Search and destroy

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

While Barrin Simpson's off-season gig as a minister has him delivering uplifting messages, he's all about bringing 'em down once he gets into battle gear.

Selected as the CFL's defensive player of the week for the second straight time, Simpson led Winnipeg with 11 tackles, an interception and a sack in the Bombers 36-18 triumph over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Friday.

The Minister of Defence leads the CFL in tackles with 42 in five games, eight ahead of Hamilton's Zeke Moreno.

"That's a reflection of the way the whole defence is playing," Simpson said about being honoured in back-to-back weeks.

"When you look at it, the guys that directly affect my play is the defensive line, so those guys are playing great up front. It always makes the linebacker's job easier."

Simpson has arguably been the best player on the defensive side on the ball for Winnipeg this season.

But with the Milt Stegall touchdown chase being in the spotlight over the first five weeks of the season, the defence has quietly done its thing. That's how Simpson prefers it.

"What counts is getting those W's," said the 5-foot-11 linebacker, who's on pace for over 150 tackles this season, which would smash the team record of 124 set by Greg Battle in 1989 and the league record of 129 established by Toronto's Calvin Tiggle in 1994.

Simpson had 110 tackles last year and was the runner-up as most outstanding defensive player.

NO HARD FEELINGS

"I don't need to get any glory. I just want to win. We're 3-1-1 right now. ... There's no hard feelings about anything. I'm just glad we're winning. When you win, everything else will take care of itself."

Winnipeg's linebacking crew of Simpson, Cam Hall and Corey Jenkins have meshed well through the first part of the season, especially given the fact Jenkins and Hall are CFL rookies. The trio is 1-2-3 in tackles for the Bombers.

"We knew we had talent there, it was just Cam and Corey getting used to playing in the CFL game and their talent was going shine. That's what's happened," Simpson said.

"I've been in this defence a year longer than they have, so I can give them a heads up on certain plays or certain things that are going to happen that our opponent is going to try to do to us."

Hall, who has 23 tackles this season, says Simpson is the hub of the Bombers' defence.

"I think everyone on defence feeds off Barrin a little bit," Hall said. "Having a guy like that in the middle, he has a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge, too. We definitely try to take a page out of his book and follow him as best we can."

It's the sort of thing that doesn't show in the stats, but is equally, if not more, important.

"That's the responsibility of the middle linebacker," Simpson said. "You have to know what's going on, first with your aspect of the game and then you have to know your opponent so you can give guys the heads up."

With two of the three being rookies, Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry is looking for the trio to only get better as the season moves along.

"The longer we get into the season, the better and more seasoned these guys are going be," Berry said.


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