Turnovers, penalties cost Esks

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

While most fans of the Edmonton Oilers were still on a high yesterday, Danny Maciocia was sounding rather sombre.

The Edmonton Eskimos head coach was hunkered down in his office trying to find some answers from the game film as to why his club failed to the tune of 24-14 in their season opener Saturday night in Calgary.

While the tape was painful to watch, at least Maciocia came up with two key factors that the Eskimos will have to change before facing the Stamps again in six nights at Commonwealth Stadium.

"We can't turn the ball over that many times and we have to cut down on the penalties," said Maciocia.

FOUR TURNOVERS

"We played a pretty decent game but we have to find a way to cut down on the turnovers. They're all bad - I haven't met a turnover that I liked yet. But they are really bad when you commit them and give the ball to Calgary in your own half of the field."

Ricky Ray was picked off once and the Eskimos surrendered three fumbles. Another critical turnover was the one on downs when punter Rodney Williams failed to concede a safety and was taken down on the Esks' three-yard line.

Compounding the turnover woes was the penalty issue. Even though the Stamps were nailed 16 times for 130 yards, the Eskimos still racked up 11 penalties for 91 yards - a continuation of their lack of discipline from the two pre-season games against Saskatchewan.

MORE YARDS

"The penalties are about discipline and the turnovers are clearly about concentration," figured Maciocia. "You have to secure the football - it's as simple as that.

"We outgained them (399 net yards to 375), but with the number of turnovers we were picking up yards and then we'd have nothing to show for it."

LATE HITS: The Esks' new-look offensive line, a major question coming into the season, held up well in its debut. The group gave up just two sacks against a Calgary defensive front that led the league in quarterback takedowns in 2005.

"They did a pretty good job against a tough team and they're only going to get better," added Maciocia.


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