CALGARY — The Greg Peach who left the last game in Calgary with a knee injury in Week 4 isn’t the same defensive end that is coming back for the Labour Day Classic.
Instead, the Eskimos top pass-rusher is a little lighter, a bit quicker and, consequently, is spending some time at linebacker.
“Our defence has been playing so well, I’m just trying to come in and just do what I was doing before and help out,” said Peach, who underwent surgery on his meniscus after injuring his knee while sacking Henry Burris. “That’s a place I love to play because it’s competitive, great atmosphere, they’re one of the best teams in the CFL and we always get to play them four times a year.
“So I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Especially after missing last year’s Labour Day Classic while nine-gamed with an ankle injury.
In fact, he didn’t play against Calgary at all last year and has yet to win a Labour Day game since coming to Edmonton in 2009.
“They actually beat us in the Labour Day Classic, both games. I haven’t won one yet,” Peach said. “Last year, I didn’t get to play Calgary all three games. I was so mad. It’s the one team I always want to play.”
Now he gets another chance, albeit in a new role.
“With this defence, it’s been changing every week almost it seems like,” Peach said. “It’s the same concept, different looks.
“If I have to play linebacker, D-end or D-tackle, I understand the concept of it.”
Peach is currently down to about 240 pounds, 15 less than what he is listed at on the roster, and will likely rotate in on the line with fellow ends Julius Williams and newcomer Marcus Howard, as well as playing linebacker.
“We have the ability now with three pass-rushers — true pass rushers — on the field to do some different things and we’ll use Greg in a number of different ways,” said head coach Kavis Reed. “Greg brings extremely good leadership. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played: fast on every single play.
“He’s going to contribute on special teams, obviously and he’s also going to be a contributor on defence, so he’s a very important piece of our puzzle.”
But it’s been the play of Howard that has allowed for some maneuverability on the depth chart. The former NFLer proved to be more than a band-aid solution to Peach’s loss with five tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in three games.
“He’s very athletic and explosive,” Peach said. “To come in and play three games for the first time ever in the CFL and have the production that he’s had, it’s great.
“One more player a team has to look at helps your team.”
IN AND OUT: The Eskimos have added a pair of players to the nine-game injured list, all but spelling an end to the seasons of: OL Junius Coston, who went down with a knee injury in Montreal three weeks ago; C Aaron Fiacconi, who tore his rotator cuff in that same game; and QB Matt Nichols, who spent part of last season on the practice roster before spending the first eight games of 2011 on the one-game injured list with an undisclosed ailment.