Secondary to none

Argos' Michael Fletcher chases down a member of the Alouettes last week. The linebacker hopes to do...

Argos' Michael Fletcher chases down a member of the Alouettes last week. The linebacker hopes to do more of the same on Saturday. (Sun Media File/Ernest Doroszuk)

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

They need a name. The Purple People Eaters had a name. The Fearsome Foursome had a name. The No-name defence had a name.

The Argos secondary needs a name.

"I'd rather have a legacy of winning Grey Cups, then we'll worry about a name," said Orlondo Steinauer, the captain and quarterback of the defensive backs and clearly too grown up to get caught up playing the name game.

"Let's see," said Byron Parker, the cornerback who is tied for the team lead in touchdowns. Not just tied with teammates Arland Bruce and Tony Miles and Andre Talbot in Toronto. Tied with Ben Cahoon in Montreal. One ahead of Geroy Simon in B.C.

"What's wrong with Chain Gang?," Parker said. "Call us the Chain Gang? We're a bunch of guys who work hard."

That sounds way too Don Cherry.

"Let me run through this for you," said Khalil Carter, the safety, who isn't shy. "We've got the Big Dipper, Byron Parker. We've got the Ripper, which is me. And we've got the (ball) Stripper, Chuck Winters. On the other side, we've got Mr. Consistency, Kenny Wheaton, we call him the Hitch Stick, like on Madden. And we've got Orlondo, the captain, our coach on the field. And on the other corner, there's Jordan Younger, the total package. Put us all together, we're a complete unit."

Names and nicknames aside, the Argos secondary can flat out play. Parker has scored four touchdowns, two on interceptions, one on a fumble return, one catching a pass on offence. Carter has two touchdowns, one on an interception return, the other on a long run after a fumble recovery was pitched to him by Michael Fletcher. Wheaton -- "Believe me, you don't want to catch a ball in front of Kenny Wheaton," Pinball Clemons said -- has one interception return for a score.

On no other team in professional football, now and maybe ever, any league, any place, have had the defensive backs scored more touchdowns than the running backs.

Combined, John Avery and Robert Edwards have half the scores Parker has.

And the four for Parker isn't anything new. He scored four last year in his first full Canadian Football League season. Clemons calls him "our Deion Sanders" without the accompanying ego.

"I consider myself the weak link in the secondary because everybody else is that good," said Parker, the one-time NCAA slam-dunk champion. "That's why I get all the interceptions. They want to throw at me. I'm still learning (after basketball). Where else they gonna throw?"

Younger may be the Argos' best defensive back and he has no interceptions, no touchdowns scored this season. Nobody talks about him. All he does is his job. "He's the best corner in the league," Parker said.

The Argos have intercepted 22 passes this season for more than 600 yards, scored on four of them, and ran back fumble returns or pitches for two more majors.

By comparison, the first-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers have eight interceptions as a team, none for touchdowns.

By comparison, their Eastern rival, the Montreal Alouettes have 16 interceptions for half the yardage and just two touchdowns.

"We're built to turn seven points into three points and we're built to give our offence good field position and all of us love to score if we can," said Carter, the self-proclaimed People's Champ, who makes the most of his time on the field by finding a way to the ball. "Nobody plays defence like we play."

"They won't admit it but they have a quiet competition amongst each other," Clemons said. "They get a little jealous of each other when one guy intercepts a pass. They all want the ball."

Not one of them will admit to that but Parker does say he has an ongoing bet with kick returner Dominique Dorsey about which player will score more touchdowns this season. The score to date: Parker 4, Dorsey 3.

The prize has yet to be established. There are three games left to find a winner and a name for the Argos secondary.


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