Building blocks

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

The CFL players of the week announcement yesterday had an ominous ring for the men paid to protect Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris.

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end Fred Perry was selected top lineman, with his three-sack performance against Calgary Saturday catching the eye of league voters.

Perry stole the spotlight in a five-sack night for the Roughies, while the Stamps o-line is regrouping for a rematch at McMahon Stadium in little more than 48 hours.

It was a surprisingly weak game for the group, which is still second-best in the league after sacrificing only 12 sacks through seven games.

Montreal has allowed just a half-dozen, albeit in six contests.

"We didn't protect as solidly as we have all year, they got some pressure on us with good rush technique and they did a good job in the (secondary) covering our receivers," said Stampeders o-line coach Steve Buratto.

Left tackle Alexandre Gauthier, a second-year starter in Calgary, defended against Perry 90% of the time.

"They bring the heat, were bringing the pressure and they were working hard on defence, so that was a tough game," Gauthier admitted.

"Overall, we had some, not soft plays, but they are paid to make plays, too, and they were making them that day.

"On a few plays they got us and we have to keep working harder this week to make sure that doesn't happen again (Saturday).

"When you look at the game film, they are plays that should be easy to correct and we're working hard to do that.

"I had three bad plays and two of them ended up with sacks. I had a decent game but when your bad plays end in a sack, it looks worse."

Critics of Burris -- including the quarterback himself -- claim the pivot needs to release the ball more quickly or do a better job reading the defence while making sharper decisions.

"Saskatchewan mixed up their blitzes and their defensive line got pressure and did a good job," Burris said. "But at the same time, I have to get the ball out of my hands quicker. I've always prided myself in not taking a sack but I was trying to get my guys the time to work into the holes in the zone blitzes so I could get the ball down field.

"I trust my o-line, I need to sit back in the pocket and make my reads (and if no one's open) then take off."

The CFL stats don't differentiate between sacks that are the product of poor blocking over sacks given up because of strong pass coverage.

Gauthier insists it's the job of the o-line to maintain their blocks for as long as necessary.

"If Henry needs me to block a guy for 10 seconds, that's my job and I have to block," Gauthier said.

"Sometimes that makes my job tougher and it's almost impossible to do it but I can't blame somebody else for that."


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