Patience paying off for Lions says Esks coach

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:13 AM ET

EDMONTON - There are times when a team simply doesn’t win, and there are times when they just plain lose.

Then there is the 36-1 defeat the Edmonton Eskimos suffered at the hands of the B.C. Lions the last time the two teams met.

That Week 8 loss falls into its own category because the Eskimos did as much to hurt their own cause as the Lions did to help themselves turn their season around.

After losing their first five games of 2011 — including a Week 3 tilt in Edmonton — Wally Buono’s Lions used the Eskimos as a springboard onto a five-game winning streak and have a chance to pull into a first-place tie in the West Division this weekend.

“Patience. They selected a team coming out of training camp and they remained patient with them. I think that’s something we’re missing in our society,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “But through the losing streak, they were confident in what they were doing and they were confident in the players they had.

“Barring injuries, they didn’t make too many changes and stayed the course and ended up reaping the benefits from it.”

The Eskimos had every reason to dismiss their worst loss of the season as a one-off, considering they had just put their offensive line through a depth-chart blender and were missing all four of their starting import receivers to injury.

But that’s not Reed’s way.

“I told our offence and I told our defence, look at the game we played against them,” said the coach. “Look at that game, don’t dismiss it, because if you watch that film, if we did not self-destruct it would have been a different football game. Not to say that we would have won it, but we wouldn’t have lost 36-1.

“That’s not arrogance, that’s the fact that when we have our full complement, we feel we can play with anyone.”

Although the Eskimos had their full receiving corps back last week for the first time since being 4-0, they are coming off a 34-21 loss to the Alouettes.

“It’s always about going out there and doing the right things,” said quarterback Ricky Ray. “Just because you’ve got a really good lineup or some good players, if you don’t go out there and execute the way that you need to you’re not going to make any plays.”

But this week, they’ve got the lineup and some added motivation of avenging a horribly one-sided loss to the Lions.

“We didn’t play well at all, they just came out and outplayed us,” Ray said. “It’s one of those games where you hope you can go out there and kind of erase what you did the previous games.

“When you lose a football game, most of the time you see all the areas that you messed up in. It’s rarely that you play a perfect game and lose. Definitely there’s a lot to learn from not just last week, but from the last time we played B.C. as well.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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