Duval gives Esks a foot up

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:25 PM ET

He's brought two Grey Cup rings to the Edmonton Eskimos.

But that's not what makes Damon Duval a champion-calibre kicker.

Released by the Montreal Alouettes in the off-season amid talk of having lost a step, Duval got a leg up earning the Eskimos' starting job in training camp and proved he was willing to do whatever it takes in last Saturday's win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats amid sheets of rain.

"In a game like this, field position is by far one of the biggest contributors to being able to squeak out a 'W'," said the seven-year CFL veteran, who is playing for just his second team. "(We were able) to put our offence and defence in good positions to go out and do their job."

Punting five times for 216 yards with a longest of 57. His average of 42.8 would have been higher if it hadn't been for one slippery ball that got away from long-snapper Taylor Inglis.

"Unfortunately, we had a little slip-up there with a bad snap, but we were able to get out of it and turn a negative into a positive, and get out of it and give our defence a chance to get a stop there, which was a huge part of the game," said Duval, who turned to chase the ball down even as it was going over his head. "We always go through scenarios like that during the week just in case, a ball over your head near the end zone, do you put it through the end zone and give them a safety?

"For me, right away the ball was going up. I didn't even have a chance to attempt to jump for it."

So he turned and ran, taking a peek over his shoulder before deciding he would try to get a punt off anyway. While it only counted as a 17-yarder to Hamilton's 45, had Duval simply flopped on the ball, Hamilton would have gotten possession deep in Edmonton's zone.

"You grab the ball, turn around and hopefully get it off as fast as you can before you get killed too bad," said Duval, whose effort made him fair game for opposing tacklers. "Unfortunately, the rules state once we break our normal kicking mode that we're a live player and allowed to get hit.

"Hopefully maybe that will be a rule that they might revisit."

After getting upended on the turf on the play, Duval expressed his feelings to onfield officials.

"We are put in a dangerous situation with your leg up in the air, if somebody's running full-speed that could be a very dangerous situation," said Duval, who had much kinder words for his coverage team, who held the Ticats to -2 punt return yards.

"Watching film, they're flying down, beating blocks and doing everything they're supposed to do," he said. "For us to be successful on all phases of special teams, those guys have to get down there and do a great job.

"They're playing good team football. If we start sliding away from that and have one or two guys trying to do their own thing, that's when you get in trouble."

Duval was two for three on field goals for seven points.

IN AND OUT: RB Calvin McCarty, who sat out prior to Thursday's practice with what the team called a sprain, is slated to get the start once again on Saturday.

With LB Rod Davis (hamstring) expected to miss at least the next two weeks, the Eskimos signed import LB Rico McCoy to the practice roster.

The six-foot, 224-pound University of Tennessee product signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2010, making his CFL debut with one tackle and one forced fumble in their final regular-season game.

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