Esks get back to work - in Winnipeg!
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray loses the ball while being sacked by Winnipeg Blue Bombers Fernand Kashama and Bryant Turner. (Brian Donogh, QMI Agency)
The Edmonton Eskimos won’t be able to get away from their first loss of the season anytime soon.
After falling victim to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-16 on Friday, the Eskimos are returning to the scene of the crime to practice at Canad Inns Stadium while on an extended road trip.
The team will spend the next three days here preparing to go into Montreal to face the 4-2 Alouettes on Thursday.
“Definitely, you’d rather go home and then lick your wounds, but we’ve got another tough game coming up in Montreal,” said Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray. “So this is what’s dealt to us and maybe we can kind of come together and use this as a positive of sticking together and coming out next week and getting a win.”
Not surprisingly, Eskimos coaches opted to spend the majority of the week in Winnipeg, instead of jetting off to Montreal and trying to keep their players focused on the task at hand, amid a culture-rich backdrop.
Either way, though, it entails a lot of busing to and from an unfamiliar stadium.
“It’s tough that we’ve got to come back and forth,” said slotback Fred Stamps. “But that’s what we get paid for, we’re professionals. We’ve got to put that behind us.
“It’s a work week. It’s going to be a short week for us. We can’t dwell on this game.”
The Bombers have kindly offered the use of their facility to their West Division guests, who will practice in the afternoons from 4-6 p.m., while Winnipeg uses the field in their regular morning slot.
“This organization has been absolutely phenomenal, we are truly indebted that they’ve accommodated us for our practices (this) week,” Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said of the Winnipeg franchise. “They have been absolutely phenomenal in terms of their support in us being on the road.”
But there is no turning back the clock for the Eskimos, who find themselves in the right place but the wrong time to change anything that happened Friday.
“It’s a good football team, they play well for their fans here and they’ve been doing that all season long,” said Eskimos centre Aaron Fiacconi. “So we knew we were going to come into a tough situation, it was going to be a close game and it was going to come down to the wire.
“They made more plays than us. The team that played the game better won (Friday).”
The Eskimos aren’t about to let one slip-up erase all they have accomplished on their way to a 5-1 record.
“Every time you lose, you’ve got to do an appraisal on what went right, what went wrong,” Fiacconi said. “We have an opportunity against Montreal on the road, we’ve got time to bond together, look each other in the eye for the rest of the week here.
“What are you going to do, right? It’s one loss. We weren’t going to go 18-0, that’s not realistic, so we’ll take this defeat, look at it and go from there.”