Stats are for losers

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Has an offence ever played into the hands of a defence more spectacularly than Danny Maciocia's to Rich Stubler's?

The Edmonton Eskimos have produced 'Dink and Dump' offences the last two seasons and the Toronto Argos have specialized in being a defence which has forced teams to become 'Dink and Dump' offences against their will.

The Eskimos have a four-game losing streak against Toronto. The Argos have won by scores of 28-25, 28-23, 33-8 and 18-11.

OUTNUMBERED

In those four games, in back-to-back situations in each of the last two seasons, Edmonton has a combined 88 first downs to Toronto's 58.

The Eskimos, in those four games, produced 1,200 total yards to the Argos 1,091.

In combined time of possession it adds up to 136.17 for the green and gold to 103.43 by the double blue.

Edmonton has kicked the beejeebers out of Toronto statistically. And lost all four games!

Two years ago against the Argos, at home, the Eskimos had a 30-10 "edge" in first downs, a 490-289 advantage in total yards and a 37.54 to 22.06 advantage in time of possession. And lost the game!

Last year in Toronto the Eskimos lost 33-8 but the first downs were 15-15 and Edmonton won the time-of- possession stat.

If the Eskimos are indeed a new-philosophy offence they claim they'll be this year, the latest back-to-back scenario against the Argos, which begins with tonight's tilt at Commonwealth Stadium, is the litmus test.

Another set of statistical wins and scoreboard losses is going to go over like a lead balloon.

"It should be a good measure of how we're going to do," said offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman. "Absolutely, that's where the game is at.

"They force you to dink and dump," he says of little outlet passes and short dump passes.

"They give you the stuff underneath and take away the long ball with five guys deep. You can dink and dump for 70 yards but not get a touchdown. They win.

"The thing about playing that veteran Toronto defence is that your preparation has to be bang on."

If there's a quarterback in the league who should be best equipped to deal with it, he says it should be Ricky Ray.

"His temperament and mindset fit that style. Other guys are more likely to panic."

A running game and receivers who get yards after the catch would help.

The irony of all of this is that Stubler, who is now the head coach of the Argos, actually developed the defence in Edmonton as Eskimos defensive co-ordinator for seven seasons.

"I guess it started when I took out a traditional linebacker and moved Don Wilson from defensive back. It kind of developed when Doug Flutie came to Calgary. He'd pick us apart. And at that time Toronto was creating matchups with Pinball Clemons against linebackers.

"Every offence in the CFL, except maybe Montreal, is set up for the big play. I like the odds when people throw the ball downfield. You can run the corner route against air and only go five for 10," he said of running deep plays in practice with no defenders.

FIND A WAY

In the end, Ricky Ray has to find a way to solve it with or without all the weapons.

"I'd like to be the first offence to consistently solve it. They're a good defence that knows what they're doing. You don't get many man-on man situations with them like we had against Calgary.

"You have to beat their schemes.

"They constantly force you into throwing underneath and if you do that, you're playing into their hands.

"The last couple of years our philosophy was to stay on the field and win the time of possession. But you have to have the big plays. This year we're trying to get some balance back here."

Ricky Ray knows that the statistics say he's the best quarterback in the CFL. After being in the Grey Cup in each of his first three years in the league and winning two, he's also learned the last two years that statistics are for losers.

Especially against the Argos.


Videos

Photos