No QB controversy with Esks
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph speaks with the media at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 3, 2011. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Kerry Joseph made an impact in the Edmonton Eskimos last game, but don’t expect a quarterback controversy to erupt at Commonwealth Stadium this week.
Joseph, who turned 38 on Tuesday, spelled off Ricky Ray at times in last Friday’s 33-24 loss to the B.C. Lions, scoring the game’s first touchdown in the second quarter.
In between completing a pair of passes to Adarius Bowman, Joseph scrambled for gains of 17 and 10 yards to set up his own one-yard plunge into the end zone for a 13-4 lead, capping a 13-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up 5:42.
“We’re trying to go out there and win football games. That’s just the bottom line and we’ve got to find a way to do that,” said Ray, who resumed his duties at pivot on the way to completing 16 of 28 pass attmepts for 155 yards and a touchdown. “We’re trying to game plan and do things that will put us in that position.”
Ray also ran for 38 yards on five carries, while the more mobile Joseph was brought in to rush down 28 yards on just three.
“We scripted that,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “We knew that in the third series of the football game that Kerry Joseph was going in.
“We wanted to do some things to essentially keep the tempo up and give their defence a different look, so that their front seven could tire out a bit. The strategy worked well in the first half, we got away from it a bit in the second half, but you know there is absolutely no need to have Kerry Joseph and Ricky Ray split time.”
Meaning: don’t expect to see much more of Joseph on Thanksgiving against the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders. But don’t expect to see any less of the accomplished backup, either.
“You’ll see Kerry as we feel we need to have him in,” Reed said. “Unequivocally, Ricky Ray is our starting quarterback. Ricky Ray is our quarterback now and he’ll be our quarterback in the future.
“There is no quarterback controversy here.”
But there is a definite strategic option available to a team with the 2007 CFL Most Outstanding Player on their roster.
Call it what you will, but it all boils down to one thing for Joseph.
“What you do is about a team, it’s not about one person,” said the quarterback, who has been handed the reins at various points in the season. “We were successful with it (last Friday), we put a drive together and that’s what we want to do.
“It wasn’t successful in the a few games before that. We still stuck with it and just in this game we were able to do it.”
He may be second on the QB depth chart, but Joseph leads the charge when it comes to being a teammate.
“This is Ricky’s team,” Joseph said. “He’s the leader of this team and I’m here to support him and be that role-player when I’m called upon.”
HAIL KERRY: Joseph came oh-so-close to completing a Hail Mary pass at the end of the half, launching a ball from Edmonton’s 44-yard line all the way to the end zone, where it pinballed between Lions defenders Korey Banks, J.R. LaRose and Dante Marsh, before sliding through Bowman’s hands.
“We were in a situation where, why take a knee?” Joseph said. “Let’s take a shot down the field, so Marcus (Crandell) just called me and said, ‘Go ahead and run the Hail Mary.’
“I went in and just tried to throw it up and it was close. It had a chance, it just didn’t fall our way.”
The play was eerily similar to one the Calgary Stampeders successfully completed on the last play of the half in the Labour Day rematch, which was batted by Eskimos defensive back Chris Thompson, right into the waiting hands of Nik Lewis.