The fearsome foursome

Tom Canada and his hard-hitting cohorts deserve the Fab Four moniker. (Winnipeg Sun/Chris Procaylo)

Tom Canada and his hard-hitting cohorts deserve the Fab Four moniker. (Winnipeg Sun/Chris Procaylo)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Greg Marshall arrived in Ottawa towards the end of the heydays of Capital Punishment.

That was the moniker hung on the ferocious front four that was the key to the Rough Riders' winning the 1973 Grey Cup and the Winnipeg defensive co-ordinator heard the tales of that glory when he became one of those four in the early 1980s.

"I just heard they were very good players," Marshall said yesterday. "They had two good inside people and two good guys off the edge, which is exactly what we've got."

Ron Warner and his Blue Bombers brothers are currently working on a sequel to that movie. Call the working title, Capital Punishment II, starring Doug Brown, Tom Canada, Gavin Walls and Warner as the Fab Four, with Jon Oosterhuis and Cameron Legault playing supporting roles.

"We've got to come up with our own name," Warner suggested. "But it's still early in the season."

However, it has not been too early to prove their prowess. Both Canada and Warner are tied for second in the CFL sack race with five apiece while Walls has four. And Brown is tied for third in team defensive tackles (22). These guys have also held opponents to an incredible average of 39.4-yards rushing a game, tops in the CFL (Montreal is second at 65.5).

Defensive tackles Rudy Sims and Tom Laputka, by the way, anchored the original Capital Punishment with Jim Piaskoski and Wayne Smith on the outside.

"The key for us is that Ron and Doug are a very physical inside presence in the middle so they handle a lot of things against the run and they eat up a lot of blocks," assessed Marshall. "And if (opponents) don't double-team them, they're making the play. With Gavin and Tom, they're two good guys who get up the field, have speed off the edge, have good pass-rush technique so they can get after the quarterback and make him step up. Then they've got those two big guys in the middle, pushing the pocket. So it's a very good combination," said Warner.

Canada credits defensive line coach Richard Harris.

"Coach Harris is doing an awesome job with us," he said. "He understands our strengths and he coaches us to make us better every game. Not only that, we've got great chemistry between the guys and that's very important.

"And it's fun out there. Sometimes, it's more of a competition between us to see who comes home with the most sacks or the best game. And that competition has kept elevating our play as a front four. It's just awesome to play with these guys."

Warner believes the key has been communication.

"All four of us know what we need to do to get the job done and we're in synch with everything now," he said. "This is our eighth game (versus Hamilton this Friday) and we can't do nothin' but get better.

"The thing I like about Greg is that he doesn't bring up a lot of stuff about what happened in other places. He just allows us to go out there and play smashmouth football."

But Marshall could care less about a nickname for what is becoming the best front four in the business.

"I'm happy with the way they're playing and I don't worry about names or anything like that," he said. "Just keep producing."


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