Broken record

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Like an old and broken record, the Edmonton Eskimos veterans were forced to yak about the same old things this week.

Stuck in a three-game losing streak and facing another pivotal tilt tonight, they preached about the need to have better play execution and the need to avoid costly mental mistakes.

And while everyone knows those are two big keys against the Saskatchewan Roughriders this evening, there is another key factor that was quietly mentioned earlier this week: attitude.

Ed Hervey - the undisputed offensive locker-room leader - wants every one of his 42 teammates to step on the Commonwealth Stadium grass with a desperate attitude.

"Coaches only prepare you, give you plays and call plays, but once you cross the line and you start playing, it is what you bring to the field and the play that is called," said Hervey.

"Are you going to run the play just to say you are in the right spot or are you going to run the (darn) play knowing that this could be your last play and this play might be the one that gets us over the top?

"I think it's that (darn desperate) attitude that we need to bring on every play and we need to bring it more now because we aren't winning."

If the 2-5 Esks don't win tonight, they'll drop four points behind the Riders in the battle for third spot in the West Division.

Here are the other keys for the Eskimos:

Open with a strong first quarter: The Green and Gold have been nothing short of pathetic in the first 15 minutes of most games. They're averaging 2.1 points in the opening stanza and have been shut out four times in that quarter this year.

Obviously, coming out strong will boost the team's sagging confidence.

But, on the flip side, if the Esks come out flat again - they went two and out in every first quarter drive last week - the fans will let them hear it, begging the question: How will this team react to further struggles and intense criticism from the stands? The game could unravel pretty quickly if more pressure and more doubt sinks in.

Stop Kenton Keith: Unfortunately for the Esks, Keith is healthy and has already torched them once this year in the preseason, gaining 105 yards on six carries in part of one game.

"Saskatchewan definitely wants to run the ball ... and when they establish the run, it opens it up for a world of different plays," said Eskimos linebacker Quincy Stewart.


Videos

Photos