EDMONTON - Kavis Reed, not long after summarizing the night with the words “we were horrible!” decided to leave the scene of the crime and go home.
“He went home absolutely ballistic saying he was going to grab some sleep and be back at 4:30 a.m.,” reported GM Eric Tillman, who stayed to watch the film.
Reed couldn’t sleep.
“I went back at 4 a.m., watched the film, and went back home again at 5:30.”
He was back at 9:30 to talk to his assistants and at noon to talk to the media. But mostly he spent the day talking to himself.
In the past three home games the Edmonton Eskimos have drawn the three largest crowds of the CFL season to Commonwealth Stadium and lost all three games.
They drew 35,216 to watch the hometown team with the palatial locker-room and their very own fieldhouse turn totally rancid and lose 36-1 to the B.C. Lions.
There was a season high 45,672 to experience the large let down following the big build up resulting from the 35-7 Labour Day win in Calgary.
And there were 40,274 to watch the emotionless Eskimos fail to fire again in front of their own fans following a most impressive win in the house of horrors that Ivor Wynne Stadium has long been for this team only to return and lose 34-21 to the Montreal Alouettes.
That’s 121,162 fans watching their team lose by the combined count of 100-42 at home!
Why? How is this happening?
“We haven’t been ready to play,” said quarterback Ricky Ray. “We’ve been solid on the road. But we haven’t been showing up at home. We’ve put ourselves in some really good spots and then haven’t showed up to win the next game.”
This team has put itself in perfect position to make something special of this season like, oh, maybe hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2004. And then they come home and soil the sheets.
The Eskimos started the season with a 5-0 record and lost the next three.
They won big in the Labour Day Classic and fell flat in the rematch. But Friday night’s fiasco was the most disappointing and
damning of them all.
“That’s not a good stat,” said linebacker Rod Davis. “We were embarrassed against B.C., manhandled by Calgary and then came out against Montreal and just had no energy. I’m wondering if having such an even keel mindset is the problem, if having an even keel backfired on us early.”
Kavis Reed said it has to be examined.
“It needs a lot more investigation. Why? Why is this happening? We’re a young team. It’s not a lack of desire or effort. I’m not going to crush them emotionally. I’ll be tough on the coaches, though.
“I’m not being politically correct or pointing the finger at myself to take the emphasis and the focus off the players. But I blame myself.
“We didn’t execute. We came off an almost flawless game the week before and we didn’t execute. We’re not executing at a high level at home and that’s most frustrating. Our problem at home is we don’t start fast.”
The most astounding thing about the loss to the beat-up Alouettes — minus quarterback Anthony Calvillo — was that Reed put it out there what the Eskimos had to do and then didn’t do it.
It was his own stat. Rush 20 or more times a game and they’re 7-0. Rush fewer than 20 times (it was 15 Friday night) and they are now 0-5. Rush 20 or more times and they win the field position. It was 35:29-24:31 Montreal in this one.
“We had the opportunity to run and didn’t.”
It wasn’t the offensive line he said.
“Those guys protected,” he said.
And it wasn’t quarterback Ray who was being accused of playing one of his worst games as an Eskimo by many.
“At a quick glance it may have looked that way but if you watch the film there are spacing issues. Ricky throws the ball where the receivers are supposed to be.
“I’m the one to blame for our lack of execution.”
Not the co-ordinators who obviously failed in calling the game and/or putting in game plans and not making adjustments?
“I knew all the numbers. I knew we had to start fast. I didn’t do a good job of preparing this football team to play this week. That’s where I’m at fault. It all emanates from me, not the co-ordinators.”
The bottom line, says Reed is that the Edmonton Eskimos were out-coached.
And he’s the head coach.