First still in Esks' reach


, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

EDMONTON - Kavis Reed is taking the tough-love approach to his teams growing pains.

Approaching the seasons midpoint on a three-game skid, the Edmonton Eskimos head coach isnt spelling out to his players how they still have a chance to reclaim first place in the West with back-to-back matches against Calgary.

Im going to stop reminding the guys of things, said Reed, whose pregame speeches have quickly become legendary. I want those guys to be mature enough to be able to handle situations.

Im going to say less now. Its time for them to start to assert their maturity versus me trying to always lead them.

While two wins would give the Eskimos first place, one would shore up any sort of season-series tie-breaker on the back of their Week 4 victory in McMahon Stadium.

The numbers say theyre ahead of us. We have to focus on going in there and playing football, Reed said. This is the unofficial start of the second half of the season, the halfway point.

For us, we evaluate what we are and were a good football team when were playing smart. And we have to go into Calgary with that mindset.