Ticats take shine to Webb

Tiger-Cats' Dee Webb (top) tackles Alouettes Jamel Richardson during CFL action in Montreal on Oct....

Tiger-Cats' Dee Webb (top) tackles Alouettes Jamel Richardson during CFL action in Montreal on Oct. 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:53 PM ET

HAMILTON -- The phone rang and the predictable good news/bad news scenario was presented.

Given an option, Dee Webb wanted to hear the bad news first.

No matter what was conveyed, the news would be viewed in a different context following the real-life news of a mother whose battle with cancer had come to an end.

For someone who has vowed to honour his mom with every snap he’s able to take on the field, news of Webb’s trade to Hamilton was a blessing, even if the timing took the defensive back by surprise.

On the other end of the phone was Argos head coach/GM Jim Barker, whose search for a potential go-to receiver landed Maurice Mann from the Hammer in exchange for Webb.

“Barker told me it was a good/bad situation," Webb recounted. “He told me the bad news first, that he was going to trade me. The good news was that he was trading me to a coach I’m familiar with and to a team that was going to give me a chance to play.”

As an Argo, Webb served as a backup in the team’s defensive backfield and played on special teams.

Serviceable would best describe Webb’s impact in Argoland, but it was his ability to persevere through the death of his mother that earned him respect among his teammates.

When he got news of his mother’s death during the team’s visit to Vancouver, Webb played with a heavy heart and somehow was able to leave everything out on the field.

The following week, he was granted permission to leave the Argos and head back to his home in Florida, where Webb laid to rest his mom.

With so much adversity swirling around him, the notion of being traded was hardly daunting.

“I don’t have to move because the trade was to a team that was just down the road," Webb added. “I just feel blessed because I left a team that wasn’t going to be in the playoffs and I joined a team that was heading for the playoffs.

“I was coming to a team that needed help in the secondary.”

The latter was stating the obvious given the rash of injuries that have befallen the Ticats.

When the Ticats played the Als in Montreal last Sunday, Webb and Woodny Turenne had barely gotten to know each other.

Webb’s familiarity with Corey Chamblin’s defence was helpful to Turenne, who joined the Ticats about three weeks ago following a failed audition with the NFL’s New York Giants.

When he played in Calgary, Chamblin, Hamilton’s defensive co-ordinator, served as Webb’s defensive backs coach.

“Dee was next me for that Hamilton game and everything clicked," Turenne said. “We were on the same page on every play.”

The transition, whether one guy is making his debut in three-down football or whether one guy is making his debut with a new team, is made easier when the gameplan demands simplicity.

For the Ticats, that means sending pressure and playing man coverage in the back end.

“Pretty much everyone knows what we’re doing," Webb conceded. “For that first game, it was very elementary where you stick to the basics. What’s required is for everyone to make sure they’re on the right key and coach Chamblin simplified things as much as possible to let our talents take over and make plays.”

Hamilton would emerge with a plus-1 in the giveaway/takeaway ratio and give itself a chance in the fourth quarter, which is all a team can ask, especially when playing on the road and fielding a lineup dotted with new faces.

“We were playing the No. 1 offence, playing the No. 1 quarterback, and I thought we held our own," Turenne added. “For my first game, it was everything I expected.

“The key is to make sure your technique is right. At the end of the day, it’s still football played with different rules.”

At the end of the day, the Ticats are hoping to sort out who fits best in the defensive secondary, a unit that has taken a beating all year.

With a playoff berth now assured, the Ticats can afford to tinker with their roster, even if it means throwing the likes of a Webb and a Turenne into the line of fire.

“At the end of the day," began head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, “we’ll be a better team for it.”


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