He doesn’t know what he has and won’t start to figure it out until training camp starts on May 29th, but new Eskimos head coach Jason Maas does know what kind of a team he has on paper a month before that camp starts. “We are athletic, we are a big team, they are winners – they finish, there is a lot of character in our locker room.” says the first year head coach “We have a core group that I believe will allow us to be successful this year”
The offence should be fine, it starts with quarterback Mike Reilly, who if he is not the best QB in the CFL is certainly the QB playing the best in the CFL. The O line returns in tact, Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker will lead the receivers, and John White is set to return at running back after missing last year with his achilles injury. There will be new faces too, like Chris Getzlaf or NFL recruits Jacoby Ford and Joe McKnight who both seem anxious to play.
The questions for the Eskimos in 2016 will be on defence. The Green and Gold have some holes to fill after losing linebacker Dexter McCoil, DB Aaron Grymes and defensive end Willie Jefferson to the NFL, along with linebacker Otha Foster who followed head coach and DC Chris Jones to Saskatchewan.
Deon Lacey will be part of the answer on defence. GM Ed Hervey says they just aren’t sure where yet. “We’re going to give Deon an opportunity to see what’s the best fit for Deon” said Hervey of the 25 year old West Alabama grad “He has excelled on special teams and now is the time to establish himself at one position”
Hervey hints that he is first in line for the will linebacker spot vacated by McCoil, but he also has good pass rush ability and could be a fit on the d-line. That’s for the coaches and training camp to figure out.
Maas knows there are holes to fill especially in the secondary “Ultimately it will be a battle at every position to make sure we have the right fit. We have lost a couple of guys in the secondary and that’s the battle that everyone will pay attention to but we are all competing for jobs”.
Maas may be new at head coaching, he is not new at football and he is not new to Edmonton, so a month out from training camp, he knows what he wants in his team when the season starts
“I want a competitive team, I want an intelligent team, I want a team that can protect the quarterback and protect the ball and limit penalties.” Maas adds that there is more to playing on the Eskimos than just those attributes.
“The character on our team is what Edmonton is all about. I want a good group of guys that enjoy each other in the locker room and are respectful in the community and are respectful to the coaches and players themselves. Its the other core values that I believe separate the Edmonton Eskimo players.”
Its the Eskimo way.