Steinauer pumped, Eiben deflated

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

TORONTO - Byron Parker learned plenty from Orlondo Steinauer when they were Argonauts teammates through simple observation. Now, Parker will take his cue from what Steinauer has to say.

The thinking is the Argos defence will become a lot more aggressive with Steinauer taking over as defensive co-ordinator with the firing last week of Chip Garber, and Parker, a cornerback who once had the green light to make risky plays, stands to benefit.

“I think it is a lot easier to play for a guy who has played here,” Parker said after practice on Tuesday. “Even as a teammate, you go to war for him, because I know what he did for me as a player throughout my career. Playing for him, to me it is a dream come true.”

Steinauer was promoted from defensive backs coach last Friday when Garber was released. The Argos have given up 178 points in six games, second to the 184 allowed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and are last or near the bottom in many defensive categories. Perhaps most glaring are the measly three interceptions the Argos have made (compared to a league-leading 10 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and the eight sacks recorded by the Boatmen (the Bombers lead with 25). Fact is, a defence that used to scare people isn’t anymore.

After his first full practice in his new job, Steinauer didn’t mince words.

“We have to finish,” Steinauer said. “We have had enough points, I feel, at times, but we have come up short and that is the biggest difference.

“It’s not just a defensive play. Everyone is talking about, ‘Are you going to pressure the quarterback, are you going to sit back?’ It does not matter what we do, we just have to win.”

Parker figured there will be obvious changes, but won’t know for sure what they will be until they begin to unfold against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.

“(Steinauer) made a lot of plays throughout his career,” Parker said. “So I imagine he will have our defence (pointed) in that direction. I’m sure he has something in that lab that a lot of players, including myself, have not seen.”

Parker said he spoke to Garber and apologized to him after head coach/general manager Jim Barker made the decision to go with Steinauer.

“I talked to him personally and I apologized for letting him down individually and collectively as a team,” Parker said. “As a veteran, I thought I could have pushed guys a little bit harder. Stein is here and we want to make sure that does not happen two times in a row.”

EIBEN LOST FOR SEASON

Another day, another blow for the Argonauts’ linebacker corps.

Kevin Eiben, an 11-year veteran, won’t play again in 2011 after suffering a torn pectoral muscle against the Montreal Alouettes last Thursday.

Eiben was scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday night. He joins fellow non-import Jason Pottinger, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener, on the sideline for the remainder of the season.

“It’s difficult any time you lose Canadians, or two of the top in the league,” Argos head coach Jim Barker said. “There are not a lot of teams that can absorb that, and I felt like our Canadian depth was much better this year. It’s not easy to just go out and replace Pottinger and Eiben. You just don’t do it.”

Import Jordan Younger is the lone starter who is still on the roster. Anthony Cannon will return this week from a quad/groin pull, and Ejiro Kuale has been sharp in taking over from Pottinger. Tristan Black also is in the picture.

When Eiben was hurt, Barker put on his general manager’s hat and plucked non-import Chris Smith off the B.C. Lions’ practice roster. Smith will play on special teams against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium and will be eased into a defensive role.

Smith, who will wear No. 29, was released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before the Lions picked him up.

“It has been a rough month not being able to play after the season I had last year (with Winnipeg), so it’s nice to be back on a roster and hopefully I can finally prove to everyone I can play,” Smith, a Toronto native and a Queen’s grad, said.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

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