing smoke, but there is a method to his madness.
"The defense has to remain tough," said Chamblin. "Defensive guys got to remain hungry, and have that nasty attitude to remain tough."
Specifically, Chamblin said that the defense can be better when it comes to their assignments. On a few occasions, Chamblin said that there was problems with different assignments on the field. He also wants to see them get better at something that has been preached since day one of training camp.
"There was a couple of plays where I saw at least nine guys get to the ball," said Chamblin. "But it's supposed to look like that every down. If guys can do it one down, they're well conditioned athletes, they're paid to do it, they can do it every down."
One part of the defense that is getting better is creating turnovers. In the last two weeks we've seen the defense pick off Jarious Jackson and Travis Lulay a total of three times.
"Guys are going for the ball, things are happening, but there's still an area we need to improve on," said Chamblin. "We're that close to getting those, we got to make them pay when they're there."
There's a few turnovers that the green and white did leave on the field Monday afternoon. Eddie Russ dropped a sure pick six on the Argos first play from scrimmage, the next play could have been intercepted too. Even on special teams when Craig Butler almost recovered a kick off, but he was out of bounds when he touched the ball. That being said, earlier in the year, those kinds of chances were few and far between.
Punter Chris Milo suffered a sprained ankle on Monday afternoon, his status for Saturday in Edmonton is up in the air. Chamblin said on Tuesday that he has confidence in DeAngelis should Milo not be able to go.
Working against Milo, and the players who missed the game (defensive linemen, Brent Hawkins, Mick Williams, and Keith Shologan) is a short week of practice. Chamblin says they may get one or two back, but they might just hold off to be safe. That includes offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte who only took special teams snaps against Toronto.
Speaking of practice, they'll practice twice this week, neither at Mosaic Stadium. Wednesday the team will take it indoors to the Credit Union Eventplex, Thursday they'll be at Leibel Field. Both start at 10:45 and are open to the public.
Keeping starters in the game
It was pretty hard to complain about much after Monday afternoon's win, but there were some questions about how long Chamblin left his starters in, specifically Darian Durant, Weston Dressler and Kory Sheets.
"The game is not finished until I felt we had it where we needed it to be," said Chamblin. "The other things is that Darian wanted to stay in."
Chamblin felt that the six minute mark was when the team did have it in the bag. He also admitted that they will re-evaluate who will be returning punts Saturday. Chamblin didn't really think about pulling Dressler from that duty earlier, adding that offensive coordinator Bob Dyce and receivers coach Jason Tucker were more worried about Dressler than he was.
"He's a warrior," said Chamblin. "The biggest thing about him he's very competitive."