The Eskimos have hit some snags early in the CFL season or more specifically in their last six quarters. The team looked well on their way to a 3-1 record two weeks ago but a second half collapse vs. the Tiger-Cats followed up by a slow first half against the Bombers last week have led to two straight losses. The Eskimos will try to get back on the winning side Saturday as they visit the Ottawa REDBLACKS at TD Place in our nation’s capital.
The Eskimos find themselves with a 2-3 record which is good for only fourth place in the Western Division behind the Calgary Stampeders (4-1-1), the B.C. Lions (4-2), and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-4).
The Eskimos fell to the Bombers 30-23 last week on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. The Eskimos trailed 17-0 late in the second quarter and produced 112 net yards of offense in the first half. Quarterback Mike Reilly passed for 344 yards and threw one touchdown pass and one interception. It’s the eighth straight game he has thrown for 300 yards and is one off the CFL record of nine held by Sam Etcheverry and Kent Austin. Reilly was named a Shaw CFL Top Performer of the Week for July after passing for 1,926 yards, 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
Receiver Derel Walker caught 11 passes for 148 yards and scored his second touchdown of the season in the loss to Bombers. Walker leads the CFL in receiving yards with 642 which is the second fastest five game start in the CFL history behind Milt Stegall who recorded 645 yards in the first five game of the 2002 season. Eskimos rank first in the CFL in average passing yards per game with 385. Unfortunately their defense continues to struggle ranking second last in the league in average points allowed per game (32.5), passing touchdowns allowed (13), and last in the CFL in average passing yards allowed per game (370.8).
One lineup change for the Eskimos sees receiver Nate Coehoorn activated from the six-game injured list after missing the last two games with a concussion. Coehoorn this season has caught seven passes for 92 yards in three games played. Defensive lineman Gregory Alexandre comes out of the lineup and has been placed on the team’s one-game injured list.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running back: John White (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Tony Washington-Chris Greaves-Simeon Rottier-Matt O’Donnell-D’Anthony Batiste
Receivers: Derel Walker-Adarius Bowman-Cory Watson-Chris Getzlaf-Nate Coehoorn
Defensive Line: Marcus Howard-Eddie Steele-Almondo Sewell-Odell Willis
Linebackers: Deon Lacey-J.C. Sherritt-Kenny Ladler
Defensive Backs: Pat Watkins-Marcell Young-Neil King-Cords Parks-Solomon Means
The REDBLACKS have lost two straight games after dropping a 23-20 decision at home to the Toronto Argonauts. The REDBLACKS now have a 3-2-1 record good for second place in the Eastern Division. Quarterback Henry Burris struggled in his first game back from a pinky injury suffered in Week 1 against the Eskimos. Burris went 20 of 34 for 218 yards throwing for one touchdown and two interceptions. The REDBLACKS recorded season lows in both net yards (295) and first downs (16) in the loss. The offense recorded six two-and-outs in the second half and ran only 10 plays on the Argo’s side of the field. Quarterback Trevor Harris remains out with knee and ankle injuries, he was named a Shaw CFL Top Performer of the month for July passing for 1,499 yards and throwing nine touchdowns. Receiver Chris Williams was also named a Top Performer of the Month, he currently is second in the CFL with 625 receiving yards but 493 of those yards took place in the first three games of the season. The REDBLACKS are second in the CFL in average passing yards per game with 373.
The REDBLACKs will be without two key members of the secondary in Jerrell Gavins (knee), and Abdul Kanneh (ankle). Former Eskimo Tristan Jackson is out with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Aston Whiteside is out with injury and defensive tackle Moton Hopkins returns after missing the first six games with a fractured wrist.
The two teams met in the season opener in Edmonton on June 25 where the REDBLACKS won 45-37 in overtime.
You can hear Saturday’s game between the Eskimos and the REDBLACKS on 630 CHED starting with the pre-game show at 3:30pm. The kick-off from TD Place is 5pm with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action, with analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup Champion Blake Dermott.