CFL Pass

107th Grey Cup not short on defensive playmakers

Led by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Willie Jefferson and Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ Simoni Lawrence, the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player nominees, the 107th Grey Cup will feature plenty of defensive playmakers and storylines.

The game will feature the Blue Bombers’ fifth-ranked defence in both yards (343.7 per game) and points (21.5 per game) and the Tiger-Cats’ first-ranked defence in scoring (17.9 points per game) and yards (345.1 per game). And it will feature a combined nine divisional All-Stars: three West Division All-Stars from the Blue Bombers in Jefferson and defensive backs Winston Rose and Marcus Sayles. And six East Division All-Stars from the Ticats in Lawrence, defensive linemen Dylan Wynn and Ja’Gared Davis, and defensive backs Delvin Breaux, Richard Leonard, and Tunde Adeleke.

The battle up front for Winnipeg will be led by Jefferson, who finished the year with 24 tackles, 12 sacks, six forced fumbles, and an interception. While Jefferson’s production on the line is tough for any one player to match, the Ticats have both Wynn and Davis leading their defensive attack. The two combined for 98 tackles and 24 sacks. The Ticats finished with more sacks in the regular season 54-48.

Lawrence, the Ticats’ leader in production from the linebacking corps, is also a steady presence in the defensive front seven for Hamilton. Lawrence led the league in tackles with 98 while also adding four quarterback sacks and three interceptions.

The Bombers’ linebacking corps is led by Adam Bighill and Kyrie Wilson. Bighill had a down-year in terms of production this season, but is a five-time CFL All-Star and two-time Most Outstanding Defensive Player, including winning the award last season.

There will also be plenty of playmakers in the secondary. Rose, the Blue Bombers’ All-Star cornerback, led the league in interceptions with nine. The Bombers’ were second in the league in interceptions with 24, two more than the Ticats who finished third.