In a daze days

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Years ago a writer asked a football coach what he thought of his team's execution.

"I'm in favour of it" was his reply.

Danny Maciocia needed a one-liner like that yesterday. He had nothing.

The hottest place in Edmonton this week is in the Eskimos dressing room. And it should be. Maciocia should be sweating. His entire team should be feeling like they're pigs on a spit. Everybody involved deserves to be roasted.

Not for the one play at the end of Thursday's game against Winnipeg which gave the game away - although Keyuo Craver and Malcolm Frank should be basted for their parts in one of the most pathetic examples of players not having their helmets screwed on straight you're ever likely to witness.

The play in which Milt Stegall went 100 yards on the last play of the game puts the exclamation mark on what's wrong with the Esks and why Edmonton fans are livid and have every right to be.

COMING OFF A GREY CUP

It was symptomatic of the disease.

This is a team which is coming off a Grey Cup admitting they're playing sloppy, careless, inattentive, uninspired, indifferent, noncreative, unimaginative, slipshod, brain-dead football and doing nothing about it.

"We have to do a better job of coaching," admitted Maciocia. "It was probably the football game for me which took the longest to get over. This one was tough. It lingers. It's tough to put behind you."

In looking at the films, Maciocia said he ended up more infuriated at being on the two-yard line with 12 seconds left to play at the end of the first half and running out of time without having a chance to kick a field goal.

"That's just dumb," he said. "You should be able to run two plays. We got one off. That was execution and clock management."

Maciocia said what went wrong on the last play wasn't that the Eskimos blitzed. He said it was the guys who didn't blitz who made the mess of it.

"We rushed five, not eight or nine like some people are suggesting. The idea is that we're supposed to have four deep. What happened was execution.

"For some strange reason, those guys didn't back up 30 or 40 yards like they're supposed to do. There's four seconds left. What do you think they're going to do?" he said.

But Maciocia knows the Esks deserved to lose in the first place. If Kevin Glenn doesn't fumble on a keeper, it's over the other way.

"We actually lost it twice when you think about it," he said.

The stats tell the story. Edmonton has turned the ball over 14 times compared to six by their opponents.

They've taken 628 yards of penalties to 468. And while they've completed 140 passes to 98, they've been outscored 129 to 98.

"It's penalties, it's turnovers, it's sloppy play if that's what you want to call it, it's execution. You have to try drill it into their heads. We have to clear that stuff up. If we don't, it isn't going to get any better," added the coach.

ONLY EIGHT TD PASSES

Ricky Ray has the best passing numbers in the league. He's completed 73.9% for 1,804 yards. But he only has eight touchdown passes.

"We haven't been very effective in the red zone," says Ray. "We're getting down there, but we're not getting our touchdowns.

"We just continue to make mistakes. We keep taking penalties and making turnovers. Then we get down there with 12 seconds to go in the half and I took too much time. That was bad clock management by myself.

"We all just keep making mistakes down there. We're not playing very smart. We're going out and playing sloppy games. That's what's killing us. We're not just playing against the other team, we're fighting ourselves."

Montreal is next. The Als are 5-0 and coming for payback for the Grey Cup game "We'd better be ready," said Maciocia.

The Esks are arguably 0-5 at that.


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