Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Monson dealing with delay to CFL season

Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Monson dealing with delay to CFL season

Brent Monson should be preparing for the start of the 2020 CFL regular season.

Instead, the Calgary Stampeders sophomore defensive co-ordinator is trying to plan for a season that might not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the CFL plays — and that’s certainly nowhere near a given — it will be an abbreviated campaign that won’t begin until September, at the earliest.

“I prepared right away from the start of the off-season that we were starting in June so we had everything done and were ready to go,” Monson said during a video conference Wednesday. “Now what I’ve been doing is just adjusting based on what I might have, so, a week install, a two-week install, any different scenario that might come across where we might have to do.

“It’s been difficult but I’ve had the time to do it. It’s been good for me to look at the different ways to prepare and put a training camp install together.”

The CFL regular season was scheduled to kick off Thursday night with the B.C. Lions visiting the Edmonton Eskimos. Calgary was to open its ‘20 campaign Friday night hosting the Montreal Alouettes.

And like many CFL players, Monson admits he’s missing football.

“We’re supposed to play games, (the) best thing in the world is playing a football game, especially for players, coaches, all that,” he said. “Just the competitiveness of it … I was excited for the preseason games.

“We didn’t have them, so, it’s just what it is. If you’re not missing it then you shouldn’t be playing it.”

Calgary (12-6) finished second in the West Division last season, Monson’s first in charge of the defence. Following three straight Grey Cup appearances, winning in 2018, the Stampeders lost 35-14 to the eventual CFL-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West Division semifinal.

The ‘19 season was a mixed bag for Calgary’s defence. It led the CFL in forced turnovers (47) and interceptions (26) and was second in forced two-and-outs (97).

Calgary also finished third in fewest offensive points allowed (20.1 per game) but stood fourth in rushing yards allowed (96.3 per game), passing yards (250.5) and net offence (333.8). The Stampeders registered 35 sacks, tied for fifth overall with Toronto.

“To be honest I was disappointed how last season ended,” Monson said. “Winning Grey Cups is what we do and that’s what I’m here for.

“We had spurts of good play, 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 … we’re kind of chomping at the bit to play.”

An area of need this off-season was the secondary with the departures of DeShaun Amos (Green Bay Packers) and Tre Roberson (Chicago Bears) and retirement of veteran Brandon Smith. The Stampeders did pick up Branden Dozier (B.C.) and Richard Leonard (Hamilton) in free agency and re-signed cornerback Jamar Wall.

“Obviously losing those three is a huge loss, I love all three of them,” Monson said. ”(Secondary coach Josh Bell) does a great job with those guys so I’m very confident in the guys we brought in.

“We brought in guys who can play multiple spots … I’m excited about where I can put each guy because I can play with different scenarios.”

Monson, entering his 11th season as a coach with Calgary, said that’s important in the Stampeders’ defensive scheme.

“The intricacies of the coverages we play, the more you know the more valuable you are,” he said. “That’s just how it’s been even before me being the DC … the more you know, the more you can do, the better you fit in our defence.”

Calgary also looked to shore up its defensive line in the ‘20 draft. The club took defensive end Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, a six-foot-two, 250-pound native of Dartmouth, N.S., who played at Southeastern Louisiana, with the third overall selection.

Monson, a Hamilton native, gushes about Adeyemi-Berglund’s potential.

“Great player, physical, great effort all the time,” he said. “You can tell he’s a very smart player.

“(Defensive-line coach Corey Mace) will definitely work with his pass rush and we’re going to improve that area of his game. But he’s already a solid pass rusher, rushing with effort and his physicality.”

Calgary also re-signed America defensive linemen Cordarro Law (10 sacks), Mike Rose (five sacks) and Folarin Orimolade (two sacks) as well as Canadian Derek Wiggan (four sacks).

“To me, having a good pass rush is the No. 1 thing on any defence,” Monson said. “We’re just excited about the group as a whole because of the versatility they bring, the athleticism.

“We’ve got it all coming in this year.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read