Esks turnover new leaf

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:48 AM ET

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos may have turned over a new leaf when it comes to turnovers.

After finishing last year with a league-worst -23 turnover ratio — with 59 giveaways and just 36 takeaways — they opened 2011 season with four takeaways and didn’t give the ball up once in a 42-28 win in Regina.

It was the Eskimos’ first turnover-free game since Oct. 23, 2010, in a win that also came against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Prior to that, Edmonton had gone 64-straight games where they turned the ball over at least once.

“Rule No. 1 when you’re moving forward is that you bury the past and you don’t think about what was and what has happened,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “So I don’t know really what it’s been, historically, for the franchise but I do know those guys did a good job in the turnover ratio.”

As the longest-serving Eskimo, Ray remembers the history. Especially considering he was sidelined with an injury in that October game.

“It seems like the last few years we’ve been averaging a couple turnovers a game and that really comes back to get you,” Ray said. “For us to win the turnover battle, that’s going to give you a lot of opportunities to win football games.

“That starts with me protecting the ball. When you’re in the pocket with guys coming, if you’re going to get sacked sometimes it’s better to take the sack than try and force a play.”

Darian Durant was picked off by Eskimos linebacker T.J. Hill and defensive backs Rod Williams and Weldon Brown.

“That’s the type of defence we’re trying to establish this year,” said Davis, who chipped in with a forced fumble. “A lot of speed, a lot of movement and the main thing is to get the ball to the offence and don’t allow the opposing team to score points.

“Whoever wins the turnover margin in any league normally wins the game. Once we get the ball back and see the offence put points on the board, that just motivates us even more to go out and get more.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

@SUNModdejonge


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