Back earns praise

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

Joffrey Reynolds' climb up the CFL rushing ladder comes as no surprise to the Toronto Argos defence.

The Calgary Stampeders running back made a lasting impression nearly two years ago when he hung a 189-yard night on the Argos, still his best game in Red and White.

The men paid to stop Reynolds, who leads the CFL this season with 1,175 yards and a sensational 6.4-yard average, claim the Stampeder has only improved in his first two full seasons in the league.

"Wow," offered Argos linebacker Mike O'Shea, summing up his assessment of Reynolds.

"The first time we played him we knew nothing about him but by the time the game ended, we knew he was the real deal. He really gashed us bad."

In his 14 CFL seasons, O'Shea has knocked heads with some of the best backs to play in Canada.

Reynolds, he contends, could one day be as good as anyone who's played the three-down game.

"He's a guy who's as big as they come in terms of running backs, makes cuts like Charles Roberts, has the speed to go outside and he just doesn't quit," O'Shea said.

"You see him coming into piles and the pile moves. Guys make contact with him at three yards and he ends up with eight.

"He's having a heck of a season and we've got our work cut out for us."

In two games against the Argos last season, Reynolds posted a 6.9-yard average.

Linebacker Kevin Eiben, the Argos leader with 56 defensive tackles this season, said Reynolds poses an exceptional challenge.

"He's got such a strong base and runs the ball hard through the tackles and has a lot of speed," said Eiben, returning to the lineup tonight after missing one game with a shoulder injury.

"He's so dynamic, that's a different element you have to prepare for. You've got to wrap him up because he's a big back and likes to run through people. You've got to wrap him up low and take away his knees."

Reynolds' production has given headaches to opposing defensive co-ordinators while his punishing style has created some sore noggins coast to coast.

Not so for O'Shea.

"The nerve damage in my body is sufficient that I don't feel anything at the end of the game," O'Shea smiled.


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