Argos D finally pulling together
By Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency
|Argos linebacker Ejiro Kuale takes down running back Wes Cates of the Roughriders on Saturday in Regina. (Reuters)
Moral victories are often reserved for losing teams, achievements that go unnoticed in the bottom-line world of pro sports.
For the Argos, a team that has now lost nine games to match last season’s total, it could be found on the defensive line of scrimmage in the wake of Saturday’s 30-20 loss in Regina.
Something was clearly amiss from a unit that must set the tone, a deficiency head coach Jim Barker addressed when he challenged players such as Kevin Huntley and Claude Wroten early in the week.
“We grew in so many ways as a front four and as a front seven,’’ Huntley said. “We played together and we executed our assignments.”
Except for a few occasions when Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant was able to break containment, but the Argos kept him in check.
For the second week in a row, an opposing quarterback was able to rush for a long gain up the middle, primarily due to a back angle of pursuit taken by an Argos defender.
Huntley would record a sack, Ricky Foley registered a sack, pressure was applied, but it was still not enough to get the Argos over the hump.
“Bottom line is that we played together,’’ Huntley said. “Winning is much more important, but at the same time, having a cohesiveness as a group can take you far.”
Huntley believes the Argos have tried to do too much on their own.
“When you start losing and you have so many guys who are great players, they want to make plays,’’ added Huntley. “You take chances and you try to do different things instead of being sound in your assignment.
“You have to trust the guy next to you in what he’s supposed to do.”
Jason Pottinger, who made his unlikely return from a season-opening knee injury, recorded three tackles against Saskatchewan.
Pottinger’s presence at middle linebacker allowed Ejiro Kuale to move over to weak-side linebacker, recording nine tackles and one vicious hit on Durant just as the Roughriders quarterback released the football.