Esks O-line taking control

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:28 PM ET

For a while there, the Edmonton Eskimos O-line looked more like an owe-line, but they can be considered paid in full for their work in helping push the team to win three of their last four.

The Eskimos offence is coming off a 346-yard rushing performance against the B.C. Lions, and faces another divisional opponent this week that has fallen victim to the rush recently.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in danger of losing their third game in a row if the Eskimos are indeed able to run over the defence.

Im an O-line coach, I think we can run on anybody, Eskimos squad leader Tim Prinsen said following last weeks win. Weve been working hard to get off the ball and create some movement and give our backs some space. And we were fortunate enough to be able to do that (last Saturday) night.

Their efforts havent gone unnoticed by their quarterback, either.

Theyre really stepping up their game this last month or so of the season, Ray said. Theyre really starting to come together, playing with a lot of confidence. Coach Prinsens doing a great job with their technique and getting them all on the same page.

When youre able to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage like that, a lot of good things are going to happen for your offence and we all know it starts with them up front.

Its fitting that responsibility falls on the players with the biggest shoulders on the team.

Thats the way it goes in football, up front is where it starts offensively and defensively, said Eskimos centre Aaron Fiacconi. We get paid to do a job, its brutal and physical may the best man win. Were starting to come out on top of a lot of these battles down the stretch here.

Last week, the Eskimos allowed just one sack, while gaining ground seemingly at will.

Its extremely satisfying because this group here has been under the gun all year, said Fiacconi. Weve been pushed down, weve been beaten up, talked poorly about and weve risen to the occasion the past few weeks.

Three-hundred and forty-plus yards rushing, that felt pretty good for us. Its helped with our confidence.

At 5-10, there is still plenty of room for improvement, but at least the Eskimos are pointed in the proper direction.

We still have stuff that we need to correct but were slowly getting to where we need to be if we want to make a run at this thing, Fiacconi said. Thats really promising.

IN AND OUT: The Eskimos have placed KR Tristan Jackson on the nine-game injured list for the second time this season.

Hes banged up, Hall said. Hes walking around (Friday), hes sore. He could play if he had to play, but how effective would he be? Over the last three or four weeks, hes taken some hellacious hits.

Newly acquired WR Jason Armstead will handle the return duties against his former squad Saturday.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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