Offence is zoned in

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

The red zone is no longer a frustrating zone for the Edmonton Eskimos offence.

The Green and Gold scored three touchdowns in four trips inside the B.C. 20-yard line last Thursday.

That comes on the heels of a disappointing two games when the Esks mustered just two touchdowns in seven trips into the prime scoring area.

Trying to keep the hot streak intact, the Esks will roll into B.C. Place tomorrow night to play the Lions (8:30 p.m. MT, CHED, TSN) with 22 red-zone plays in the playbook - a stark increase from the estimated six the team had last year.

"I think our biggest thing this year versus last year is we are more diverse," said offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman, who took over from Jacques Chapdelaine in the off-season.

"You never know what defences are going to do to you until you get out on the field. So, our package (of plays) is bigger."

To Worman's credit, he doesn't believe the success from last week's game means the team has turned the corner and solved all of its issues in the red zone.

"It is too early to say that. We are at the corner," he remarked.

"We have done some good things. The chemistry is starting to come together. I wouldn't say that we have arrived."

For the season, Edmonton has scored nine touchdowns in 21 opportunities for a 43% success rate scoring majors in the red zone.

QUICK HIT: Trying to add to the hype of an entertaining first third of the season, the CFL head office issued several statistics yesterday.

Offensive touchdowns are up 19.2% compared to last year.

The average total score per game is 53.9 points, up 9.8% from last season and 15.4% from 2006.

"It seems that every club has a guy that has made one or a couple of big catches throughout the first third of the season," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia, giving his reasoning for why the figures are on the rise.

"The other thing that I have noticed is there seems to be more speed (on offence). People are challenging people vertically."

The league has also seen a decrease in total penalties by 21.6% this year.

FINISH LINES: Proving how different the Eskimos are in the fourth quarter this year compared to last season, the club has already scored 60 points in the final quarter this year.

In comparison, Edmonton scored 60 points in the fourth quarter during all of 2007.

"We don't panic," said Maciocia, believing an attitude change on the sidelines is the reason for the turnaround.

"We believe. We think we can win football games whether you are up by three (points), down by three or the score is tied (in the fourth quarter)."

An influx of new players in the off-season has helped with the attitude change.

To put the fourth quarter scoring in perspective, Edmonton is averaging 10 points in the final 15 minutes through six games this season. The Esks averaged just three points in the final stanza last year.


Videos

Photos