CALGARY -- Calgary Stampeders pass rush specialist Charleston Hughes had a good-natured challenge Friday morning for his counterparts on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive line.
The 10-3 Stampeders and 2-11 Bombers -- who boast the best two pass rushes in the CFL -- meet here at McMahon Stadium Saturday afternoon and Hughes said following his team’s light practice this morning that he’s looking forward to sharing the field with his rivals in Winnipeg.
"It gets you a little excited just knowing we’re considered the two best defensive lines in the league," said Hughes, before quickly adding with a smile: "Obviously we are the best defensive line in the league. You know that, right?"
Well, actually, if the gold standard statistic for measuring the efficacy of a defensive line is quarterback sacks, it’s the Bombers front-four with a narrow lead of 48-47 over Hughes and the Stamps front-four this season. Bombers defensive end Alex Hall also leads the league in sacks with 15, followed immediately by Hughes with 13.
Hughes countered that the sack numbers don’t tell the whole story. "I mean it’s obvious, man, because they pretty much rush every down," said Hughes. "As far as our defensive line goes...we don’t get that many opportunities to get sacks because we have coverage responsibilities -- covering backs, covering receivers, we line up all over the field. So that cuts our pass rushes in half, right, as defensive ends.
"That just shows how good we are -- that we take advantage of every opportunity that we get."
The Bombers are en route to Calgary and will hold their own light practice at McMahon Friday afternoon.