Drops coming back to haunt Esks’ receivers

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

Fred Stamps doesn’t know what the big deal is.

The Eskimos receiver leads the league in receiving with 399 yards in three games, but the balls that have hit the turf have been getting a lot of attention.

“A lot of people are all over the drops or whatever, but everybody drops the ball,” Stamps said. “Jerry Rice dropped the ball. Milt Stegall dropped the ball. The greatest receivers to every play the game dropped the ball.”

True, but his one drop in Edmonton’s game against Montreal two weeks ago probably would have sealed an Eskimos win. Instead, they lost. Kelly Campbell, meanwhile, dropped a sure touchdown in last week’s loss to Saskatchewan. Edmonton had to settle for a field goal and lost by four.

Quarterback Ricky Ray is happy with his pass catchers. He just wishes they would improve their timing a bit.

“That’s the tough thing,” Ray said. “They’re making so many good plays for us, putting us in a lot of good situations. It’s just that we’re making our mistakes at the wrong time.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Stamps and Bomber quarterback Steven Jyles are good friends. They played against one another for four years in college (Jyles at Louisiana-Monroe and Stamps at Louisiana-Lafayette) before becoming teammates in Edmonton.

“You just can’t let Steven get loose,” Stamps said. “If he gets loose and gets his confidence up, he’s a tough quarterback to play against.”

Stamps and Jyles were planning to get together on Friday night.

MAKING MOVES: Both teams are making two roster changes.

Jyles and running back Daryl Stephenson are in for the Bombers, with Buck Pierce (knee) and linebacker Chris Smith going out. The only other change to the starting lineup is receiver Aaron Hargreaves replacing Cory Watson.

The Eskimos, meanwhile, will welcome back defensive tackle Dario Romero and safety Jason Nugent. Out are defensive tackle Andre Coleman and safety Corbin Sharun.

NOT QUITE READY: Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice hoped to have defensive back Alex Suber (hamstring) back in the lineup, but wants the rookie to get completely healthy first.

“He’s close and he could play, but we don’t want the repercussions if something were to happen,” LaPolice said. “He’d be out for another three weeks, so we held him.”

Clint Kent will make his third straight start at strong-side halfback in Suber’s place.

QUOTABLE: “If panic is in your arsenal after the third week of the season, you don’t feel very good about your football team. Every team is going to go through a stretch where they struggle. It just happened to be ours.”

— Eskimos head coach Richie Hall

LATE HITS: The last time the Eskimos started a season 0-4 was in 1965 … The Eskimos are giving up a league-worst 166 rushing yards per game … The Bombers are giving up a league-worst 31 points per game … Edmonton has been outscored 29-0 in the fourth quarter this season … Saturday’s contest will air on the NFL Network. It’s one of three Bomber games that will appear on the channel in 2010 … The Bombers have placed offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly on the nine-game injured list, even though he has been practising for the last two weeks … The Bombers had sold 23,500 tickets as of Friday afternoon.

PLAYER TO WATCH

QB Steven Jyles, No. 3

It’s just the second career CFL start for the quarterback out of Louisiana-Monroe, and all eyes will be on the 27-year-old pivot as he tries to fill Buck Pierce’s large shoes.

NUMBERS GAME

8 — Catches of more than 30 yards by Edmonton receivers this season, which is tops in the CFL.

3-2 — Steven Jyles’ record as a CFL quarterback. He is 1-0 in his only start and 2-2 in games where he was the quarterback of record.

105 — Penalty yards for the Edmonton offence this season, the most in the CFL.

BOMBERS — WHO'S HOT

SB Terrence Edwards, No. 82 — The University of Georgia product is averaging 106 receiving yards per game this season and has three touchdowns.]

BOMBERS — WHO'S NOT

LB Marcellus Bowman, No. 38 — The rookie out of Boston College struggled last week in Hamilton, but the coaching staff is sticking with him.

BOMBERS — MILESTONE WATCH

Defensive tackle Doug Brown needs one tackle to pass Paul Randolph and for third on Winnipeg’s career list with 361.

ESKIMOS — WHO'S HOT

LB Maurice Lloyd, No. 47 — Returning to his Saskatchewan form. The reigning CFL defensive player of the week had six tackles, including two sacks and one tackle for a loss, last week.

ESKIMOS — WHO'S HOT

SB Fred Stamps, No. 2 — Leads the league in receiving with 399 yards, but it can be argued a drop and a fumble by the Louisiana-Lafayette product have played big roles in two of Edmonton’s losses.

ESKIMOS — MILESTONE WATCH

QB Ricky Ray needs 132 passing yards to supplant Henry Burris for 11th spot on the CFL’s career list with 33,391. Twenty minutes later, Burris can regain the lead.


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