Esks' Barnes glad to get a game under his belt

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:51 PM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos held a good ol’ fashioned Barnes raising.

Jason Barnes made his season debut against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, but unfortunately couldn’t help raise the team to its first victory of the year.

“It was definitely good to get back in the mix of things,” said the second-year receiver out of Sacramento State — the same school where Ricky Ray played.

“It didn’t turn out the way we wanted but I think we’re pretty close to where we want to be.”

For Barnes, that place was in the starting lineup ever since putting together an impressive showing in training camp.

But as a team, the Eskimos wanted to be anywhere other than winless at this point in the season.

‘Mental mistakes’

“We just need to eliminate a few of the mental mistakes and errors that we made and we’re on the right track,” said Barnes, who started the last four games of the 2009 season at slotbback but has been lining up at wide receiver to make way for Kelly Campbell.

“I’ve been in the slot for the most part, but it’s not a difficult position to learn, it’s just that I’m back on the line (of scrimmage) without a waggle but it’s not hard to adjust.”

While slotbacks have the advantage of running a waggle, which resembles a zigzag in an attempt to elude defenders, there are advantages out wide.

“The good thing is you know where everybody is at so you don’t have people coming from the back side because you’re against the sideline,” said Barnes, who grew anxious on the sidelines during the first two weeks of the season.

‘Difficult thing’

“It was definitely a difficult thing to be on the sideline watching when you think you should be out there on the field playing.”

While Barnes showed exactly what he is capable of since the latter part of last season, his absence was less of a demotion and more of a way to make room for others to try and do the same.

“They knew what they had with me, they knew they could pretty much put me in everywhere so I think for the most part they were just trying to see where everybody else could fit in,” said Barnes. “Because they knew I was pretty much insurance, playing for them.”

While Barnes had just three receptions for 23 of the Eskimos’ 333 passing yards last Saturday, his presence bolsters an impressive receiving corps that has Fred Stamps (first) and Campbell (fourth) among the CFL’s top five receivers.

As much as he would have liked to have helped turn the team’s misfortunes around in his first outing, Barnes said his time will come.

“A loss is a loss whether I’m on the field or not so it’s going to burn either way but we’re not too far off and could easily be 2-1 right now,” he said.

“The only game we really lost was to B.C. (in Week 1), I think we gave the other two away.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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