The last thing the Edmonton Eskimos need is another problem - but that is exactly what has developed.
Veteran kicker Sean Fleming is not happy with head coach Danny Maciocia's decision to take veteran field-goal snapper Taylor Inglis off the 46-man roster for tomorrow's pivotal game against the first-place B.C. Lions. And compounding that problem is the fact Inglis abruptly left the team after he was officially taken off the roster yesterday afternoon and offered a practice roster position.
"I won't take a practice roster spot," Inglis told the Sun. "I need to continue to develop and being on the field is the best way to do that.
"I can offer other teams (in the CFL) a pretty good long snapper."
MAURER LANDS LONG SNAPPER DUTIES
Backup fullback Mike Maurer - who took over the punt snapping chores from Inglis last week - is now the new field-goal snapper.
According to Inglis, the Eskimos informed him he was the victim of a number's game. The injured list was full and the club wanted to get Will Loftus and J.P. Abraham on the 46-man roster.
With small roster sizes, the Esks clearly felt a single-purpose player like Inglis was a luxury they couldn't afford. Maurer can handle all snapping chores, play fullback and lead the club in special teams tackles.
But regardless of the reason, Fleming is clearly frustrated - and has let the coaching staff know it.
"I am not happy about it, to be very blunt," said Fleming. "I understand the reasons why they took Taylor off the punt team, but I guess if they are going to have Mike snap field goals, that affects me a lot."
Inglis lost the punt-snapping duties last week because the Eskimos wanted better blocking protection.
"But this is points," said Fleming, referring to the heightened importance of successfully hitting field goals. "I have kicked for 20 years and I know how important that it is (having a good and consistent long snapper) and how big of a role that plays.
"And, you know, coach Maciocia has never kicked before and neither has (special teams coach) Malvin Hunter. So, it is sometimes difficult to explain to them how important that it is.
"We are talking about accuracy and rhythm.
"I think Taylor and Jason and myself have gotten into a pretty good rhythm from the struggles the group had earlier on in the season."
Maciocia has heard the argument and is leaving Fleming with a simple message.
"All Sean has to worry about is kicking the ball through the uprights," said the coach. "The last time I checked in the Western semifinal (last year) we lost Inglis (to a knee injury) and Maurer came in and we kicked a pretty important field goal to put us up by seven."
Fleming makes it clear that he has confidence in Maurer, but...
"Mike is not a full-time snapper.
"He is really an emergency guy.
"He hasn't done it in quite a while.
"That is putting a lot of pressure on him. I am not going to let it affect me, but there are some adjustments I need to make in my timing.
"For me, Mike is a lot slower of a snapper.
"I don't think he is as consistent as Taylor is - and Taylor is the better snapper."
MAURER WORKED IN PRESEASON
Besides being an emergency replacement during the West semifinal last year, Maurer also snapped on field goals during the first preseason game this year and handled the assignment with ease.
"The Eskimos are trying to do what is best for the team and Taylor is trying to do what he thinks is best for him," said Maurer after practice yesterday.
"I wish Taylor the best and I feel bad that things didn't work out for him."