'Personal' problems

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

Now it's personal.

"I've got to take it personal," said offensive co-ordinator Danny Maciocia.

No misprint there. Offensive co-ordinator.

While there are those out there who are operating under the illusion that R.D. Lancaster is the offensive co-ordinator of the Edmonton Eskimos, that has never been the case. Lancaster is the offensive assistant. There's a difference.

"What I've been doing, I'm now going to be doing a little bit more of,'' said Maciocia of getting completely hands-on with the one-dimensional Edmonton offence which was out-coached by Calgary's Dennis Creehan in the Stampeders 16-11 Labour Day Rematch win Friday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Maciocia didn't make his offence sit and squirm watching the game films. And he didn't take them out and do a football version of a bag skate, either.

In fact he didn't show them any film. And he didn't even take them out for the usual day-after rundown.

Instead he sat his entire offence in a room and had a heart to heart.

"We had a good look at our overall offence and exactly what we're doing.

''We sat down in a room and analysed our identity as an offence and what we need to do. It concerned everyone on the offence and we want everyone on the same page.''

Maciocia says this is a football team which has had the same autopsy for all four football games they've lost.

"We clearly dominated,'' he said of the 23-13 edge in first downs, 369-199 difference in net yards and 34:03-25:57 in time of possession.

"We've lost four games by the &%$# total of 16 points, with that being the story every game.''

IN GAUDY GOLD

Maciocia has an entire week prior to the Sunday game in Saskatchewan.

"We want to go back to who we were,'' he said of the team which many believed could be a special edition of the Eskimos, not the inferior edition wrapped in gaudy gold.

The offensive line is broken.

Maciocia will probably try some Band-Aids on it by making internal moves.

The running game is broken and you can count on Dahrran Diedrick going directly in the lineup.

"One thing that bothers me is that I don't want to have a quarterback who breaks Warren Moon's records,'' says Maciocia.

"I don't want a quarterback who leads the league in completions and attempts. I want a quarterback who is about third or fourth in the league in those categories.''

That's no knock on Ray, who with 35 completions in 47 attempts for 279 yards Friday night is now a mere 68 completions short of Moon's 380, 175 shy of Moon's attempts mark of 664 and 2,822 yards short of Moon's record of 6,619 yards.

There are people out there trying to get some sort of quarterback controversy going in all of this, but that's ridiculous.

IT TURNED AROUND

"We had a serious, serious issue here in 2003,'' he said of Tom Higgins, dithering on who was No. 1.

"Then one day we told Ricky Ray it was his team, and that's the day it turned around.

''Everyone agreed it would take a string of bad games to make a change.''

Ray isn't the problem. There are 11 bigger problems on the offence than Ricky Ray.

There's also a couple other problems looming large. The first is Taylor Field.

"We've only won one game there since I've been here. The right one. The Grey Cup,'' he said.

There's also the Labour Day Letdown.

It's a condition that has never really been addressed before. But now that some history has been built up with the back-to-back Labour Day Classic/Labour Day Rematch games, there's a trend there.

There's so much meaning, hype and intensity surrounding the Labour Day double dip, when it's over the Eskimos have taken way too many nose dives.

- 2004 - Lost the next three games.

- 2002 - Lost the next game.

- 2001 - Lost the next game.

- 2000 - Lost the next two games.

- 1999 - Lost four of the next six.

- 1998 - Lost four of the next six.

- 1997 - Lost next three games.

- 1996 - Lost next game.

There were also two straight losses in 1993, and three straight defeats in 1992 ...

This is where we're going to find out a great deal about young Mr. Maciocia.


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