Defensive nightmare

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

The CFL sack race is one of those glamour stats in football, fodder for chest thumping among the game's heavyweight athletes who battle in the trenches for a shot at the quarterback.

While fans take note of the numbers, it also earns the unwavering attention of QBs across Canada. The men in the crosshairs know better than anyone which teams pose the greatest threat.

Henry Burris is aware of what's in store today when his Stampeders face the Eskimos defence, first in the league with 30 sacks, ahead of second-place Calgary (27).

Eskies defensive ends Rashad Jeanty and Joe Montford, with six and five sacks, respectively, this season, lead a pass rush that is statistically the most feared in the country.

"Oh yeah, they have two of the best ends in the league and maybe the best front four," agreed Burris, noting the Eskimos LB crew is also as QB hungry as any group in the CFL. "Those guys really come after you and put a lot of pressure on you. That's their job. You can tell when you watch film their coaching staff just says, 'Get to the ball.' "

Burris can take comfort in knowing the Stamps offence has allowed the third-fewest sacks this season (14) while a consistent rushing attack from Joffrey Reynolds will help alleviate some of the pressure today.

"Your o-line better know who's coming if they're bringing a blitz -- if not, they're going to get to you quick," Burris said.

"They're a good defensive line, one of the best we've met but you can always expect a physical game whenever you play Edmonton and we expect nothing different from these guys."

Jeanty, a former college teammate of Stampeders guard Taylor Robertson at Central Florida, enjoys watching the sack totals build. The 6-ft. 3-in., 230-lb. 22-year-old, points out he and Montford pose different threats for offensive lines.

"My strength is my speed and desire and then everything else takes care of itself," Jeanty said.

"With Joe's experience, he knows what's going to happen before it happens so he puts himself in positions where he can capitalize and take advantage of those things."

Robertson played two seasons with Jeanty at Central Florida.

"Montford's quicker laterally -- real quick side-to-side and can get around you real quick -- and he has a real good inside move," Robertson said. "Jeanty can beat you with speed around the edge and he has a real good bull rush. Overall, I think Jeant's got more moves, although I'm watching the inside guys more. Jeant's bigger, taller and has more weight on him."

As for the Esks pass rush?

"They have lot of different fronts, some real good blitzes so it's probably the best defence we've faced this year." Robertson said. "We've got a challenge ahead of us but as long as we do our jobs up front, everything will take care of itself."

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2005 LABOUR DAY CLASSIC

TODAY, 1 P.M., McMAHON, CBC


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