July 4, 2012
Stamps defence making most of opportunities
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Keon Raymond knows a thing or two about being opportunistic.
The Calgary Stampeders defensive back led the club with five interceptions in 2011, taking two picks to the house.
So he was happy to see his teammates get in on the fun Sunday as the Stamps came up with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery that rookie safety Keenan MacDougall took 63 yards to paydirt.
"I think guys are ready to make a play," Raymond said. "Even though it's the start of the season, when you start off like this, I can't wait (to get back out there).
"It's like it's going to be Christmas for everybody."
It's a lot easier to tinker with something that works, as opposed to tearing up a system that doesn't work and starting over.
Raymond said his defence made a statement on Canada Day.
"I think it was extremely important for us to establish that dominance early," Raymond said. "And also that confidence.
"We wanted to see what our defence could stand up to in our first home game, and it was good."
Middle linebacker Juwan Simpson said Sunday's rout was a good starting point.
"We set the bar at a certain level and now we have to maintain that," Simpson said.
"One thing is we don't (over-reach). We go out and do our jobs.
"We play calm so we can take advantage of the opportunities."
Raymond cautioned that there's still plenty of room to improve, despite the stingy performance against the Montreal Alouettes.
"We still have a lot of work to do," the 5-foot-10, 204-pounder said. "It might have looked good on TV, but when we broke it down, we had a lot of mistakes.
"It was just the first game, but it shows how athletic, fast and aggressive our defence is."
Raymond has played all over the defence over the past few seasons and is now occupying one of the corners.
He said he felt at ease because of his previous experience.
"It was alright," the 2011 West Division all-star said. "I felt pretty comfortable. As a defence, we were playing pretty fast out there.
"I love my job. Playing all of the positions allows me to understand the defence. I know where my help is at and that there's things I can and can't do.
"It's just the knowledge of me knowing the different positions. That allows me to make more plays.
"Everything is slowed down for me. As a vet, I can take advantage of that."
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher