Coach sticks with his main man

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Jacques Chapdelaine admits the thought has crossed his mind - but the urge to pull Ricky Ray during the second half this season hasn't been strong enough.

The Edmonton Eskimos enter tomorrow's game against Montreal with a brutal statistic dogging the offence.

In 10 regular-season games this year, the offence is averaging eight points per second half per game.

No wonder the club has blown three halftime leads this year.

But Chapdelaine - Edmonton's offensive co-ordinator - hasn't seen evidence to pull Ray for just a series in the second half to spark the offence.

"It is always a thought (pulling the starting QB) but it has never been a strong, strong consideration at this point in time," said Chapdelaine, who had a history of pulling the starting pivot at Bishop's University and Laval.

In fairness, Ray is easily Edmonton's most valuable player this year.

Second in the league in passing yards (2,936 yards), Ray is also second in touchdown tosses.

To put Ray's Edmonton career in perspective, he needs just 152 passing yards tomorrow to eclipse Warren Moon for the all-time passing yardage lead in Eskimo history.

But right now, the 2007 offensive unit is struggling in the second half of games - and is one of the reasons why the club has lost five of its last six games.

However, Chapdelaine is very aware of the possible pitfalls of pulling a starting pivot.

"You always have to be careful - especially when you pull the quarterback - it plays in a variety of ways sometimes on a young man's mind," continued Chapdelaine.

"It can give him a chance to see things at a different angle.

"It can give us a chance to put a different tempo out there (on the field with a back-up QB).

"But at the same time it can also raise question marks.

"I thought we had some rhythm (last game).

"And that is the biggest thing - that is important."

If the hook ever comes out, the Esks would likely turn to Stefan LeFors off the bench before Steven Jyles.


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