Esks feelin' the heat

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

The heat is coming.

At least that is what the Edmonton Eskimos expect from the Toronto Argos defence this weekend.

After beating Toronto 47-28 last Thursday at Commonwealth Stadium, the Green and Gold believe their offensive line will see more bodies and pressure from the Argo defence in the rematch on Sunday.

"I expect them to come out and pressure us a little bit more," said Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray.

"I think last game they played a little more coverage."

Ronald Flemons - a six-foot-six, 265-pound lineman - is expected to dress for the Argos in Sunday's game at the Rogers Centre (2 p.m. MT, CHED, TSN), adding some size to the D-line.

Letting Ray set his feet in the pocket and throw down field this year is proving to be a tough pill for defences to swallow.

The Calgary Stampeders let Ray throw for 448 yards in the July 3 Edmonton victory.

Toronto kept Ray to just 213 yards through the air, but he still completed 69.6% of his passes and found Jason Tucker for a key touchdown in the fourth quarter last week.

"I think they (the Argos defence) are going to do something different," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia. "To think that you are going to go in to (Sunday's game) and get the status quo - what you got here last week - you are kidding yourself.

"I am sure they are going to try to get a little more physical with us up front and we have to prepare for it."

QUICK HIT: Tristan Jackson received all the headlines for his 61-yard punt return for a touchdown last week against the Argos, but he's sharing the Eskimos' special teams player of the week honour - which is determined by the people in the locker-room - with Tyler Clutts.

Clutts had four special teams tackles in the 47-28 win to help give the Esks a 2-1 regular-season record.

The rookie is one tackle from leading the league in that department entering Week 4.

HELPING HAND: Back-up quarterback Jason Maas quietly walked onto the Commonwealth Stadium grass before a play in the second quarter last week to talk to Jason Tucker.

It was a rare sight considering back-up pivots rarely venture that far off the sidelines - probably at least 20 feet - to talk to a receiver before a play begins.

But that is Maas's involvement in the Eskimos' offence this year - helping guide players with little tidbits of information.

"It was something about a route, something I had seen about their defence," said Maas, remembering the conversation with Tucker.

"That is what I try to do. I try to talk to the younger guys, the older guys - just about little things I see. I know the reason why we put in routes during the week. They can't exactly see everything on the field. I can see quite a bit of what they should be seeing."

It was widely expected that Maas would be acting as a quasi-coach this season behind undisputed starter Ricky Ray. Now that is becoming clear to the naked eye in games.

FINISH LINES: Fred Perry still doesn't have a sack this season, but Maciocia isn't unhappy with his defensive end.

In fact, the head coach made Perry his defensive star in last Thursday's win against Toronto.

"He had a couple of balls that were batted down, created a lot of havoc in the back end," said Maciocia. "We have a tendency to tie statistics to people's performance.

"As coaches, we watch about 60 to 65 defensive plays (each game) and we grade them on how they do their job, not the number of sacks that they may end up with."\


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