There is no doubt that quarterback Mike Reilly is the leader of the Edmonton Eskimos. When he returned from injury in 2015 the team reeled off 10 straight wins, including the Grey Cup game. Reilly was named Grey Cup MVP, took a couple of weeks off then began preparing for the 2016 season. He is entering his 4th season as the Eskimos starter and is dialed in as training camp starts this weekend. “Nothing at this point in time matters other than winning the Grey Cup. I don’t care how we get it done. I don’t care if we throw for 5 thousand yards I don’t care if we throw for 2 thousand yards, if we are holding the Grey Cup up on stage at BMO at the end of the year, then we have accomplished what we set out to do. Whatever it takes to make that happen, we are going to figure out how to do it.” Reilly has been in town for almost two weeks preparing and has enjoyed his time with new head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Maas so far “The communication has been great with myself and coach Maas all off season, but to be back here in town and be able to sit down with him on multiple days and go over the structure and fine tune everything, I feel like we are already in training camp”
Reilly and the Eskimos will actually be in training camp this weekend, on the field for the first time Sunday morning.
The 31 year old Reilly won his final 10 starts last year, and you have to go back a long way to find a game that the Eskimos lost when he started and finished healthy. For the record, it was in Toronto on October 4, 2014, almost 18 months ago. The Eskimos lost 33-32 to the Argos that day and since then, have won every game that Reilly has started and been healthy in.
With a new OC, the Eskimos will run a new offence this season. Jason Maas and last year’s offensive coordinator Steve McAdoo both learned their craft from Argos coach Scott Milanovich. Maas does a few things different, like run the offence without a huddle, and Reilly is looking forward to that.
“The way that it’s operated the way that it’s executed the tempo that it’s ran at is going to be a big change from the last couple of years” Reilly says there is both risk and reward to going without a huddle “That puts a lot of stress on the defense when you do it properly, but puts a lot of stress on us as an offence right now in preparation for training camp to learn to run it efficiently. If you run a no huddle offence and don’t do it well, you put your defense in a bad scenario”
It’s a busy weekend for the Eskimos, they are on the field on Sunday after going through medicals on Saturday. Friday is also a big day as the 2015 Grey Cup rings will be presented to the team. Reilly will be collecting his second ring, but first as a starter and has a different approach to this ring ceremony “I’m excited for it, but I can’t wait to get it over with to be honest with you. I’m excited to see the ring, it’s something that I am incredible proud of, but I have put last season to bed, I am focused on this year doing the same thing with the same results.”
The Eskimos will be on the field Sunday morning at Commonwealth Stadium at 8:30 am. The Eskimos Show will air Sunday afternoon at 4 on 630 CHED with complete coverage of day one of training camp.