Calls won't beat Esks

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:20 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos aren’t letting some inconsistency in how CFL officials call pass interference penalties interfere with how they play the game.

Forward pass interference calls against Eskimos cornerbacks Jason Goss and Lawrence Gordon set up the Toronto Argonauts’ game-winning scoring drive in the final minute of last Friday’s game, leading to a one-yard rushing touchdown by Cory Boyd.

But the Eskimos aren’t the only ones left questioning that particular call, which is left completely up to the discretion of the officials. Saskatchewan Roughriders fans were also shrugging their shoulders after a pass interference penalty impacted their 30-26 defeat by the Montreal Alouettes earlier that day.

The penalties that were called aren’t the only problem. It’s the potential pass interference plays that aren’t called that leads to confusion among players, coaches and fans. The inconsistency seemed to be at its worst last week.

“Technically, I guess from a rulebook perspective nothing has changed,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “It’s just sometimes I think we all look out there as far as trying to find what is and what isn’t (pass interference).

“As players, at times we’re inconsistent. As coaches, we’re inconsistent and I think sometimes the officials are inconsistent regarding various calls out there.”

The last thing Hall wants is for his defensive players to let up in case a call is made.

“No, I just want to tell them to go out there and be aggressive,” Hall said. “Our interpretation as far as what it is, that’s the way we want to teach them to play. We’re constantly always talking to the officials and talking to the league in regards to what is and what isn’t (a penalty), because we don’t want to coach the wrong thing.

“What we want to do is make the officials’ jobs easy by telling us what it is and applying the rules in that manner.”

And in a perfect world, everything would be in sync.

“Anytime there’s a judgment, there’s always that grey area,” Hall said. “What I was always told was that officials make less mistakes than us coaches and the players. To me, it’s about just going out there and this is what it states in the officials’ hand manual and that’s the way we’re going to apply it.

“How they call it, we can’t control that. People are always going to have their own opinions.”

Gordon said the referees aren’t on his mind during a play.

“I’m just looking to go out and be aggressive, be competitive and challenge receivers,” he said. “Referees do their job and we do our job. I don’t believe it will be in the back of my mind at all. When you’re in a game, you’re just going out and competing.

“Your mind doesn’t have scenarios like that on it.”

Besides, the opposition faces the same challenge when it comes to pass interference calls.

“It goes both ways. The only thing that we hope for is that you call it consistently,” Gordon said. “If you’re going to call pass interference, call it. But you can’t call it all day long and it won’t beat us every time.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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