Sack potential just Peachy

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 PM ET

EDMONTON - Trivia quiz time.

Name the three players who led the 2009 Edmonton Eskimos in sacks.

Dario Romero. Check. Kai Ellis. Check. Greg Peach. Whaaaaat?

“Last year was a blur,” said Peach. “It was my first year here, my rookie season. I really didn’t know what to expect. From watching last year’s film, there’s a lot of things I can do better at. I know I can play better than I did last year.”

OK, so the Eskimos defensive line did not exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposing quarterbacks, with a CFL-low 32 kills.

Peach may have been the only rookie in the bunch, but he came to this team with some pretty good credentials.

He ended his career with a school record 35.5 sacks, at East Washington State, the same Cheney, Wash., school Romero graduated from eight years earlier.

“There’s a great tradition at Eastern of winning and great players that come through there,” said Peach. “His jersey’s on the wall there as one of the best D linemen to ever have played there. I knew about him coming in here.”

That made the transition into the lineup much more comfortable. Given the fact Peach plays defensive end right next to Romero, it became an instant connection.

“I was kinda glad there was an alumni here I could talk to,” said Peach. “We ended up playing beside each other.”

Both players make their off-season home in Spokane and the relationship continued as they trained with each other in the

off-season.

“He’s one of the best defensive tackles in the league, so I may as well train with the best,” said Peach. “It worked out well to have him here.

“It’s like I’m the next generation (from East Washington).”

Now that Romero’s arm is completely healed and Peach has one year under his belt, it appears they’re ready to fly like the Eagles once again.

“I’ve had a great time,” said Peach, who started in all 16 games he appeared in during his rookie year. “Nothing beats playing football for your profession. I hope to do it for as long as my body allows me to do it. As long as somebody gives me a chance, I’d like to do this for the next 10-12 years.”

WHAT’S IN THE SACK?

Head coach Richie Hall seemed unconcerned that his team finished 2009 at the bottom of the sacks heap. Romero’s injury certainly had something to do with that, since he was leading the team in sacks when he was injured.

“If you look at that other place I was at, we were never one of the league leaders in sacks, but I thought we were a pretty good defensive team and we put pressure on the quarterback,” said Hall.

“A lot of times, stats are misleading. Somebody could have three sacks, and never beat their man the whole game. They just blow

things.”

Hall seems crafty enough to have the ability to see a bigger picture on what’s more important.

“If you ask a quarterback what causes you more problems — a sack or pressure — what we want to do is be relentless with our pressure,”

said Hall. “Sacks will come. Statistics can be very misleading. Yeah, you like sacks, but pressures are more important to me.”

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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