Riders tackle talks about three toughest foes

Great defensive ends come in all shapes and sizes.

Riders right tackle Thad Coleman joined the Sports Cage on Monday to talk about three of the toughest defensive ends he faced during the 2019 season. No surprise who was the first one we discussed.

1. Willie Jefferson, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

“Willie is very athletic,” says Coleman. “Fortunately he didn’t get anything on me but he makes you elevate your game.

“He’s got this jump step to the inside that you might think you’re blocking him–you might think you got hands on him–but his jump step to the inside, he can clear five yards easy. The guy’s just an all-around player. He’s definitely top.”

In 2019 Jefferson set a CFL record for pass knockdowns (16). Coleman says it’s on the offensive lineman to keep Jefferson from standing back and swatting balls out of the sky.

“When Willie stops his rush I know what he’s thinking. And that’s one of the main things…you gotta go grab him, you gotta get his hands down, you gotta do anything. You gotta cut him, take his legs out…something. You can’t let him stand there because he’s either going to knock the ball down or he’s going to get an interception.”

2. Ja’Gared Davis, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Ticats star finally got double-digit sacks in 2019, finishing with 13. Davis was second in the CFL in QB pressures, putting him in the top-four for a third straight season.

“He’s definitely talented,” says Coleman. “He’s got a little wiggle with him, he’s got a little shake with him that gives people problems. You gotta stay square on him. You can’t over-kick him because he’s got a nice inside move. He’s definitely in the top three. He’s got a little power that you wouldn’t think–he’s quietly strong.”

3. Chris Casher, Calgary Stampeders

Casher had seven sacks on the season, three against the Riders. On one he beat Coleman one-on-one. On another, Coleman was assigned to block Casher, but wasn’t at fault for the sack.

“He’s got a good motor and I think a couple games that he played against us, the first game he got a couple sacks because of his motor. When the quarterback takes off, (Casher’s) running. He’s not one of those guys that’s just going to look and watch. He’s going to try to chase you down from the back. You gotta continue blocking him throughout the whole whistle.

“You can’t just punch him and think he’s going to stop rushing. He’s one of those guys you gotta get your hands on and hold him until the whistle’s blown.”

To hear Coleman’s full analysis, plus his hopes for free agency, listen to the Sports Cage on Demand.


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