Argos' D flies under radar

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

With all the quarterback talk -- from who starts to who is injured -- dominating the Argos season thus far, yet another fine Double Blue defensive corps is being almost overlooked.

And depending on whom you talk to, this could be the finest defensive unit the Argos have assembled in quite some time.

Linebacker Kevin Eiben certainly believes it is.

"There's no question that this is the best Toronto team I've played on since I became an Argo," Eiben said, "and I think this is the best defence we've had in seven years."

Safety Orlondo Steinauer agrees with Eiben's initial statement, but he's not as sure this is the best defence he has played on in Toronto. Like Eiben he's in his seventh year with the Argos and while he believes this defensive unit is a very strong group, he won't say it's better than the 2004 group that won a Grey Cup.

"I think what has really made us better this year is the rest we are getting," Steinauer said. "We're playing a lot less plays. We've scored in the past as a team but we didn't really control the ball (on offence). We didn't really work together as a team. For example, if we are up 14-0 in the third, our offensive co-ordinator is going to hand the ball off and run some clock. Before we had the concept of keep airing it out. We'd have some possessions of just six seconds. So the biggest difference, for me, is the offence is moving the ball and controlling the ball and contributing to our success."

Incoming offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto and offensive assistant coach Bill Diedrick gets the credit for that, according to Steinauer.

A good strong defence is not new for the Argos. Steinauer can't recall the defence being anything but sound although he says it has really only been consistently strong for the past three years, all of them under defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler.

So far this season, opposing offences are averaging just 221 yards a game.

In three games, the Argos defence has allowed just three touchdowns and only 30 points combined, an average of 10 a game. All of those marks lead the league.

"Do I think we'll be able to do this the whole year?," Steinauer asks. "Of course not. It just doesn't happen like that. But coach Stubler has added some new wrinkles and the addition of Adriano Belli in the middle to stop the running game, that's a significant difference."

Steinauer refuses to get too excited about anything just yet.

"It's all about the games after Labour Day," Steinauer said.

"Teams need to find their identity now and just learn to peak at the right time. That's what I think we're doing."

Eiben, though, doesn't need to wait until Labour Day to make his prediction.

"We're going to the Grey Cup (which will be played in Toronto) and we're going to win it," he said.


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