Two games between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders produced the intensity and healthy hate that two heated rivals should have towards one another.
|Tillman Wheels and Deals|
With injuries continuing to plague his roster, Eskimos GM Eric Tillman has been hard at work finding suitable replacements.
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» READ: Edmonton lands FB Darcy Brown
At the end of both games however, all the Eskimos could find for their efforts was heartbreak. A valiant effort on Labour Day which led to a 48-yard missed field goal by kicker Grant Shaw handed the Esks a 30-29 loss, while the second game, saw a solid performance from the defence pave the way for yet another missed winning attempt by Shaw.
In the end, the Esks lost their two outings by a combined score of 50-47 and most importantly, no points to show for in what is developing into a tight Western Division.
The Eskimos are tied for third place in the West with eight games to go. Of those eight games, two will be against the Stampeders, a team they trail by just two points in the standings. However, the Stamps currently hold the tiebreaker over the Esks, meaning the Green and Gold will have to win both games in order to leapfrog their provincial rivals in the event of a tie at season’s end.
Two games are left against the BC Lions and the Eskimos already hold a victory over the defending Grey Cup Champions. One game is left vs. the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but that series is tied.
All that being said, the Eskimos will need to enjoy a much stronger second half if they intend on hosting a playoff game at Commonwealth Stadium during the early parts of November.
Much like last season, however, injuries have been a thorn in their sides.
Punter Burke Dales is on the nine-game injured list with an ankle injury, while fullback Calvin McCarty is out for tomorrow’s game in Hamilton with an ankle injury that he suffered in the Labour Day rematch game.
How does general manager Eric Tillman sleep at night with all the injuries this club has had to deal with?
Tillman says he knows what he signed up for.
“Well, it’s a part of this business, we’re blessed to do something we love and sometimes it’s more fun than others,” Tillman said. “I worked with the Mississippi Highway Department and operated a jackhammer, once you get frustrated about injuries you remind yourself of what real work is. We do something that we love.”
It could be worse really; it could be two years ago when the Eskimos were the victims of two lopsided losses to the Stampeders and a loss in the Labour Day rematch game. Tillman says he would like different results but points to the body of work led by him in a two-year period.
“Would we like to be better that 5-5? Yes. We could have easily won one or both of the last two games and been 6-4 or 7-3 but to Calgary’s credit they beat us, we didn’t win and we’re 5-5. Given our injuries, we’d like to be better but I can also put it in perspective for you,” Tillman said.
For head coach Kavis Reed, he’s just trying to get his team to play at a higher level of execution, especially on offence. Following the loss last Friday, Reed looked like Mount St. Helens was about to erupt. His opening remarks to the media were “I’m not happy!”
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|