He hasn’t performed offence since highschool however Chris Edwards nonetheless is aware of what to do when he will get his palms on a soccer.
The Toronto Argonauts linebacker/defensive again has returned each of his interceptions this season for touchdowns. He has scored 5 TDs over his five-year CFL profession, 4 coming within the final two seasons alone.
The 29-year-old native of Southfield, Mich., performed on each side of the ball (together with quarterback) rising up and in addition returned kicks. He shifted to operating again and receiver at Southfield High School earlier than changing into a full-time defensive participant upon enrolling at Idaho.
But the six-foot-two, 217-pound Edwards nonetheless relishes the chance to get into the top zone. He’s the one participant within the CFL this season to return a number of interceptions for TDs.
“I really like touchdowns,” he mentioned with an enormous smile following Wednesday’s follow. “There’s no higher feeling.”
Edwards and the Argos’ defence have made stepping into the top zone a behavior this season. Toronto has scored seven defensive TDs — 5 by way of interceptions — to stand tied for the CFL lead with the Calgary Stampeders.
The Argos report is eight, set in 1992 and tied in 2000.
“That’s the objective each time we contact the ball,” Edwards mentioned. “That (defensive TD) helps the offence and might change the sport.
“When you rating on particular groups or defence, the chances go up for your crew to win. It’s a 14-point swing, then we’re proper again on the sector and might do it once more.”
Toronto additionally boasts one of many CFL’s stingiest defences. The unit permits 20.8 offensive factors per recreation, second solely to Winnipeg (19.8).
The Argos are additionally tied with the Bombers for fewest offensive TDs allowed (27) and has compelled 43 turnovers and 81 two-and-outs, each CFL highs. Toronto defensive again Jamal Peters has a league-best six interceptions, returning one for a TD.
But whereas Peters has bragging rights when it comes to interceptions, Edwards does have extra TDs.
“There’s undoubtedly a pleasant competitors,” Edwards mentioned. “I discuss trash to them as a result of I’ve essentially the most touchdowns however (Peters) does have essentially the most picks.”
Corey Mace, a former NFL/CFL defensive lineman, is in his first season as Toronto’s defensive coordinator. Mace mentioned whereas the Argos have set returns off turnovers, he credit his gamers for having a nostril for the top zone.
“We attempt to have a designed plan for as soon as we get the turnover and the blokes have been working laborious on that since camp,” Mace mentioned. “But, actually, you will have to credit score the gamers.
“Once they get the ball into their palms, some guys have a particular expertise to get it going. We’ve been lucky sufficient to have a couple of guys take it again to the home and if we will proceed that, that is all the time a plus.”
Added Edwards: “We do play an aggressive type of defence however I really feel prefer it’s the playmakers within the room proper now. Our mentality, the brotherhood we have, the pleasant competitors. That all simply retains us going.”
But Edwards, in his second season with Toronto, credit Mace for offering extra construction to the Argos defence.
“We perceive the main points higher so we’re in a position to play sooner,” he mentioned. “That’s what I’m enthusiastic about.”
Toronto (10-6) is atop the East Division forward of the Montreal Alouettes (8-8). The two groups will finish the common season with a home-and-home collection, beginning Saturday at Molson Stadium.
The Argos want only one extra victory to cement first for a second straight yr. It would additionally safe Toronto dwelling discipline for the division remaining on Nov. 13.
“We need the 2 wins, we do not need to lose a recreation,” Edwards mentioned. “But if we get this one, we’re a step nearer to our objective.”
Montreal quarterback Trevor Harris is third within the CFL in passing yards (3,744) and has accomplished a strong 71.3 per cent of his passes. His favorite goal has been Eugene Lewis, who’s third total in receiving with 85 catches for 1,231 yards and 9 TDs.
The Alouettes are additionally ranked sixth in speeding (90.3 yards per recreation). But William Stanback, the ’21 CFL speeding chief, lately returned to the lineup.
“A man like (veteran receiver Jake Wieneke, who had 11 TD grabs final yr) does not get talked about a lot however the final couple of years he is been a dude,” Mace mentioned. “Their O-line is obstructing nicely, you’ve got received to cease the run and you’ve got to cease Trevor and Gino (Lewis).
“Any crew that may insert a Stanback into the lineup could cause issues for opposing defences. But hey, he performs for them, we play in opposition to him so our job is to cease him.”