Tucker ... terrific

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Jason Tucker doesn't believe he's Superman in the Edmonton Eskimo receiving core.

"I have got all kinds of flaws," said the three-time all-star slotback.

"If I was perfect I would catch every ball my way."

While that is true, he rarely misses a ball thrown his way.

Nearly everybody in Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night - which means almost 47,000 people - knew Ricky Ray was going to throw to Tucker when the Eskimos desperately needed a touchdown to help save their season with six seconds left on the clock.

And like usual, Tucker got open and made the catch with ease, giving the Esks the lead and a huge boost of confidence as they try to claw their way back to the playoffs.

"He's a normal guy, laid back and just does his job - but ends up making Superman-like plays," explained Ray.

"You can't coach it. It is just a talent that he has."

CLUTCH CATCHES

But making clutch catches isn't the only talent within the 30-year-old California native.

"He's a dream to coach," said Edmonton bench boss Danny Maciocia.

"He has got the whole package - a pleasant person to be around and unselfish.

"To me, he's everything you want."

To Ed Hervey, he's the best receiver in the CFL. Period.

"There are receivers that do certain things well, but Tuck is probably the only guy that can play inside (receiver) and out," explained Hervey.

"Most of the other guys that are leading the league are just slots, they're not fast.

"I won't say their names, but they don't have the speed Tuck has.

"There is only one other guy in this league that has proven that When everybody knows he's getting the ball, he makes the play - and that is Milt Stegall."

IN SECOND SPOT

Tucker's touchdown grab late Friday night gives him nine on the year and 816 receiving yards. If his number had been called more than twice that night, he might be closing in on 900 yards.

Regardless, only B.C.'s Geroy Simon has more TD catches and only three other receivers have more yards than Tucker.

At this pace, the fifth-year Eskimo will finish with a career-high 15 majors this year and a whopping 1,335 yards.

But while those are smashing numbers, if he continues on this pace, he'll also make Ray's passing statistics look great at the end of the year.

"He makes my job easier," said the quarterback.

"I just put it in his area and he comes down with a big catch.

"I don't feel like I have to throw him a perfect ball.

"I just have to throw it up and let him make the play."

There has been one blip during Tucker's phenomenal season - a very rare night when he didn't bring his A game to the field.

In one of his toughest games in his Eskimo career, three balls clanked off his hands on Aug. 18 against B.C.

"Of course you think about it during the game, but after that, it is over," he explained.

"I had the week off. I went home, got the kids ready for school.

"I got my mind off football."

But now everything is back to normal, which means Tucker will be in the mind of Hamilton defensive backs on Saturday night.

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THE TUCKER FACTOR

Jason Tucker leads the Eskimos with nine touchdown catches this year.

Put in perspective:

- The rest of Edmonton's receiving core has six TDs.

- Edmonton's offence has produced 20 TDs overall.

- Tucker's on pace for a career-high 15 TDs.

- He's currently second in the CFL among receivers in scoring.


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