Second-half woes

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

There isn't just one reason for the Edmonton Eskimos' seven-game regular-season losing streak, which dates back to last year.

But here is one telling stat that has played a major part in that ugly losing trend: Edmonton has been outscored in the second half in six of those seven losses.

Over the span of the losing streak, the Esks have been outscored 112-56 in the final two quarters.

Sadly for the remaining Eskimo diehard fans, the second-half defensive woes actually stretch much farther than that.

The Green and Gold has been outscored in the final 30 minutes in 11 of the last 13 regular-season games.

"In most cases it is not a matter of an adjustment. It is a matter of fighting it out for four quarters," said Edmonton's defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell, who denies the club is failing to make second-half adjustments.

In last Saturday's 34-13 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders to open the 2008 regular-season, Edmonton gave up 25 points in the second half while putting up just six of its own.

"On the last touchdown drive (last week) we ran out of gas a little bit," Campbell remarked.

Facing the high-powered Calgary Stampeders tonight, the Esks likely face an even stiffer test than in Regina.

Quarterback Henry Burris is a master at getting rid of the ball in a matter of a couple of seconds, making it very difficult for opposing defences to get a significant pass rush.

Edmonton is hoping that some new-look defensive schemes will keep Burris from torching the secondary.

"He does get it off quick and that will be our biggest challenge - make sure he doesn't get it off quick," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia of Burris.

"When he gets it out quick, he gets the (defensive) look he is expecting.

"If you can mix it up - you don't give him a steady diet of one or two looks - he may be able to hold onto it a little bit longer."

The quick-release game is key to the Stamps with a new-look offensive line.

Calgary has three fresh starters in the front five this season: Dimitri Tsoumpas, Godfrey Ellis and Antonio Hall.


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