Edmonton is Lemon-ation

The Esks want Argos QB Cleo Lemon to move to the air attack in Friday's game.

The Esks want Argos QB Cleo Lemon to move to the air attack in Friday's game.

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos want the ball in Cleo Lemon’s hands.

They want the rookie quarterback dropping back to throw as often as possible.

They want the Toronto Argonauts to try and beat them through the air.

“He wants to come in here and try to put up big numbers and it’s our job to try and rattle him early and not allow him to do that,” said Eskimos cornerback Jason Goss. “We have to make him have to do things that he doesn’t like to do. They run the ball a lot, so we have to try and stop the run and make them try to throw the ball, which will work out to our advantage.”

Heading into Friday’s contest, the Argonauts’ rookie quarterback is still trying to find his stride.

Lemon is averaging just over 181-yards passing per game and has thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three) so far this season.

Having limited B.C. Lions sophomore Travis Lulay to 134 yards passing last weekend, the Eskimos defensive secondary is salivating at the though of going up against another inexperience pivot. Especially defensive back Chris Thompson, who is leading the league with five interceptions this year.

“I hope he comes my way so I can keep getting these picks and getting these turnovers for the offence so we can score,” said Thompson. “But we’ll see how it goes (Friday).

“He’s a young quarterback, but he’s very capable, he has a strong arm, so you always have to account for that. We have to come out, get some momentum going, step on him early and try to keep it going throughout the whole game.”

The Eskimos want Lemon to try and beat them.

The key to making that happen is shutting down the league’s leading rusher in Cory Boyd, forcing the Argonauts to throw the ball.

“That’s always our general game plan going in,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “We want to try and make a team one-dimensional, which means taking away the run.

“They have a good running back, he runs hard. He’s had a successful season in a short time right now, and so we have our work cut out for us.”

Boyd has rushed for 484 yards this season and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. However, last week in a 41-10 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, the South Carolina product was limited to 53 yards on nine carries.

That put the onus on Lemon to move the offence, which he struggled to do.

“The one thing I noticed about Lemon, is that he has a strong arm,” Goss said. “If it comes down to it, he wants everything to be on his shoulders, which is pretty much how a young quarterback is.

“There have been a lot of things said about him this week and whether he’s the right quarterback for his team. He’s going to come into this game with a chip on his shoulder as well, like he has something to prove.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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