Bombers lesson for Esks’ Zabransky

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

Ricky Ray’s return to the lineup has nothing to do with the play of Jared Zabransky last week.

The Edmonton Eskimos’ top pivot is set to return after spending the last two weeks on the sidelines with an injury that affected his throwing motion.

In his stead, the second-year Zabransky led the Eskimos to a pair of wins while playing the first two complete CFL games of his career.

But they were two very different performances by the former Boise State star, who protected the ball one week before giving up four interceptions to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last Saturday.

“I think with young quarterbacks you’re always going to have your highs and lows,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “(Winnipeg’s) got a very good defence, they took away some things.

“We’ve just got to protect the football, that was probably the biggest difference between (last) week and (the previous) week.”

While the Bombers held Zabransky to just 14 of 29 pass attempts, they couldn’t contain his legs, allowing him 97 yards on 12 rushes.

“I knew coming in with the defences that they run, their pass defence is excellent and they drop a lot of guys into coverage,” Zabransky said. “So that was going to dictate if it’s not clean, then I’m going to have to get the ball down the field with my feet.”

But he said there was no excuse for throwing four picks.

“A couple of times, I tried to squeeze it in there and they had a great call and I made a bad decision,” Zabransky said. “I’ve got to learn from that and I’ve got to run the ball more or check it down in those situations.”

The thought crossed Hall’s mind to bring Maas in last Saturday to jump-start an Eskimos offence that couldn’t find the end zone until the fifth quarter.

“A little bit,” said Hall, who ended up allowing Zabransky to weather the storm. “At times, Zee was doing a pretty good job when he was using his legs running with the football. With him in the backfield, that creates some problems defensively and it makes them play honest.”

IN AND OUT: SB Kelly Campbell is doubtful for Saturday’s game after injuring his leg on a play at the end of practice Thursday. He was going for an MRI on his left knee, which makes a trip to Regina unlikely. Look for Efrem Hill or Jamaica Rector to take his place. DE Kai Ellis is expected to dress for the first time in two weeks Saturday, with limited duty on defence and special teams.

– Moddejonge


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