MISSISSAUGA – Argonauts wide receiver John Chiles understands the importance of a strong relationship between a quarterback and his receivers. After all, the 24-year-old CFL rookie has been on both sides of the spectrum, playing as an All-American quarterback in high school and making the transition to receiver in college.
Fresh off of his first career CFL start last week in Winnipeg, Chiles says he is still adjusting to his new life north of the border but is confident that with further experience he will be able to flourish within the Argonauts’ offensive system.
“Getting more reps will get me more comfortable with the position and with the quarterbacks,” commented Chiles following a team walk-through session earlier this week. “The more you do anything, the more comfortable you’re going to get with it so I definitely feel more comfortable with the reps this week, especially after last week and studying with the coaches.”
Chiles tallied 76 yards on just three receptions in his CFL regular season debut, a rather impressive performance for a young man that prior to six weeks ago, had no previous experience with Canadian football.
“I think the terminology took (some time),” said Chiles reflecting upon his transition from the NFL to the CFL. “Here in Toronto and the CFL, we just say it differently so I’ve been in different places where we have the same concepts, even within college, but we word it differently.”
With wide receiver Dontrelle Inman slated to miss his second consecutive game due to a leg injury, Chiles will likely remain in the Argonauts’ starting line-up this week as the Double Blue host the B.C. Lions at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.
“Dontrelle (Inman) will not be playing this week,” confirmed Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich on Sunday afternoon. “I think he (John Chiles) is going to be more comfortable in the game this week because he had a start last week.”
Chiles’ biggest weapon is his speed. While attending one of the Argos’ tryout camps in Florida this past off-season, Chiles recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.23 seconds, an awe-inspiring display of pure athletic ability that Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich had never experienced before.
“John is fast”, Milanovich said referring to Chiles’ skill set.
The six-foot-two, 209-pound wide receiver is well aware of his world-class speed and acknowledges the importance of utilizing his quickness in order to gain a competitive edge against opposing defensive backs.
“As a receiver you have to hurt them with your speed. Last week against Winnipeg, the defensive back was playing a little bit off so I knew I had to come off the ball hard”, stated Chiles, specifically referring to his emphatic 55-yard reception in the second half of last week’s game. “I definitely use it to my advantage to get up on the defender a bit earlier than he expects and make a play from there.”
A native of Dallas, Texas, Chiles also attended the University of Texas where he played three years as a member of the Longhorns football program. As a freshman, Chiles was named the University of Texas’ Most Outstanding Offensive Newcomer at the quarterback position. It was prior to the 2009 college season that Chiles made the transition to wide receiver as highly touted quarterback prospect Colt McCoy entered the campaign following a sensational junior year that saw him earn the Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honours.
After the conclusion of his collegiate football career, Chiles spent one full season in the NFL where he participated in 2011 training camp with the New Orleans Saints and later inked a contract to be on the St. Louis Rams practice roster.
In terms of adjusting to the hectic hustle and bustle lifestyle that comes with living in Toronto, Chiles says he is embracing the experience and is particularly enjoying the cultural diversity within the city.
“I love Toronto. It’s a nice city, real cool environment. All the different cultures and parts of the city, I have a great appreciation for that,” said Chiles. “I go downtown sometimes to have dinner or walk around, just being able to see the various cultures and the people are great. The people are fun and friendly. I’m really liking it.”
As for his performance on the football field, Chiles understands that there are no guarantees in professional football and therefore, he is doing everything in his power to ensure that he makes the most of this opportunity with the Argonauts.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time and focusing on each day,” said Chiles. “All that work on a daily (basis) plays a factor in me being successful.”
“He’s a rookie that’s getting his feet wet but he seems to be getting better every week,” added head coach Scott Milanovich. “Last week, you saw him drop a ball but he came back and kept his composure. Those are good things that show he can make the critical plays (when required).”