'Special' treatment for Owens

Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

No matter how many touches he gets on special teams, Chad Owens’ mentality is to always produce something special.

Along the sideline, middle of the field, forced to retreat or attacking a short punt, Owens is a playmaker who views each opportunity as a chance to provide field position or a score.

Given how explosive he emerged in his first season as an Argo, it was expected opponents this season would pay closer attention to Owens, who gets the ultimate respect when teams are afraid to punt his way.

This week’s opponent, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, even changed their cover schemes when the Argos visited the ’Peg two weeks ago.

Normally, punter Mike Renaud would hold for Justin Palardy on field goal attempts. Only this time, the Bombers had another defensive back, Jovon Johnson, perform those duties. It was an experiment that resulted in two misses, however, when Johnson had the pigskin’s laces pointed away from the line of scrimmage and not at it.

“Teams are going to do that and I expect that,’’ Owens said of Winnipeg’s strategy to have an extra cover guy on the field. “Having said that, it shouldn’t change the result we want from the return game.

“We expect to be a dominant special teams in this league. I’m not worried about it. It’s just a matter of everyone executing their assignment and me getting the ball and doing what I do. For me, it’s being relaxed and having fun out there. That’s when I’m at my best. It’s my mentality.”

In a pass-happy league, the Argos have yet to establish any aerial game. On a team that features a solid defence, they need their special teams to score and for Owens to be that catalyst.

After three weeks, the Argos haven’t scored more than 23 points in any game.

Last week in Montreal, Owens finally broke loose for a long return, quickly responding to an Als touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff 89 yards, a play that would result in an Argos major.

Ideally, Owens wants to return every punt or kickoff for a touchdown. Realistically, even providing the Argos with field position would be welcome at a time when the team’s offence continues to struggle.

When he threw out the opening pitch at the Blue Jays-Mariners game on Tuesday at the Rogers Centre, Owens, who played baseball while growing up in Hawaii, described the throw as a straight fastball.

It was fitting because that basically describes his running style on special teams — straight up the field and fast.

COSTLY HIT

The CFL announced Wednesday that Alouettes defensive end Kitwana Jones was fined an undisclosed amount while making a tackle on Owens last Friday. It was deemed Jones lowered his head and led with his helmet, which made primary contact with Owens’ helmet on a return.


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