Argos’ Ryan Dinwiddie believes Charleston Hughes will change the team’s identity on defence

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Toronto Argonauts’ head coach Ryan Dinwiddie believes Charleston Hughes can make a major impact with the double blue.

Hughes signed a two-year contract with the Argos prior to the opening of CFL free agency after the Saskatchewan Roughriders released him when contract negotiations broke down.

“Charleston on defence was a huge signing. I feel like he’s got at least two good years left. He’s going to change our identity on defence. I just think it all starts with the defensive line and offensive line,” Dinwiddie said on The Waggle podcast.

“Are you protecting the quarterback? Are you getting after the quarterback? And can you get there with just three, four-man pressures? Normally you gotta have a darn good defensive line, so that was a big addition for us.”

After being voted a CFL all-star by the media and head coaches in 2019, Hughes drew the ultimate sign of respect from his competitors and earned a CFL Players’ Association first-team selection. Offensive tackles have been trying to slow down Hughes for years and it hasn’t happened on a consistent basis.

The 37-year-old Hughes led the CFL with 16 sacks last season, adding 50 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown in 17 games. The six-foot-one, 246-pound pass rusher has led the CFL in sacks five times in his career: 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Hughes has played 181 career CFL games, recording 457 tackles, 130 sacks, 30 forced fumbles, three interceptions and three defensive touchdowns. During his two seasons in Saskatchewan, Hughes averaged nearly one sack per game with 31 in 34 contests.

The Argos message to the Riders for making Hughes available: thank you.