Searching for answers

Edmonton Eskimo head coach Richie Hall faces the media Tuesday for the first time since the team’s...

Edmonton Eskimo head coach Richie Hall faces the media Tuesday for the first time since the team’s collapse in Cowtown.

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:55 PM ET

The contention has always been that the talent was there.

That the Edmonton Eskimos were simply one catch, one tackle, one missed block away from turning their season around.

However, after Sunday’s 56-15 embarrassment in Calgary, it’s evident the Eskimos don’t have the player personnel to right the ship.

Changes need to be made.

“I still think that we do have personnel here,” said head coach Richie Hall.

“That doesn’t mean that you stand status quo. It goes back to that saying that, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

“Right now the reality is that we’re 1-6 with what we’ve done, so you have to look at making changes.”

The problem for the Eskimos heading into their bye week, is where to start?

The team is a mess.

“Some changes are easier to make than others, but you can’t stay status quo,” Hall said. “It’s all about trying to get better. There has to be change.”

The Eskimos’ problems are rooted deeper than originally suspected. Two days after the beating, Hall was still searching for answers.

“I felt very good going up into the game against Calgary,” he said. “We had a good week at practice, the morale was high. I just felt confident that we were ready to play and then we go out there and things don’t work out the way we had intended. I wish I could put my finger as to why, but it didn’t happen.”

Heading into the bye week, the Eskimos have some time to make their decisions on what changes need to be made.

They’ve been scouting NFL camps south of the border in search of reinforcements. As NFL teams trim their rosters heading towards their regular season, a number of talented players are expected to become available.

“We have some guys targeted that we are looking at who we feel can help our football team,” Hall said. “But at the same time, they’re still in training camp down there.

“You’re always looking to improve your football team, but when you talk about wholesale changes you have to be careful, because you also have to have players to replace them.

“I don’t believe you make changes just for the sake of making changes. You’re making changes to improve your football team and not just to do something. I think if you lose a good football player, then you have to get a good football player that will come in and take his job.”

Coming back from their break, the Eskimos host the Saskatchewan Roughriders before playing a home-and-home series with the Stampeders.

“We’ve been meeting and reassessing our team and looking at every football aspect, looking at our shortcomings, what do we do to go forward and how do we get better,” Hall said. “There are a lot of areas that we need to address, but we’re slowly pinpointing the problem areas and what solutions we come up with.”

Who will be around to make those decisions ?

Having already dismissed general manager Danny Maciocia, the heat is on the remaining Eskimos coaching staff to turn things around.

“I think that what we have to do is see where we go from here,” Hall said.

“How we do things, what we’re doing. All I know is at this point of the season, at the break, we’re 1-6 and that’s unacceptable. We can’t continue to operate in the fashion that we’re operating in.”

NOTES: It wasn’t all bad news for the Eskimos Sunday in Calgary. Receiver Kelly Campbell had a strong game returning kicks. Campbell had five kickoff returns for 141 yards and five punt returns for 162 yards, which included a 95-yard touchdown return. For his efforts, Campbell was named the league’s special teams player of the week.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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