Situation familiar to Maas

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

It's all or nothing now for the Edmonton Eskimos.

So far, all it's been is nothing, which is what prompted organization president Rick LeLacheur to publicly address the team's 0-4 start, putting everyone from himself on down on notice that no one's job is safe unless things change.

It is a desperate measure that is avoided in all but the most dire of situations, but Eskimos backup quarterback Jason Maas has seen this very situation unfold before.

"I was in a similar situation in Hamilton, where you've got your general manager and head of football operations coming into meetings and talking about how your performance on the field wasn't good enough and everybody's job's not safe," said the 11-year CFL veteran who left the Eskimos to take over the starting role at pivot with the Tigercats in 2006.

That year, the Tabbies also got off to an 0-4 start before getting their first victory in Week 5 and ending up 4-14.

"It's an environment you never want to find yourself in as a player or as an organization," said Maas, who never thought it would ever get to that point in Edmonton.

"No, I didn't, to be honest with you. Especially with the team we've had. But I'm an optimist at heart -- a pessimist in a lot of ways on my own play and things like that -- but overall, I like to look at the positives in every situation and take something good out of it.

"What I see in our club is a team that is 0-4 and you can't deny that, but we've arrived at 0-4 in a lot of different ways and no one would argue the fact that we've been in every game. Even this last one."

Now, this week could be their last after each and everyone in the organization was put on notice pending Friday's outcome.

"But when the head guy is saying that his head's on the line and everybody else's if things don't get turned around, it just shows you how important it is to win here," Maas said.

"Also, what responsibility players have and upper management has in holding each and every one of us accountable.

"More than anything, you should be taking it to heart as a player and look at yourself in the mirror. If there are things you can improve upon, you need to do that and do it quickly."

The Eskimos could have just as easily been 1-3 or 2-2 right now if things had gone a little differently at times, but a different record wouldn't fix the root of the problems the team has right now.

"Maybe this is what we needed to change the whole culture of our team right now," Maas said.

"Ultimately, if everyone on our team looks in the mirror and gets a little bit better, we're going to turn it around. We're going to have something to look back upon as the turning point in our season and hopefully gone through the roughest stretch of our season real early."

While there still is hope, it can only take a team so far.

"We've talked all we can talk during the course of the week, It's about going out there and playing and backing up what we say we can do," said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall.

Now it's the players' turn to respond.


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