Thurman playing like a veteran
Linebacker dominant complement to partner Singleton, writes Danny Austin
There’s nobody with a better understanding of how productive Jameer Thurman has been this season than Alex Singleton.
The two have formed a linebacker partnership for the Calgary Stampeders that has often alternated between dominant and, well really, really dominant.
Singleton, the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player, gets to see first hand just how much Thurman contributes, and he’s not entirely sure why his partner in crime isn’t being talked about as one of the league’s best.
“I think Thurm’s very underrated,” Singleton said. “He makes all the right plays, he makes all the right reads and he doesn’t miss any tackles. To have a guy like that execute the way he does, unless he’s talked about like he’s one of the best in the league, he’s very underrated.”
It’s a little tough to know where to begin when we talk about Thurman.
It’s not like he’s suddenly broken through and has grown into his role as a pivotal piece of the Stamps defence.
Thurman did that last year, when he finished his rookie season with 52 defensive tackles, 13 special teams tackles, one sack and two interceptions. Those are veteran numbers, and Thurman was a huge part of the Stamps defence as they stopped everyone in their tracks on the way to playing in the Grey Cup.
This year, the 23-year-old — no, really, he’s 23! — has picked up right where he left off.
Through eight games as the Stampeders’ starter, Thurman has 31 defensive tackles, 11 special teams tackles and one interception.
He’s also formed a partnership with Singleton that might be the best in the CFL.
“They always have a beat on what’s going on,” said Stamps linebacker coach Brent Monson. “(Thurman) studies real hard, he’s real good at film study, understands his opponent, he’s always taking care of his body and is always in tip-top shape. He’s got a high-level knowledge about the game and he and Alex just communicate really well and talk things out. They come in early and do extra stuff.”
Given his age and the impact he’s having on the field, Thurman seems like he could be a candidate for an NFL job next season.
That’s a question for the offseason, though. For now, Thurman is proving week-in and week-out that he’s an invaluable piece of this 7-1 Stampeders team, both on defence and on special teams.
“Week-to-week, I think (linebacker) is a strength of our team. Jameer also had four special teams tackles (against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last weekend), so he’s doing a lot for us,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “I think the linebacker position is very strong, as it is for the entire league.
“Jameer doesn’t say a lot, but he consistently performs.”
Maybe that consistency is why Thurman isn’t getting the recognition he deserves on a national scale. In essence, he’s doing exactly what everybody has come to expect of him after only less than two seasons.
“Honestly, it’s just what he’s been doing for the last year and a half,” Singleton said when he was asked to explain why he and Thurman have been so effective. “I think it’s just playing together, we don’t need to communicate as much between plays, we just know what we’re going to do. We still communicate, but having that unspoken communication having played with each other for over a year I think it just makes things easier for both of us.”
Linebacker Jameer Thurman has evolved into a key component in the success of the Calgary Stampeders’ defence this season. “Jameer doesn’t say a lot, but he consistently performs,” says coach Dave Dickenson.