It's gettin' hot in the pressure cooker

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Reality is starting to settle in for the Edmonton Eskimos.

Consecutive losses to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats likely mean the Eskimos will miss the playoffs for the first time in 34 years.

It's that stigma which has hovered over this team like a black cloud all season.

"That pressure has always been here," said Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "... Sometimes some people handle it better than others.

"If it's not one thing, it's something else.

"Last year it was a rookie head coach and how come you're playing that quarterback and not the other quarterback."

For that reason, Maciocia believes it takes a special breed to succeed in Edmonton.

And there are just not enough of those special players around this year.

"This year we seem to fall short when it comes to players knowing what the expectations are of playing here," Maciocia said.

But there are still five games to go and it's too soon to talk about playing out the string.

"We just have to go back to work again, prepare for our next opponent and try to compete," said Maciocia. "Right now we are looking at a lot of things. We have five games to play and we expect to line up and compete. How we do that and who we do that with; we'll have to decide."

The Eskimos head to Regina on Saturday to take on the Roughriders having yet to win a game on the road this year.

At this point it's just a matter of competing, hoping the bad penalties, big plays and last-second decisions start going their way.

Of their nine losses, four of them have come by less than a touchdown.

"If anybody wants to quit, they have the right to leave," said Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood.

"I think the coaches and the players will do a good job of policing that. Some of the older guys are not going to let anybody quit.

"I think we're all going to rally around and finish the season hard and whatever happens, happens."


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