They might only have been a one-trick pony, but what a trick it was.
Whenever the Edmonton Eskimos relied on Ricky Ray to play all 18 games in a season, the quarterback responded with an average of more than 5,200 passing yards.
It happened in 2005, ’06, ’08 and ’09, but he could take it or leave it this year.
“We’ve done a good job throwing the football the last few years,” Ray said. “I’m really excited about how we ran the ball last year. I think we’re not so pass heavy as we have been.”
Arkee Whitlock ran for 1,293 yards to mark the first time since 2006 that an Eskimos running back had more than 1,000 yards.
“That’s probably why I’ve been up there at the top in yardage because we throw the ball so much,” Ray said. “This year, I’m looking for our run game to pick up where it left off last year and maybe be a little more balanced with the numbers.”
So far it hasn’t happened. In parts of two preseason games, Ray completed 17 of 20 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while the run game has struggled while Whitlock was injured.
Whether it’s pass, rush or a mix of the two, the Eskimos offence will look to improve on the steps it took toward last year’s 9-9 record and first West Division playoff appearance since 2005.
“We just want to be a better team week in and week out for four quarters every game,” Ray said. “I know we’re going to have some tough times, we’re not going to go out there and just have our way with everybody, but we just want to be a few games better.
“It seems like last year we just had some really bad games mixed in with some good games and we need to eliminate those.”