Adam's able for Esks

Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood is becoming a force to be reckoned with. (Edmonton...

Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood is becoming a force to be reckoned with. (Edmonton Sun File/David Bloom)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Remember that low blow Joe Montford delivered to the groin area of B.C. Lion offensive lineman Rob Murphy?

Well, it turns out that play a few weeks ago did more than just embarrass Montford on national TV.

That boot to the nether regions - which caused Montford to be ejected and banished to the locker-room - has also helped Adam Braidwood become the undisputed starter on one end of the Eskimos' defensive line.

"I thanked Joe for that after the game (against B.C.)," said Braidwood. "If he hadn't got kicked out of that game, who knows what could have happened? I could still be sitting on the bench."

In just his fourth regular-season game, Braidwood was forced into a main role in the second half against the Lions that night - and he held his own replacing Montford.

Now, three weeks later, the coaching staff has seen enough of the Canadian rookie to make him the unquestioned key cog on one end of the D-line tomorrow night at Commonwealth Stadium against the undefeated Montreal Alouettes, who boast the top offensive line in the league.

The No. 1 overall pick in this spring's Canadian college draft started the first series against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week, but shared time throughout the game with import Andre Sommersell.

But the Esks' coaching staff will bench Sommersell this week and will leave Chuck Alston - another import defensive end - on the sidelines as well, meaning Braidwood is the main man in the spotlight now.

PLAYING LIKE A VETERAN

"Adam doesn't come across as a rookie one bit," said Maciocia, who draws an interesting comparison between Braidwood's situation and Ricky Ray.

"If Jason Maas doesn't get hurt in Saskatchewan (a few years ago) we never hear of Ricky Ray probably."

At 22 and fresh out of Washington State when he arrived at Eskimos training camp two months ago, Braidwood didn't expect to be in this position in late July.

Besides giving Braidwood that opportunity, Montford has also helped the rookie's game improve immensely in a very short time period.

"I have upped my game more in the past few weeks than I have in the last few years for sure," said Braidwood, who is a big load at 6-4, 270 pounds.

"My pass rush is way better and (Montford) is showing me tons of tricks just about angles and things I was really having trouble with - run blocks and stuff like that.

"It has been awesome. He has definitely helped me."

TAKING ON HOMEWORK

And that learning curve will continue throughout the summer, as Montford has assigned his student some off-field homework.

"Continue to watch film on other guys," said the 35-year-old veteran. "I think he should really model his style after (B.C. defensive end) Brent Johnson because his body style is pretty much similar. He can learn a lot about the game just by watching him.

"A lot of my moves are different - I use speed more and (Johnson) has great power."

As usual, Montford will start at the other end of the defensive line tomorrow, with special teams starter Antico Dalton becoming the lone backup DE.


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