Improved Eskies brim with confidence

Eskimo wide receiver Kelly Campbell celebrates as he crosses the goal line for his second touchdown...

Eskimo wide receiver Kelly Campbell celebrates as he crosses the goal line for his second touchdown of the game during the Edmonton Eskimos versus the Calgary Stampeders CFL game at Commonwealth stadium on July 3, 2008. (Jordan Verlage/Sun Media)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET

EDMONTON -- The 2007 edition of the Edmonton Eskimos wouldn't have pulled off Thursday's comeback.

OK, nobody really knows that for sure -- but it is a pretty good assumption.

Trailing by four points to the Calgary Stampeders with 1:38 left, this year's Eskimo crew clawed back to win.

Last year's club lacked confidence. This year's club suddenly has a boatload of it heading into next week's home game against Toronto.

But the story behind a 34-31 Edmonton win over Calgary is the fact the Eskimos showed an impressive amount of toughness and good character.

That's a very good sign for a team that's been searching to improve the character of the players in the locker room.

Take starting defensive back Lenny Williams.

On a few plays in the drive that led to Nik Lewis' touchdown which put Calgary ahead late in the game, Williams wasn't on the field.

Back-up Tristan Jackson was trying to fill his shoes at a critical moment.

"It was a tough game for me," said Williams. "I got blindsided. Trying to make a tackle, a guy's foot gets stuck in my shoulder pad and almost ripped my shoulder up."

But after Ricky Ray and Jason Tucker connected for an incredible 36-yard touchdown with 55 seconds left to give Edmonton the 34-31 lead, Williams came back to help kill Calgary's last gasp attempt. That drive ended with a Jordan Younger interception to seal the win.

"I came back to finish the game. It is about guts. Tucker made that great catch, so I had to come out there and play," said Williams.

Receiver Kelly Campbell is another example, returning for the winning touchdown drive after suffering a knee injury earlier in the game.

The rookie lied about his health to training staff so they'd let him back on the field.

Campbell went out his way to thank his teammates for helping him put up 158 receiving yards and two majors.

"I got to thank my other receivers, who opened (the field) up and made a way for me to make those plays," said Campbell.

That is another good character sign.

This Eskimos team still has a long way to go, needing to improve defensively and in the rushing department.

But behind the scenes, there are some positive signs.


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