There has been enough adversity surrounding the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2013 CFL season.
Adding to the on-field woes was comments made last week by General Manager Ed Hervey who expressed his displeasure at the team’s play. Hervey saved his frustration for one member of the Eskimos, right guard Simeon Rottier.
“The majority of my frustration has been with Simeon,” Hervey said. “It wouldn’t bother me if he did not play another down this year.”
|Back in the lineup|
"From our meeting today we both mutually agreed his play must improve. He knows how I feel, how competitive I want this team to be. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person and a tremendous amount of respect as a player." - Ed Hervey on Simeon Rottier, who will be returning to the lineup this week against Winnipeg.
Rottier didn’t play last Friday and the offensive line still had trouble, giving up seven sacks in a 22-12 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the Labour Day Rematch. An unprecedented three import offensive lineman suited up for the Eskimos.
Fast forward to a week later and Hervey had a change of heart saying Rottier is not going anywhere.
“Simeon has always been a part of the Edmonton Eskimos team, despite not playing last week. I’ve had a chance to meet with and talk extensively with Simeon and we acknowledge that I want him on the team and he wants to be on the team,” Hervey said in a statement.
“He’s a proven veteran Canadian player and having him re-enter the lineup as part of our 42-man roster is what we feel gives us our most competitive roster.”
So Rottier is back in the Eskimos starting lineup for this weekend’s matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Hervey says regardless of any outside influences, he took it upon himself to have dialogue with Rottier and clear the air.
“I’m disappointed in the play of our team and disappointed in many players but when it comes to our offensive line play, I’ve been critical of the offensive line from the outset," said Hervey.
"We expec,t and I know Simeon will echo these sentiments, that we expect to keep our quarterback on his feet, which we feel gives up the best chance of having some success moving the ball and giving us success in trying to dig ourselves out of the slump.”
For Rottier, the air has been cleared and the matter has been settled with his General Manager. He will use the tough circumstances of last week as motivation for the rest of the season.
“I’m going to let it light a fire in me,” Rottier said. “Like I said last week, none of this would be happening if we weren’t 1-9. There are things I need to work on to help the team so just get back to working hard and make the team better.”
Being satisfied with close wins is a mind-set that Hervey, along with head coach Kavis Reed, would like to get rid of before it starts festering in the room.
The Eskimos simply need a victory this Saturday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who arrive in Edmonton after an emotional win last week at Investors Group Field against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s not a game the Eskimos can take for granted either.
I’m sure it’s a game the Eskimos have circled on their calendar, I’m sure the Bombers have as well.
The two teams have some commonality. Both are in rebuild mode, both have gone through managerial changes and are trying to change things up following the previous regime. Both teams are also trying to develop their next franchise quarterback.
The Eskimos need to avoid any off-field distractions as possible and not fall into the same type of situation they've been in during the last number of years.
Meanwhile, Hervey did the right thing by sitting down and talking to Rottier. Now Rottier has the chance to redeem himself by improving his play on the field.
Will Hervey choose a different path next time when talking publically about his team? It’s hard to say. He’s old school, he’s not politically correct, and says what he thinks. He also knows he’s responsible for his actions, good or bad.
“I make my own bed and I lie in it and quite comfortable with what I do.”
Even if it makes people uncomfortable on occasion.
Dave Campbell has been on the Eskimos beat since 2004. He’s entering his seventh season as the Eskimo colour analyst for 630 CHED broadcasts. He also hosts The Points After Show, an openline post-game show. Follow Dave on Twitter @Dave_CHED.