Esks face 'new look' Stamps
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Throw the season series right out the window.
Sure, a 2-1 advantage over the Calgary Stampeders in the regular season earned the Edmonton Eskimos the chance to host their first playoff game in seven seasons.
But those games were against a vastly different-looking opponent without a playoff atmosphere.
“Right now, what we tell the guys is it’s a 0-0 situation,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “What we have accomplished in the regular season really does not hold a lot of water in terms of what is going to happen on Sunday.”
The Eskimos face a red-hot Stampeders offence led by a new quarterback in Drew Tate, who is 3-0 since earning the starting job ahead of veteran Henry Burris.
On top of that, the defence will have to contend with a new running back now that Jon Cornish is filling the role he assumed ahead of Joffrey Reynolds over the course of the season.
“Cornish has come in and if he had enough time, he probably would have led the league in rushing,” said Reed. “Jerome’s going to hate me for this, but I think he’s a faster Jerome Messam.
“The kid has really changed the way you view their offence. I do believe he is going to be a big focus for us during the game. We can’t let him get started.”
But changes in the depth chart change nothing in the standings.
“Definitely, it gives you confidence knowing that you’ve beaten them already in the regular season,” said Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray, who closed out the regular season with three 300-yard passing games. “It’s playoff time, anybody can win in the playoffs. We’ve just got to focus on this week and play all out.”