No dance for Ramonce

GERRY MODDENJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:38 PM ET

There is no love lost, but the Ramonce is gone.

The Edmonton Eskimos cut seven players from training camp on Tuesday, including second-year running back Ramonce Taylor.

That leaves 1,000-yard rusher Arkee Whitlock and NCAA poster-boy Daniel Libre as the only imports left at the position.

“One of the things is just being the all-around back,” head coach Richie Hall said of the decision to cut Taylor loose. “He didn’t progress to the rate that we needed at pass protection. We need that out of that position.

“As a ball carrier, when he has the ball in his hands, he’s pretty special. But at the same time, you can’t carry the ball every snap. It’s what do you do with those other times. Is he productive?”

Libre certainly was in his first appearance with the Green and Gold in Sunday’s preseason game against the B.C. Lions.

Although he only had five carries for 24 yards in one quarter of play, the late training camp arrival is showing promise.

“He did a solid job,” Hall said. “We have to remember he was only in camp for a short amount of time. It wasn’t like he got the building blocks to it, it was just thrust upon him in the middle of the (preseason). But he ran tough, showed some speed getting to the outside.

“I think he felt as comfortable as you can feel. When that happens, your natural abilities take over.”

Libre’s instincts allow him to play larger than his five-foot-eight, 195-pound frame.

“One of the things I really was impressed with is he took a pretty solid hit on one of those plays and he held onto the football,” said Hall. “(In practice), we don’t go live, so for him to do that and hang onto the football — out of all the plays that he had during the game, that’s probably the one that impresses me the most.”

The early indications were enough for coaches to cut ties with Taylor, whom they had been grooming into their system since bringing him on board midway through last season.

“Every decision that you make, it’s a domino effect from another person,” Hall said. “We feel that if we let someone of Taylor’s stature go, we have a pretty solid guy that we feel comfortable with.”

Libre will only improve under Whitlock, who participated in the team rundown at Clarke Park on Tuesday after spending most of training camp sidelined with a leg injury.

Hopefully, the return of the starter will help turn around an anemic rushing attack on display in their two preseason games.

“There are glimpses that we’ve been able to run the football, but overall I’m not happy with it at all,” Hall said. “There are too many times that we’re second and short and we weren’t able to convert. We’re not getting the job done.”

But the heat doesn’t only fall on Taylor, who didn’t even play last Sunday.

“We all have to shoulder the blame,” Hall said. “Us coaches, the players, the front, because if we’re not able to run the ball effectively, that makes us a one-dimensional team.”

Also released were import defensive back Gemara Williams, import defensive linemen Anthony Maddox and Larry Birdine, import receiver Kelton Tindal, import offensive lineman Jabari Ferguson and import quarterback Floyd Haigler.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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