Paper tigers?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:38 AM ET

TORONTO -- Edmonton Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia has an incredible amount of weapons at his disposal.

On paper, the list is so impressive it probably causes nightmares - or at least some troubled sleeps - for defensive coaches around the league.

Ricky Ray: leading passer in the CFL.

Jason Tucker: leading receiver in the league entering this week.

Derrell Mitchell: third in receiving yards.

Ed Hervey: arguably the most dangerous deep threat.

Troy Davis: leading rusher in the CFL in 2004.

And when the Eskimo offensive unit steps on the turf this afternoon for a much-anticipated showdown with the Argos, the crew will be facing a defence that could be vulnerable.

"My goodness, this (Edmonton) team is loaded," said Toronto head coach Mike Clemons. "They have so many difference makers who can make the plays that determine the outcome of a game."

But Clemons and the Argos will be playing without two key players in their front seven.

Veteran linebacker Antonious Bonner is now gone with a knee injury.

And Riall Johnson, who usually rotates on either end of the defensive line with Jonathan Brown and Eric England, is also on the injured list.

If Edmonton can establish a legitimate running game with the newly acquired Davis, the defensive front line could wear down in the second half.

Since the Argos are saddled with the third-worst run defence in the league, Davis is a critical player in today's tilt.

Davis ran all over the Argos on Labour Day last year, rumbling for 233 yards with the Tiger-Cats. This year on Labour Day he recorded almost 70 yards.

"You need to gang-tackle a guy like Troy Davis," said Toronto linebacker Mike O'Shea. "One of the key things for us is if we can get a lead on them that takes Troy out of the game."

If Davis is a factor, he'll make the Edmonton passing game even more dangerous.

"It is real important (to establish Davis)," said Mitchell. "Like we have been talking since we first got him, that does a lot for the receiving corps. That takes a lot of pressure off of us.

"Linebackers will have to respect Troy back there before they go into their (pass coverage) drops. That eventually opens up a lot of holes for the receivers."

Ray was able to throw for 414 yards in August, helping put up 30 first downs, compared to Toronto's nine.

But Edmonton lost that game 22-18 because the most dangerous weapon the Green and Gold used that night was a gun to repeatedly shoot itself in the foot.

- Mike Maurer fumbled deep in Argo territory.

- Ray threw two interceptions.

- Ray was flagged for intentionally grounding the ball before halftime, moving a Sean Fleming field-goal attempt back to the 40-yard line. He missed.

- Toronto's Arland Bruce was left completely uncovered for a huge 89-yard touchdown.

With three loses in the last four games, the Eskimos need to keep the gun under the bench and use their other weapons: Davis, Ray, Mitchell, Hervey and Tucker.


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