Ray running scared

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

EDMONTON -- You could never mistake Ricky Ray for Michael Vick.

So you have to wonder what Ray's offensive line was thinking on Labour Day leaving the pure pocket passer to his own devices.

Not surprisingly, the Calgary Stampeders smacked, whacked and thumped the Edmonton Eskimos quarterback more than 20 times, officially recording five sacks among the hits.

Ray was sent running for cover.

The situation doesn't seem to be getting any better prior to tonight's rematch at Commonwealth Stadium (7 p.m., TSN).

Third-year guard Rhett McLane will make his first career start in place of veteran Glen Carson on a porous right side.

"He's going to take his hits and get up," Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia said of his quarterback.

"He won't say a word. He will get back into the huddle, break the huddle and go to the line of scrimmage like every play is his last play."

Ray started to elude the rush late in the Labour Day Classic when it was clear his lineman couldn't stop the Stamps from bringing heat.

He moved with a frantic pace towards the sidelines and back before finally zipping a pass on the run.

The Eskimos pivot did look like he was channeling the mobile Atlanta Falcons quarterback on a few plays, which was completely out of character.

"He was scrambling around a bit but he can throw on the run," said McLane, who saw action in the late stages of that game.

"We sure don't want him to be running around like that anymore."

Calgary's front seven constantly shifted before the snap, which disguised the blitz and sent the Eskimos young lineman into a dizzy spell.

Because of off-season retirements of three players and an injury to guard Dan Comiskey (concussion), former Stampeder Joe McGrath is suddenly the leader of the group.

Recognizing stunts is a tough job for a third-year player, especially at the important left tackle position.

"It's easier to hit a person when they are standing still," said McGrath. "They do a good job of that but it hurt them, too. It created huge gaps that Troy Davis was able to run through.

"It's a risk-reward defence. Either they get there or they don't. If they don't, it's going to be a big pass or run. That's their style of play. They try to overload one side."

Although Ray doesn't complain about his linemen, he admits running from trouble has affected his play. He would prefer a clean passing lane from time to time.

"With pressure like that, you are going to make some mistakes," Ray said. "If hands are in the quarterback's face, sooner or later he will make a mistake. It affects the decision making and it affects the play."


Videos

Photos