June 26, 2022

Lions Defence Reaching New Heights To Begin 2022

The numbers through two games are staggering. Nine forced turnovers, 18 points allowed and just one touchdown surrendered in 26 total series.’ Making plays at the most opportune moments has also been their mantra, with Saturday’s first-quarter goal-line stand serving as the best example.

What’s more noteworthy for this vastly improved Lions defence is the fact they believe they can only get better week by week.

So yes, it’s time to put some more respect on this defensive unit. Garry Peters spoke about the overall vibes following the 44-3 dismantling of McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night. A dominating performance where they held the Argos to 242 yards of total offence.

“Our defence, we’ve got a lot of veteran guys,” Peters explained.

“Last year we had a lot of young guys from the d-line, all the way back into the secondary. Across the board, we don’t really have first-year guys playing except Quincy Mauger and he’s way ahead of his time, too. He’s always working hard. You can tell it’s a veteran presence and we expect to win every time we step on the field.”

It’s also a credit to co-GMs Neil McEvoy and Rick Campbell for going out and addressing some major needs in the offseason, even if key signings Steven Richardson and Woody Baron on the defensive line remain out with their injuries. Defensive line returnees Obum Gwacham and Josh Banks have done more than their share along with the likes of Simone Teuhema, David Menard and Mathieu Betts who were also brought in as part of the free agency makeover.

It has all added up to a closer bond between the entire unit, specifically with Peters and his comrades in the secondary. It’s still very early, but you can already sense it’s a different vibe and a whole new excitement, especially off the field.

“It’s a lot of continuity I can say in the locker room,” Peters added.

“All the guys are hanging out all the time. A guy like Loucheiz brings the DBs together all the time. He wants us to eat together, watch film together and that started in camp. We’re in a little room, ten of us watching film until 10- 11 ‘o’clock at night. Those are the things we did not do last year. Coming into this year, you can tell the difference in what guys want to do and the bigger goal of winning. No one on our team is selfish, no one cares about scoring touchdowns or getting the interception. We’re all happy for each other, no matter what. We’re not satisfied. We want to get better every day.”

We were already stoked to see what the tweaked secondary could accomplish with the likes of Delvin Breaux Sr. and Loucheiz Purifoy among those brought in to complement the group led by Peters, TJ Lee and company. You would have to forgive some Lion fans if they have visions of another ‘Lockdown U’ dancing around in their heads. Defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips has also challenged them to enjoy their moments of success. Case in point: the Peters piano playing celebration with TJ Lee as his piano stand.

“We pride ourselves in practising our celebration. We practiced that a couple of times in camp. RP is so cool and he’s like, ‘if you all don’t celebrate, I’m going to be mad at you all.’ Just to have a coach like that who is going to have your back no matter what, just makes it easier to play more freely. The game is supposed to be fun and that makes it more fun for us,” added Peters.

The celebration will be short-lived. It’s now on to Ottawa and a tough matchup Thursday off a short week.