Gimme attitude!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Visiting teams aren't supposed to swagger into this stadium. They're not supposed to come here with confidence, much less arrive with an attitude.

This is Montreal. Visiting teams come here to donate the two points that they'd be better advised to mail to save the air fare.

But it was with swagger and an attitude that Maciocia's team arrived here for the most anticipated game of the front half of the CFL season here tonight.

Get used to it, says Danny Maciocia.

"I told this team at the start of the season that we're going to bring an attitude. We don't want to play second fiddle to anyone. I like the talent on this team but the thing I like most about this team so far is their attitude and how they've bought in with what we're trying to do. We have 13 sacks. How long did it take us to get 13 sacks last year?"

As defending Grey Cup champions, minus Ricky Ray, the Eskimos arrived here last year with a lot less swagger. They lost 33-9, headed home with their tail between their legs, went 0-3 out of the gate and chased the season the rest of the way.

"If we're going to lose, we're going to lose playing around the edge. It's an attitude," Maciocia explained after spending about 15 minutes being interviewed by a small mob of French-language reporters in his hometown.

Steve Charbonneau, one of the 11 players and coaches with Alouette backgrounds, says there's a very real anticipation with the Eskimos going into this game that you can see, taste and breathe.

"When you're good, you want people to say you're good and to be able to tell people you're good," said Charbonneau. That, he said, is the bonus for winning this one. Swaggering in is one thing. Swaggering out is what this is all about.

A RIPE NUMBER

You'd figure Joe Montford, who predicted six sacks in each of the first two games, would choose a smaller number for this one.

He's not. He isn't making the number public, but gives you the idea it's another big one. "It's a good number," he said. "It's a ripe number."

They're going against the best offensive line in the league and a quarterback who is very good at avoiding the rush and has amassed over 1,000 yards of offence two games into the season so far. Montford concedes all that.

"They have great personnel. But all year, we're going to match up well against anyone in the league. We're out to show that."

Maciocia says sacks and quarterback pressure is where you start when you game-plan Montreal.

"We'll do whatever we need to do to get as much pressure as possible," says Maciocia.

Quarterback Ricky Ray came here last year under the radar, avoided the media, watched the game without notice, avoided the dressing room, waited for the team out by the bus and quietly collected his Grey Cup ring before driving back to New York, where he was about to spend the season as a spectator with the Jets.

This year he's coming in here after enjoying his best game as a pro with 469 yards passing against Winnipeg, looking to pick up where he left off in the Grey Cup game against these guys.

"We're in a good spot to get on a real roll. If we win we're 3-0 and go home game against a team we've already defeated."

Last year the Eskimos won the grand total of two games on the road. They could equal that tonight. "There's no reason we can't win on the road - anywhere on the road."

CLOSE GAME

Ray wants to find out how this team will react to a tough test. "We won our first two games by big margins. It'll be interesting to see what we do in a close game or if we have to come from behind."

The Eskimos aren't suggesting the Alouettes' loss to Ottawa in any way suggests they'll be anything but even more motivated for this one.

"This game is about finding out exactly how good we are in a hostile environment," said Maciocia.


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