Esks' bye week not a moment too soon

Edmonton Eskimos Chris Thompson hangs on but can't complete the tackle as B.C. Lions Arland Bruce...

Edmonton Eskimos Chris Thompson hangs on but can't complete the tackle as B.C. Lions Arland Bruce makes the catch for a touchdown during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday, August 19, 2011. The Eskimos lost 36-1. (Amber Bracken/QMI Agency)

GERRY MODDEJONGE , QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

EDMONTON - You could say the Edmonton Eskimos won Friday night. But they only 'one' Friday night.

As in, only mustering one point compared to the B.C. Lions' 36, to kick off a not-so-deserved bye week at the lowest point in the season for the squad that came out of the gates 5-0.

The last team to be undefeated in 2011 is now one of just two teams in the league currently on a losing streak. Their three-in-a-row is only slightly less depressing than the lowly Saskatchewan Roughriders, who let their consecutive losses fall to four after dropping the battle of the basement to the Toronto Argonauts this week.

And the Eskimos now have plenty of time to think about where it all went wrong.

"For me, it's difficult. You want to go in on a high, obviously but the situation is what it is," Reed said. "I can't change the score, I can't change the way that we play. What I have to do is make certain that moving forward we put a better product on the field."

It's easily the worst loss of the rookie head coach's tenure in Edmonton so far and ranks right up there with anything he's been a part of over his last 10 years coaching or five before that as a player.

"From start to finish, B.C. did what they needed to do and we did not respond and it's absolutely one of the worst I've ever been a part of," Reed said, adding nothing changes for his players over the bye week. "I work harder. I'm not going to take days away from those guys. Those guys merit being off, it's a long season.

"But I have to do the things that are necessary to get this team back on pace. Having them here extra days would not change anything. Kavis has to work harder, plain and simple."

The bye week couldn't have come at a better time.

"I think it's very good timing," Reed said. "Let them go home, let them reflect on what has happened in the first eight games and come back to play football."

The break will help the team recharge mentally and physically with a host of injured players slated to return in time to get ready for the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 5.

"We are expecting (bodies) back and I think it's my responsibility to make certain that we're smart about the guys that are available and ready to play," Reed said.

Because they sure weren't ready for the last two games, being kept out of the end zone on the way to getting outscored 63-5.

"From the way we started (the season), we were doing a lot of good things offensively," said Ricky Ray. "These last few games, we're not doing any of those things. We're having penalties, we're turning the football over, taking sacks, not getting any big plays.

"So it's a combination of a lot of things for us."

And it all adds up to three consecutive losses. And counting?

"It definitely feels like we're not that team where we want to be," said Ray. "With that great start, we just wanted to keep that momentum going and we hit a big speed bump right now.

"We've just got to get back to playing the games we were playing earlier."

Twitter@SunModdejonge


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