One pre-season game is in the books for the Edmonton Eskimos. They led the game for 58 minutes before giving up 10 points in the final two only to lose 20-17 to the Calgary Stampders last Friday night at McMahon Stadium. Following the game, I sent this tweet:
“Analyzing the first pre-season game is like throwing Jell-O against the wall and trying to make sense of it.”
The first half of the game actually showed some flow and crispness. Heck, hardly any penalties were called no matter if a call was deserved or not.
The first pre-season game for the Eskimos according to head coach Kavis Reed was about giving the younger players a chance to shine. Only five projected starters played on offence while seven suited up on defence.
Steven Jyles By the Numbers:
2011 Passing: 124-218, 1,430 YDS, 7 TD, 11 INT, 66.5 QBR
2011 Rushing: 53 ATT, 429 YDS, 1 TD, 5 FUM
View Career Stats
The defence looked solid and showed they have some players that will give the Eskimos some much needed depth. Linebacker Simoni Lawrence and defensive back Joe Burnett were standouts.
Burnett scored the only touchdown for the Eskimos on an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown.
On offence, the Eskimos settled for too many field goals and quarterback Matt Nichols threw two interceptions. Granted, Nichols looked comfortable and poised playing in his first game in year.
Receivers Shamawd Chambers, Cary Koch, and Nate Coehoorn also performed well and it looks as though the Eskimos have the early signs of return game.
Now the focus switches to Thursday’s final pre-season game as the Eskimos will host the Grey Cup Champion B.C. Lions at Commonwealth Stadium. The rookies won’t get the same amount of time to impress the coaching staff.
That’s because the starters will see the field for at least a half to get their rhythm and timing down. Head coach Kavis Reed says the game is important for the starters.
“We want them to get in there and get a good sweat, a good pace, a good tempo”, Reed said. “To understand they’re back in football again. The angles, the tackling, all those things are very important toward June 30th (the season opener vs. the Toronto Argonauts). Once we get that out of them and we’re confident those guys have that football timing back, we’ll take them out and move on with the game.”
Marcus Howard, Julius Williams, J.C. Sherritt, Damaso Munoz, T.J. Hill, and Donovan Alexander will suit up on defence while on offence, Fred Stamps, Greg Carr, Hugh Charles, and the man with the biggest spotlight on him, quarterback Steven Jyles, will all play.
Jyles is the key acquisition from the Ricky Ray trade from the Toronto Argonauts. He’ll get his first snaps in a game situation Thursday. It’s the moment Jyles has been waiting for.
“I’m excited about it. I have a great group of guys here who have surrounded me and I have the chance to just facilitate the ball to these guys and let these guys make plays”, Jyles explained. “I don’t have to do too much; we have a great team, great defense, and great special teams. I just have to go out and take care of what my job is and put the ball into the playmakers hands.”
Reed says he wants to see both Jyles and backup Kerry Joseph play at least a quarter with the first-team offence. It remains to be seen if Nichols and Jeremiah Masoli will see any playing time.
Jyles has enjoyed a very good training camp. He’s shown the ability to make all of the throws. To put the ball in the right spots, and use his best asset which is his feet. Kerry Joseph was supposed to come to training camp and push Jyles for the number one job. He hasn’t come close to doing that. In fact, Nichols has been more consistent and is pushing for the backup job. Joseph needs a big game Thursday to keep the number two job.
It’s just pre-season but the offence will need to show consistency in moving the football and turning scoring chances into touchdowns. Jyles will need to show he can manage the game and not try to put the game on his shoulders.
The defence will need to display their ability to rush the passer with a four-man front while secondary will need to show something they had trouble doing last season, cover receivers with better consistency.
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.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|