June 10, 2020

Quotables: Defensive Coordinator Brent Monson

CALGARY, AB - JULY 18, 2019: The Calgary Stampeders won 26-16 against the Toronto Argonauts at McMahon Stadium on Thursday night. (Photo by David Moll/Calgary Stampeders)

Stampeders Defensive Coordinator Brent Monson had the opportunity to speak with the media Wednesday morning about the Red & White’s defensive outlook, preparations for the 2020 campaign, and more.

Here’s what he had to say about the upcoming season:

On the status of the defensive line:

“We’ve had good reports on how the guys are doing coming back off injury. And obviously we signed Connor McGough who I like as a player. He’s very versatile, athletic and strong. Then the Americans we have coming in, we have a lot of new guys we are confident in. The scouts have done a great job with the coaches and the American guys we have signed that we can evaluate here shortly are just solid football players. We have a mix of a lot of different types of players we can pick from. I haven’t been more excited about a D-line in a long time.”

On the 2020 first-round pick, Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, and competition for positions:

“Isaac is a great player, he’s physical and has great effort all the time. You can tell he’s a very smart player, too. Corey Mace will definitely work with his pass rush, and we’ll improve that area of his game. He’s already a solid pass-rusher with his physicality. But everyone is kind of in the same ballpark where its competition, the best players will play. He’s got tools, McGough has got a lot of tools and so do the Americans.”

On the excitement of this year’s group:

“To me, having a good pass rush is the number-one thing on any defence and we focused a lot this off-season on that. The scouts did a great job – and coaches – trying to find those difference makers. We’re just excited about the group as a whole because of the versatility, athleticism and size they bring. We’ve got it all coming in this year. This is one of the best groups I’ve seen in a while.”

On losing star defensive backs DaShaun Amos, Tre Roberson, and Brandon Smith:

“Losing those three is a huge loss. I love all three of them, I hope they do well and I hope Smitty enjoys his retirement. But we have Richard Leonard, Brandon Dozier, we’ve signed guys. We’ve also got some good rookies coming in and Josh Bell does a great job with those guys, so I’m very confident.

“We brought guys in that can play multiple spots. We have guys that we like their versatility, just like up front, and I’m excited about where I can put each guy because I can play with different scenarios. The key signings, those helped for sure. We just have to see the guys coming back and how they’ve grown and fit them in accordingly.”

On returning players:

To me, Derek Wiggan and Cordarro Law have been leaders on the D-line for a while. Wiggan knows the whole defence, he could probably tell you what the free safety has got to do on every play. And Law is just the leader of the whole defence. They’re demeanor and their value to our defence is great. They know everything, they help rookies along … and they’ll continue to do that.”

“As for defensive backs, we have Robertson Daniels, Jonathan Moxey is another, and Lorenzo Jerome returning. We have multiple guys we’re excited to see again. They took strides last year, some of them were hit my injury but we’re confident in those guys, too.”

On preparing for a CFL season during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I prepared right away from the start of the off-season that we’d be starting in June. Everything is done and ready to go. But I have been adjusting based on what I might have … I’ve been preparing for all different scenarios. We’ve been breaking down and studying opponents and doing scouting reports but also changing my install based on how much time we might have … It has been difficult but I have had the time to do it. It’s been good for me to look at the different ways to prepare and different ways to put a Training Camp install together.”

On Canada West shelving football for 2020:

“The main thing I’d be questioning is the development of those players. If a guy were to go back to school, how that’s going to work out? I have no idea. But I can see that being a difficult scenario. If a guy had to go back to school, does he get his last year? How does that work? It is challenging though, especially for the kids. That’s the main concern I have is they don’t get football for a year. I know I’d be devastated.”

On heading into his second season as defensive coordinator:

“Going into this year I was just excited to do better. To be honest, I was disappointed in how last season ended. Winning Grey Cups is what we do, and that’s what I’m here for. I wasn’t satisfied with how we played last year …. We did well sometimes but we need to finish more. We need to do better in 2020. I’ve just been grinding away, the coaches have been grinding away, and we’ve been chomping at the bit to play.”