Eskimos trying to close the gaps

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos aren't exactly in a rush to face the Calgary Stampeders.

And with the league's worst run defence statistically tattooed across their foreheads, who can blame them?

Calgary ran for 159 yards in their last meeting, adding to the 154.4-yard average the Eskimos have allowed at this point in the season as oppoents have taken advantage of them on the ground.

"Last week, that wasn't the case," said Eskimos defensive tackle Dario Romero, whose squad held the Saskatchewan Roughriders to just 89 yards. "Everybody's been doing their job, everybody has one gap. I think the weeks before, we got ahead of ourselves and some guys were trying to do more than just what they needed to do."

It was only the second time all season they've held the damage to under the 100-yard plateau.

"That's the benchmark," Romero said. "Anything over 100 is not a good game."

And there have been plenty of those on their way to a 2-6 record.

"It's not what teams are doing to us, it's what we're not doing," said Eskimos middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd. "We're not being fundamentally sound, we're not taking care of our responsibilities, we're not demanding each player to take responsibility for themselves.

"Last week against Saskatchewan, each player demanded themselves to stay in their gap and rally to the ball. When you have 12 guys rallying to the ball, it's hard for one guy to break tackles to get big runs."

And the Eskimos want to make things as difficult as possible for Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds.

"He's a tough running back," said Romero. "He's been hitting north and south this year, a little bit different style than he's used to running."

But it's not like they need Kryptonite to stop him.

"I think the best thing for us against Joffrey is just make sure that nobody tries to be a Superman," said Lloyd. "Just take care of the little things and that's staying in our gap and making sure tackles."

But Reynolds is only one prong in the Stampeders rushing attack this year, now that Jon Cornish is getting more involved.

"Cornish, when he's in there he's a fast guy. When he gets some space, he can take the ball and they work well together," Romero said. "Reynolds is more of a north-south guy, a tougher guy. You've got Cornish who is more of a speed guy, a finesse guy."

The two combined for 153 rushing yards in their last meeting, with Reynolds leading the way with 79.

"Cornish is a good running back, I don't take anything from him," sayd Lloyd. "He and Joffrey, to me, they've got the same type of running style: downhill, shoulders over their toes, like to punish people. When you meet a running back like that, you either bring it or you take it."

At the same time, they need to put pressure on quarterback Henry Burris, who threw for more than 300 yards in their last meeting.

"Yeah, that's definitely our goal, is to get after Burris," Romero said. "We know once we get Burris out of his rhythm that they're a different type of offence."

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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