All for one... and one for all

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Like every regular-season win in the CFL, the Edmonton Eskimos' 18-14 victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night was worth two points.

But behind the closed doors of the Eskimo locker-room, the win was worth a lot more than that.

From the players to the coaches, the victory proved this version of the Green and Gold has the right attitude and right mix of personalities.

Knowing that fact is a comforting and relaxing feeling for the people within the walls of that dressing room.

Whenever a team is stuck in adversity - like the Esks were at the end of the first half by trailing 9-0 - breaks in the foundation can start.

Troubling signs can begin to appear, which can lead to bigger problems down the road.

But the Esks learned they have 42 guys fighting together.

"A game like that allows you to see who you have," said veteran receiver Ed Hervey. "It allows you to see how everyone responds to one and other.

"When you are playing in a 9-0 game, the defence would tend to look at the offence on bad teams and start bickering - like, 'hey, you need to start pulling your weight.' "

But the scene in the Esks' locker room at halftime was much different.

"We got a lot of encouragement from those (defensive) guys, which is extremely huge," added Hervey.

"That's what you want: 42 guys relying on one another.

"What we got from our defence was not only great play, but we got the confidence that they believed in us."

And the mood in the room at the end of the game after a second-half comeback was exactly what head coach Danny Maciocia wanted to see.

"Nobody was doing cartwheels in the locker-room and people (weren't) jumping on one another giving high fives," said the coach.

"That made me feel pretty good. We have some people that are serious and take their trait seriously.

"They understand that there is a lot of work (still) to be done."

And the first order of business is working on consistency.

In the Esks' first two games of the year, the team has scored just one touchdown in the first half.

"But I'm glad that we had an opportunity to experience such a contest where things didn't start well for us, but yet we hung in there, persevered and were able to pull off a fairly important win," said Maciocia.

"For some of these guys, that was their first win ever as an Eskimo.

"That may not sound like much for some people, but for some of those guys, they didn't know what it took to win a game in the CFL.

"The way we won will help us in the long term."

GASS UP IN THE AIR: Maciocia isn't tipping his hand regarding A.J. Gass' status for this week's game in Winnipeg.

"There are discussions of having him back in the lineup, but right now, I don't know," said the coach.

Gass has watched the first two games of the regular season after missing almost all of training camp.

Common sense dictates the Esks will likely activate him this week, but to play on special teams - not middle linebacker. He likely isn't in shape yet to play an entire game chasing Charles Roberts - arguably the most dangerous running back in the league.

His replacement, Quincy Stewart, despite missing one tackle on Joffrey Reynolds Saturday, is playing well.

EXTRA POINTS: It was a case of bending but not breaking for the Edmonton defence on Saturday. They allowed 398 yards of offence, but only 12 points. Edmonton gave up a safety.

"For the most part - with the exception of a couple of breakdowns - we played pretty good," said Maciocia.


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