EDMONTON -- ‘Close but no cigar’ appears to be the popular theme for the Edmonton Eskimos these days.
The most common and useful argument to support that claim is the fact that the Esks have lost their last four games by a combined total of 12 points.
It began with a five-point loss to the Alouettes in Week 5 and has since continued with defeats to Hamilton by one, Toronto by three and Saskatchewan by three as well.
Edmonton’s latest loss to the Riders was arguably the closest of the bunch, as the Green and Gold were going punch for punch with arguably the CFL’s best all game.
Esks head coach Kavis Reed, while obviously bothered by the string of tough losses, remains confident that his team’s positives will soon outweigh its negatives.
“It’s frustrating because this football team very easily could have won (Saturday’s) game and we came up short. It’s frustrating; you’d be telling a lie if you said it wasn’t,” Reed told Esks.com.
“The thing I am most pleased about is how the team played. Every question that we had was answered. A lot has been said about our performance in the third quarter. Obviously we have to be better defensively, but we went into the fourth quarter with the lead. I think that’s only the second time this year we have done that. Extremely pleased but very disappointed nonetheless.”
Reed’s memory is correct when it comes to assessing his team’s performance in the third quarter. Prior to Week 9, the Esks have taken a lead into the final frame just once – a 23-13 advantage over the Tiger-Cats in what has since proven to be their lone victory of the season.
Like Reed, quarterback Mike Reilly is encouraged with the progress that has been made in recent weeks, but won’t be satisfied until that progress begins to translate into some victories.
“There are no more steps forward without wins. We can’t take moral victories all the way to the end of the season. We’ve got to win,” said Reilly.
“We were in the position to do that (Saturday), but we lacked execution on the last two drives and that cost us,” he added.
The Eskimos will now shift their focus towards their Weeks 10 and 11 clashes with their provincial rivals from Calgary.
While it’s a tall task, there’s no denying that a win in the Labour Day Classic as well as the rematch the following week can go a long way towards revamping morale in the Eskimos locker room.
“Going against arguably the second best team in the league (Calgary), is not going to be easy for us as a football team. You are going into an extremely hostile environment against an extremely good football team,” said Reed.
“Again we have to look at perfect execution. Now this team has executed well enough to have a far better record. The focus just has to be on doing everything perfectly.”
With files from Esks.com.