Special teams key to Argos playoff run

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The Toronto Argonauts boast one of the most exciting players in the Canadian Football League in Chad Owens.

His success has helped turn the team around, already notching twice as many victories as last year, with five games left in the season.

Even with the progress the team has made, Owens hasn’t embraced his personal victories to their full extent because he would like to see the team doing better.

Special teams captain Bryan Crawford thinks that if everyone on the team though like Owens, they would be better.

“He gets upset with himself when he doesn’t score or make a big play and it’s because of how much he cares about the team and the guys and winning,” Crawford said after practice on Wednesday. “That’s just a loyal teammate.

“You want a whole team of guys like him. That’s the kind of thing he brings to the team.”

The individual triumphs for Owens include four Player of the Week awards (three for special teams and one on offence) and one Special Teams Player of the Month Award.  Not to mention, he is a two-time runner-up for the weekly honour.

Owens has not only made a name for himself, but his impact has spread to other members of the Double Blue.

“It’s the belief that if you do your job, he’s going to make something happen,” Crawford said of Owens. “And sometimes when you don’t do your job he’s going to make you look good anyways. That’s what a guy like that brings.”

A guy like that also brings some excitement to a city that has seen its football team struggle in recent years.

Owens currently leads the CFL in combined yards with 2,407 and he also has the most punt return yards (759) and kickoff return yards (924). The latter total is already the fifth-most in Argonauts history, with time left to play.

But the returner doesn’t watch his numbers.

“Chad’s an incredibly passionate and caring individual,” Crawford said. “He cares about how the team does. He doesn’t care about his personal stats.”

Though the team is doing better than in previous seasons, there are opportunities still being missed. Crawford knows that with what the special teams have been able to accomplish, they can still do more.

“We’ve had some opportunities to get bigger gains, even touchdowns and we’ve left those yards on the field by not capitalizing and making small mistakes,” the captain said.

“That happens in every game but being able to make some of those small corrections can lead to that better field position or those big scores that can really change the momentum of the game and lead to wins for our team.”

Winning is especially vital for the Boatmen at this time, trying to cement a spot for themselves in the playoffs.

With their work cut out for them, Crawford feels he can continue to contribute to the team just being a leader on the field.

And with the accolades the special teams have accomplished, perhaps he should just keep on doing what he’s been doing.

“Playing hard and always leading by example are the best ways to keep guys motivated and doing their jobs,” he said.