They're sacking off

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

Forget about the sack race.

That is the message from Edmonton Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia.

Although the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a CFL-leading 16 sacks and the Esks are last in the league with just three, that doesn't matter as the two teams prepare for tomorrow's tilt at Commonwealth Stadium.

"I think it is over-rated (the sack category)," said Maciocia. "We had nine or 10 sacks against B.C. last year and I think we lost. So, we had one sack last week and we won.

"At the end of the day, all we are concerned about is wins and losses."

Maciocia knows his defensive ends - like Adam Braidwood - want to hammer the quarterback.

"I want them to get to the quarterback, but I also want them to play the run," continued Maciocia.

"But if they get caught up in sacking the quarterback and lose contain, they won't have to worry about sacking the quarterback next week."

If Eskimo players want further proof, that is why Joe Montford was booted out of town last year - he couldn't contain the quarterback.

But you can easily tell how much Braidwood is missing sacking the pivot.

"Every time a game goes by and I don't get a sack, I don't feel like I played to the best of my ability," said Braidwood, who has no sacks this year.

In defence of the D-line, the Esks aren't always rushing four linemen to the pivot. At one point in Winnipeg last week, they rushed just two.

"It is still usually a one-on-one battle," countered Braidwood. "If you can beat the offensive lineman and win that battle, it is definitely a satisfying feeling.

"It is a big rush (to get a sack). It is like going down a big roller-coaster. It is like if you won the lottery."

But Maciocia would rather win games.

WALKING WOUNDED

The playing status of T.J. Acree (foot) and Jason Tucker (knee/thigh) will be game-time decisions tomorrow, according to Maciocia.

But each receiver believes he will play.

FLOWER POWER

Jason Flowers has just three practices under his belt, but he has beat Ricky Williams in the audition process this week. Flowers will be on the active roster as a backup defensive back.

"(I'm) kind of disappointed but not upset," said Williams, who has been with the club all year but hasn't played a regular-season game. "As long as we come out with the 'W' that is all that really matters at the end of the day."

FINISH LINES ...

For the first time this year, rookie Warren Kean was allowed to let loose at practice, punting the ball in live drills. Kean is on the nine-game injured list with a quad injury. Obviously healed enough to punt, he had a couple of very solid boots and another less-than-spectacular ball.

"I wouldn't call it any sort of strength by any means," said Kean on his punting. "My strength - 100% - is on field goals. I didn't do any punting in college."

Kickoffs are also his strength. According to Esks brass, Kean put his kickoffs to the five-yard line in college.


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