Big D-line unit going four gusto

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

The way DeVone Claybrooks sees it, the defensive line is where all the horsepower comes from.

Seems like the Calgary Stampeders have finally settled on their quartet.

After weeks of signing new players and shuffling old ones, the Stamps seem poised to stick with the same front four for the second consecutive outing -- a unit headlined by Claybrooks, Jim Davis, Charleston Hughes and Tearrius George.

"We're the engine of this defence, of this car. So goes the front four, so goes the defence," Claybrooks said.

"We go into every game with the mindset that we're the engine of this car and just because you see this nice Ferrari body -- all those cute DBs and linebackers we have -- we're the ones that make it go."

Hard to believe, but after making just four appearances with a horse on his helmet, Claybrooks is the longest-serving starter on the Stampeders' defensive line.

Davis has started three straight games, while George and Hughes returned to the Stamps after failed NFL tryouts and were plugged into the lineup during last week's loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Canadians Miguel Robede, Justin Phillips and Fernand Kashama will also factor into the equation tonight, when the B.C. Lions pay a visit to McMahon Stadium (8 p.m., TSN, QR77).

The refurbished front four showed flashes of brilliance last week, when Hughes made a pair of sacks and George and Claybrooks each forced a fumble. Davis figures they're only going to get better.

"You've gotta remember that I'm a new guy, DeVone's a new guy. We're all new," Davis said.

"The good thing is guys are taking time outside of practice to work on things, to get things down pat, to learn each other's steps, to learn each other's tendencies and stuff like that. That really, really helps when it comes to game time."

The Stampeders entered their bye week with the league's worst rushing defence, stats that cost several players their starting jobs.

Claybrooks and Davis were both signed during the week-off, while Hughes and George rejoined the Red & White three weeks later. According to Davis, all four have one thing in common.

"Athleticism, athleticism, athleticism," Davis said.

"You've got a guy like Charleston, who is so quick and has a great motor. Tearrius is a guy who's physical. He can run and he has great pass-rush moves. DeVone is just a bull in the middle. And myself, I'd like to say I'm a mixture of all of them."

There's at least one more roster move on the horizon.

Mike Labinjo has missed five games with a leg injury, but could be back as early as next week. Labinjo has seen a steady stream of new defensive linemen arrive.

"This organization has done a good job of bringing in quality talent," Labinjo said.

"We've brought in bigger bodies, brought in more athletes -- and our defensive line has improved vastly. Once I'm able to get back out there and help contribute, I think we're going to be a dangerous group."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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