DOUBT MY ABILITIES? BRING IT ON: DURDEN
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 - 11:00AM
Burned last week, Esks defensive back challenges Lions to throw ball his way
By Vicki Hall,
EDMONTON - Reggie Durden doesn't need to peer into a crystal football to visualize the B.C. Lions' game plan for this Friday's contest against the Edmonton Eskimos.
The strategy, no doubt, calls for Geroy Simon to match up against the beleaguered cover man. The Lions will try to catch Durden all by himself in man coverage and force him to tackle one of the most elusive receivers in the Canadian Football League.
B.C. quarterback Dave Dickenson will want to test Durden to see if the
Edmonton defensive back has overcome the most humbling outing of his career.
"I expect them to come out and try me," a brash Durden said Tuesday. "But after the first few plays, they'll stop. That's just the way the ball game is going to go. I'm letting you know."
Durden is not lacking in confidence despite being the man painted as the chief villain in a 46-10 loss to the Blue Bombers last Saturday in Winnipeg.
His message to the Lions or any fans who doubt his abilities? Bring it on. Just bring it on.
"I'm just going to go out there this week and show everybody that I can play," he said. "I mean, it's already behind me. I'm hearing about it, but it's already behind me."
Last Saturday, Winnipeg receiver Chris Brazzell slipped behind Durden cleanly three times in the first half -- twice for touchdowns. Brazzell racked up 181 receiving yards in the first half alone.
Durden, 29, calls it the worst game in his six-year CFL career.
"It's just one of those games in the life of a defensive back," he said.
"You just have to forget about it and throw it away and come back better the next week."
The five-foot-eight, 169 pounder can expect to see plenty of balls thrown his way for some time -- provided he stays in Eskimos lineup, of course.
The last Edmonton defensive back to be burned so badly was Fabian Burke. The Eskimos cut him when it became evident Burke had lost his confidence.
In this case, Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia refuses to single Durden out. He's concerned with breakdowns by the entire secondary.
"I'm not going to call anybody out," Maciocia said. "That's not how we run things around here."
The Eskimos acquired Durden from the Montreal Alouettes during the winter, along with defensive tackle Robert Brown, in exchange for Canadian cornerback Davis Sanchez.
Durden's collapse against Winnipeg came as a shock to his teammates.
"All you can do is get back on the field and prove that it was a fluke -- a one-time thing," linebacker A.J. Gass said. "He never lost the confidence of anybody in this dressing room. He knows what it's going to take to get back and gain that respect he has across the league."
Quarterback Ricky Ray figures the Lions will throw the ball Durden's way on Friday.
"I'm sure teams are going to look at that game film and think, 'Hey, maybe we need to go after this guy until he proves he can make some tackles,' " Ray said. "Once he does that, people will stop going at him."
Durden welcomes the challenge. He wants to show the league he can still cover -- and tackle -- top receivers.
"With me playing defensive back, I have to go out every week and shut guys down. I'm going out this week with the mentality of shutting guys down and holding them to no catches."
With that, Durden walked into a defensive meeting to review the game plan on how to stop Dickenson, Simon and the rest of the mighty Lions.