Brown breaks free

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

There's a reason why Doug Brown is well on his way to establishing a career-high sack total.

It's the man lining up beside him.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive line coach Richard Harris believes Brown's fellow tackle, Jerome Haywood, is the reason why the 6-foot-7, 290-pound behemoth has four sacks already this season.

The most quarterback drops the Simon Fraser grad had in a CFL season was seven, and that happened in his rookie year of 2001. Teams have double-teamed Brown ever since, so it hasn't been a fair fight.

Until now.

"The man beside him is really helping him out," Harris said. "Jerome is a little pack of dynamite, and where people last year could double team Doug and be comfortable with it, they can't right now.

DOUBLE TEAM

"Because if they double team Doug, Jerome gets loose, or if they double team Jerome, then Doug gets loose. So he's been a welcome addition on the inside."

Brown has had his fair share of partners on the D-line over the years. There were some good ones, like Denny Fortney, Eric Wilson and Joe Fleming, but there were others, like Melvin Bradley, Dante Booker, Cam Legault and Nate Davis, who didn't exactly instill enough fear in the opponent that they had to be double-teamed.

The Brown-Haywood combo was put together in Week 2 after Davis struggled in the season-opener. Brown has been much more noticeable since.

"Doug always plays well as it is, but right now he's been able to play with a little bit more freedom than he has in the past," Harris said.

While the 32-year-old isn't getting too worked up about his sack total -- "It's nothing to get excited about; it's only Week 6," he said -- but he does admit that having Haywood next to him is working wonders.

"It's great," Brown said. "He's a guy who, if you leave him alone in terms of your blocking assignments, is gonna get there. ... That can free me up a little bit if they pay a lot of attention to him, which they did last game."

Brown had three tackles, including one sack, in Friday's 36-18 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and the Bombers are tied for second in the CFL with 16 sacks.

Brown, who was the East Division's outstanding Canadian player last season, might even be playing better this year. Harris couldn't be happier that Brown now has the freedom to show off his impressive skills.

"I told him at the beginning of the year I wanted eight or 10 out of him, and he's just about halfway there right now. It could get to be more," Harris said. "The addition of someone like Jerome, who plays really hard and commands the attention that he does, then it puts Doug in a position to be one-on-one.

"And if you're one-on-one, I'll take Doug over any offensive lineman in the league at any time."


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