Bulked up Reilly predicts turnaround year for Esks | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
Mike Reilly Off-Season Update


EDMONTON -- His body healed from all the punishing hits he took last season, bulked-up quarterback Mike Reilly returned to Edmonton this week excited and confident that 2014 will be a much better year for the Eskimos.

"I started workouts about two weeks into the off-season,'' the 29-year-old said at an early morning availability session Wednesday.

"The plan was to bulk up, to get to 225, 230 (pounds) which is where I was at in 2011 and I felt good at that playing weight. That's where I am now.''

The six-foot-three Reilly started last season - his first as a starter in the CFL - at 215 pounds and was down to about 205 by the end of the season that saw the Eskimos finish in fourth place in the West Division. He took the vast majority of the 60 quarterback sacks the team gave up.

He stopped hurting a couple of weeks after the season ended and immediately began plans to bulk up.

"I think the weight is an advantage, as long as I can still move, which I can,'' he said. "I made sure the weight I've gained has been in the right way and the athleticism hasn't been lost so I feel good about it.

"In the pocket if you weigh more it takes more of a hit to knock you off your path. If you stay in the pocket you get bumped and pushed around a little bit while you're trying to make a throw downfield and I think it will help me in the pocket and make me more durable. Last year I started 18 games and that's hard to do and it's my goal this year as well.''

He started every game despite all the brutal punishment he took that included suffering a concussion from a hit Sept. 28 in Toronto. He completed 305-of-512 passes (59.6 per cent) with 24 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and an 89.1 rating. He also ran for 709 yards, most by any quarterback and fifth best in the CFL.

His off-season included spending time in Montana with his parents, in New York with his girlfriend and touring Ireland in January, his first time off the continent.

He also spent time working out Eskimos receivers and will do more of that in Edmonton this week, later this month in Toronto and in early April in Houston. Those workouts, however, are pretty basic until the players receive a playbook from the Eskimos new coaching staff that is headed by Chris Jones, who replaced Kavis Reed in the off-season.

Reilly spoke to all the coaches on the phone and said from everything he's heard so far "it definitely seems like their direction is something I'm excited about.''

That direction includes better protection for himself.

"There are a number of ways it can happen,'' he said. "There's a number of things that go into it: pass protection, your run game, your screen package, quick passing game as well as play action to keep the defences on their heels a bit.

"We did some good things last year but we obviously had some glaring deficiencies to work on a that's stuff we're going to clean up early in camp. I expect it to be quite a different scenario next season in terms of offence.''

However, he added, it's still football and that means he is going to get hit. But he's confident that with the new coaches, a new offensive scheme and the player changes on the offensive line that won't happen as often.

"There's a lot of things we learned last season, that I learned personally and I think this team as a whole can take as positives,'' he said. "Even the negatives, you learn more from them than the positives so we learned a lot, unfortunately. But that should help this season.

"I think we're a playoff team. Anything short of that is a bad season for anybody. I don't care what happened the year before, in this league there's so much parity that teams go up and down so drastically sometimes. But it's a whole new season a we have 18 games to play and we have as good a chance as anyone to win those games.''

Fan Comments
Still no Glenn, but Pat White was signed! So much for Glenn in Edmonton.

5 QB's in camp:

White, Pat QB Import 6.00 190 1986-02-25 West Virginia
Crompton, Jonathan QB Import 6.04 225 1987-07-25 Tennessee
Reilly, Mike QB Import 6.03 215 1985-01-25 Central Washington
Harris, Jacory QB Import 6.04 195 1990-05-12 Miami
Nichols, Matt QB Import 6.02 225 1987-03-19 Eastern Washington
March 28, 2014 - 11:32pm
Maybe the Esks are going to rise but who is behind Reilly? Could use some experience back there. QBs take a pounding in the pros. Look what Kerry Joseph did and for Calgary look what Kevin Glenn did for them.
March 15, 2014 - 2:56pm
Matt Nichols & Johnathon Crompton. The Esks feel they are set!
March 16, 2014 - 2:35am
als rule
@BB99: NO the eskimos don't feel their set BUT you do!! depending on where GM hervey is with his salary cap numbers, what ottawa wants for KG, the option will remain on GM hervey's desk to sign KG!! 1-reilly, 2-KG, 3-nichols, 4-crompton!! all teams carry at least 4 QBs for the entire season so acquiring KG isn't so far fetched!!
March 16, 2014 - 12:17pm
Hervey has already said the Esks are set QB with:


The Esks will NOT sign Glenn, any suggestion that they will is a pure fabrication.
March 16, 2014 - 2:22pm
The advantage of this time of the year while we are all waiting for teams to get on the field is that every team can be optimistic about the possibility of getting to the Grey Cup. Bring it on!
March 13, 2014 - 3:06pm
Edmonton and Reilly seem to be on the right track to have a better season. There were flashes of being a good team last year, but far from enough. The only way for them to go is up! Good luck!
March 13, 2014 - 10:36am
als rule
@TFmcb: as you have seen over the years a team has as you say flashes and everyone expects them to move forward the next year BUT they take backward steps!! your cats over the last 20 plus years have had this happen to them numerous times finishing with 9 & 9 regular season records!! this is just 1 example of many: ex-HC marshall had the cats moving forward BUT for some reason the following year was a disaster as the team went backwards!!
March 15, 2014 - 3:35pm
GC Bound
2014 I believe will be a far more evenly competitive season. There will not be any 15 and 3 or 14 and 4 teams this season!
Go Riders GO
March 12, 2014 - 10:20pm
Again, this year will see the west beat each other up to get to the GC. and only 1 or 2 teams from the east will have a smooth and easy time to the GC.
March 13, 2014 - 1:01am
als rule
@P: utter nonsense!! every year the same comment surfaces the poor west and the east as usual has an easy ride to the GC!! sorry this is football not a political election where the crying comes from the west!!
March 13, 2014 - 12:48pm
Good point. Just ask the Ticats if their road to the Grey Cup last year was an easy one! It was a challenging year in more ways than one.
March 13, 2014 - 7:00pm
A great qb....Looking forward to see him play...Even against the lions
March 12, 2014 - 10:11pm
Read into it what you want, but the article above missed the first part of the quote, “I’m not promising anything. I’m promising that we’ll have a better season than last year, but that’s not going to take much,” then Reilly said, “I think we're a playoff team a anything short of that is a bad season for anybody. I don't care what happened the year before, in this league there's so much parity that teams go up and down so drastically sometimes. But it's a whole new season a we have 18 games to play and we have as good a chance as anyone to win those games.''
I would be disappointed if Reilly has said the Esks didn’t think they were going to better than last year. A for the playoffs, the CFL is a league where 6 of 9 teams make the playoffs. The expectation should be to make it every year, anything less would ludicrous.
March 12, 2014 - 9:44pm
als rule
@S99: just a huge ludicrous RANT that's nothing BUT the usual eskimo yak yak yak!! LOL LOL LOL
March 13, 2014 - 12:35pm
als rule
nice to have goals for the season BUT don't over promise 2 early!!
March 12, 2014 - 8:07pm
In Reilly we trust!
March 12, 2014 - 7:13pm
als rule
@S99: until KG shows up!!
March 13, 2014 - 11:50am
ok AR, I'll bite...who's KG?
March 14, 2014 - 12:51pm
als rule
@BB99: no problem!! it's A QB KEVIN GLENN!!
March 14, 2014 - 1:24pm