August 15th 2012
Oakville Ontario: It is definitely been a team effort this year. The Argos are looking pretty throughout 1/3 of the season over, tied for first in the eastern conference with a record of 3-3.
Even though this record may not look the best to a sports writer, heck even a fan, it’s what is under the number that matters the most. Especially when considering the Argos defense, they have greatly approved from last season, not only because of what the numbers and stats say, but also because of the team unity and work ethic.
Without out a doubt the difference between last year and this year so far is the defensive play.
As sports fans we know that confidence is a huge deciding factor with how good a team can perform, we know that the better the team feels the better the team will play.
Well take the Argos defensive team last year, add some import/veteran players, start winning games and just like magic, confidence is created. Don’t take my word for it, look at the numbers.
The Argos were a dismal 6-12 last season and their defensive play, was the worst part of the 2011 team. The defense ranked 7th in the whole league, with a pathetic ratio of 397 points for while the defense allowed 498 points against! Let’s be honest the defense was bad and the team lost their confidence.
Fast forward to 9 months or so after the end of last season and big changes were made.
Most of the success of this year’s stellar defensive effort can go to the fairly new coaching staff, credited by Scott Milanovich (head coach). A staff which made huge turnarounds in the back field bringing in veteran Robert McCune.
McCune credited the tremendous play so far this year due to not only the athletic talent of the players but their loyalty as well stating “we have athletic players who go out and do what the coaches want them to do.”
(McCune was acquired by the Argos on June 21st 2012, an experienced ball player who leads the Argos defensive squad with most tackles (30) and an outstanding 10 tackles alone against Montreal in week 5.)
Combine McCune’s experience that is easily taught to young, athletic talent such as Ahmad Carroll and the defensive squad begins to click.
Ahmad Carroll, an import player from the NFL is new to the CFL experience with only 5 tackles this year so far, but brings other talents such as speed and energy that marries McCune’s hard-nosed play to the tee.
Still nothing comes easy as McCune explains that there is a lot that goes into working well as a team, “You have to have the proper work ethic and discipline on and off the field, but also making sure you are focused and paying attention to all aspects of the game.”
As Ahmad puts it perfectly “a ninja always sharpens their sword before they go out into a battle.”
Just like a ninja Ahmad is always on his game stating “I am always prepared to go out and continue to play hard.”
So far this year the Argos defense ranks 1st in the East and solidly 4th in the entire league. An impressive ratio of 138 for and 151 against marks the start of a shaped-up defensive squad. Not to mention that the Argos defense ranks 2nd in fewest first downs, 2nd in average offence per game and 1st in lowest percentage passer completion.
So in closing even though 1/3 of the season is finished and there is a lot more games to be played, there is something to be said about this new, revamped Argos defense.
So as summer begins to wind down and as the leaves begin to turn colour look out for the Argos defence because they play hard, play fast and win games.
-Lucas Palleschi (Argo Admiral)