Ricky's Redemption?

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray hopes he can put a lid on any doubts his fans had last week...

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray hopes he can put a lid on any doubts his fans had last week against Winnipeg when he starts tonight against Ottawa. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Ricky Ray makes no bones about the fact he struggled versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week.

The 25-year-old was picked off three times and fumbled the ball away on two occasions in the Edmonton Eskimos' 14-12 come-from-behind win over the Blue Bombers at Commonwealth Stadium.

Ray is looking to put that effort behind him as the Esks line up against the Ottawa Renegades at Frank Clair Stadium tonight.

HAVE TO REBOUND

"You're not going to play every game perfect," said Ray, who completed 31 of 45 passes for 354 yards. "There's going to be games where you don't play up to your expectations and you just have to rebound.

"Sometimes it's kind of a wake-up call for you. You think 'I've got to get back to the basics and put in a little more work this week and make sure it doesn't happen again.' "

Ottawa head coach Joe Paopao knows from experience that even the best quarterback is going to struggle at times.

AN OFF NIGHT

However, Paopao attributes Ray's rocky outing as much to Winnipeg's defence as an off night by the Green and Gold pivot.

"Everybody has got pride in their play," Paopao said. "For a quarterback, he needs to depend on the supporting cast. That's not to diminish Winnipeg's ability.

"They have talent and were looking for their first win. You've got to give them credit first. (Ray) is the No. 1-rated quarterback for multiple reasons. He still played steady and they're winning the close games.

"(Edmonton has) been in a lot of tight games and he's the focal point on their offence. We expect the best out of Ricky Ray whether they won last week or lost last week."

SACK IT TO ME: When the Esks and Renegades clashed at Commonwealth Stadium to open the season, the Green and Gold defence sacked Ottawa pivot Kerry Joseph seven times.

Joseph says the Renegades retooled offensive line should be able to keep the Esks sack attack in check tonight.

"We know they're going to try and bring pressure again but the guys up front are prepared for the things they're going to do," offered Joseph.

"We're going to try and get the ball out of my hands and put it in the receivers' hands and put pressure on their defence to make tackles and make plays."


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