Them's fightin' words

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Mike Kelly might have just earned himself some space on the bulletin boards inside opposing CFL locker-rooms.

Apparently not concerned about how his words might be received, the Edmonton Eskimos receiver's coach believes the Green and Gold has the top receiving core in the CFL - even though Jason Tucker will miss the rest of the season.

"I think we are the best," said Kelly.

"I truly, honestly believe that.

"I don't see other receiving cores blocking downfield like our guys are.

"I don't see other teams utilizing the crack block - where we come in and catch a linebacker off guard - like our guys are doing.

"And that is regardless of our pass catching abilities, which I think are better than everybody else doing that, too."

KEY MATCHUP

With the Esks facing the Lions in a key West Division showdown tonight (8:30 p.m. MT, TSN, CHED) in Vancouver, Kelly's words definitely got the attention of B.C.'s defensive backs.

"That is a bold statement," said Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips. "Coming into the season I wouldn't have said that. Winnipeg had two all-stars last year.

"But they go out there and compete (this year). Kelly Campbell ... is making an impact. They are definitely playing good football."

Added B.C. defensive back Korey Banks: "This is a week-to-week league. You can be great this week. You can be horse (bleep) the next week."

Edmonton's receiving core was outstanding last week as they torched the Lions in a 35-24 victory.

Five members in the group caught at least one pass while Ricky Ray threw for 392 yards and two touchdowns.

But the receivers also punished the Lions' linebacking core and secondary with wicked blocks.

ON THEIR HEELS

"We had three different guys all de-cleat the opponent - where we knocked them right off their feet and onto their back (last week)," Kelly explained.

"On one play, Fred Stamps took out three B.C. Lions. He knocked the linebacker that he was suppose to be blocking, knocked him back into the next linebacker in.

"And, of course, the halfback was chasing Fred in.

"It was on a toss play to AJ Harris."

Based on stats entering this week, Edmonton didn't have a single receiver in the top five on the CFL's yardage chart.

Ironically, the Lions had two in the top five: Geroy Simon (483 yards) and Paris Jackson (477).

But Edmonton has three in the top 11 - Campbell, Kamau Peterson and Stamps.

Calgary can boast the same stat with Ken-Yon Rambo, Nik Lewis and Brett Ralph among the top 11 in receiving yardage in the league.

"I just don't see the guys on other clubs working with quite the precision that our guys are working with right now," said Kelly.

As an example, Kelly gave Brock Ralph - who caught just one ball last week - a 96% grade for his overall work last Thursday.


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