Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defensive coordinator Richie Hall thinks it’s “possible” that Jackson Jeffcoat is having a better season than Willie Jefferson.
“Willie makes a lot of impactful plays and he gets a lot of recognition, which he should, but I also know that Jackson’s made a lot of impact plays and at times I don’t think he gets the recognition that he so deserves,” Hall told the media on Tuesday.
“What Jackson’s been doing, he’s been doing for the last three or four years here but for whatever reason people haven’t acknowledged it. Jackson’s just a solid player, to me one of the top defensive players in the league, and he’s finally getting the notoriety that he deserves.”
Jeffcoat has recorded 15 tackles and five sacks in seven games this season and leads the league with four forced fumbles. Jefferson has very similar numbers thus far, making ten tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception.
“They complement each other. They’re two different styles of defensive end, but they complement each other and they put pressure on you,” said Hall. “I don’t know what ‘better’ is, I just know that we got two ends that have made impact plays and they’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Hall was asked if Jeffcoat and Jefferson are the best pair of defensive ends he’s ever had on a roster. The 60-year-old has coached in the CFL since 1994 and previously worked with a number of elite pass-rushers, including Bobby Jurasin, Fred Perry, Odell Willis, and John Chick.
“I don’t want to take credit away from the guys I’ve been around before because they’ve done an outstanding job, but I also know these guys have done an outstanding job and they will continue to do an outstanding job,” said Hall. “They’re very competitive, they’re very complementary of each other, and they compete against each other.”
The veteran coach also appreciates that Jeffcoat and Jefferson are two of the team’s most influential leaders on defence, helping raise expectations for everyone else on the roster.
“They’re infectious to the other guys,” said Hall. “They work hard. They’re our leaders up front and when you can have your best ball players like those two and Adam Bighill also be your hard-working guys, it sure makes it easier to run your football team.”