New faces man Stamps' D

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:59 PM ET

TORONTO -- For the past few weeks in a patchwork defence, one thing has remained the same.

The pass rush provided from Calgary Stampeders lineman Sheldon Napastuk, Rahim Abdullah, Demetrious Maxie and Randy Chevrier was always consistent.

The warriors could be relied upon. Battling in the trenches three at a time, the unit was one thing defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan could count on: Constant pressure, pass knockdowns and the occasional sack.

But just like the other parts of the defence, injuries have struck. Defensive end Maxie is out four to six weeks with a fractured leg.

So for the first time this season, a new face will start alongside nose tackle Napastuk Wednesday when the club takes on the Toronto Argonauts.

"When you look at the experience, leadership and production you get from Maxie, you can't replace it," said Napastuk. "This is part of football.

"This is where guys make names for themselves when guys get to fill in and see exactly what they're capable of."

That name is rookie Terrence Patrick. Yet the opponent couldn't be worse for the Brooklyn native to step in and make an impression against.

The ageless Damon Allen has made veteran lineman look terrible as he scrambles for daylight this season.

In the past two weeks, the Stamps haven't had to deal with running quarterbacks. Although Anthony Calvillo and Dave Dickenson both lit up Calgary's defence for 500-plus yards, neither moved around with the proficiency Allen showed Saturday night against the Edmonton Eskimos.

If there is one thing in Patrick's favour, Napastuk says the veterans he lined up with can help ease the transition.

"That's one of the things that will help him too because he's going in with a stable group," Napastuk said. "The entire front seven is relatively untouched. When you're playing around experienced guys, things look and happen just like it happens in practice. I'm excited to see what he can do."

Because Chevrier plays every special teams assignment as a long-snapper, Creehan is forced to start Patrick and rotate Chevrier around.

With injuries to three starters in the secondary and linebacker Scott Coe, Creehan is getting used to plugging holes and hoping for the best.

"Terrence needs to grow up fast," Creehan said. "He's a fine athlete and he has the ability. Hopefully he can go in there and fill in adequately.

"He's the kind of kid where you'd like to work with him for a year and then have this happen. This is how you grow up."

Creehan hopes to have Coe back this week to resume his starting role. The Canadian linebacker practised with the team this weekend in Kingston, Ont., and will once again be a game-time decision.

If Coe can play, that would mean only Maxie would be missing from the normal starting front seven.

And Napastuk said that will help because communication will be key against the Argos.

"The front has to work together and read off of each other," Napastuk said. "The injuries are always a challenge. When you look at the game in Montreal, we really struggled.

"But there's a whole lot of want to on this team. We're all working hard to get it together. When you're in a situation like this, you just have to find a way to win."


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