June 22, 2012
Esks offence paltry in preseason
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - At least they didn't lose 44-10.
Then again, the Edmonton Eskimos can't be completely comfortable in the thought they weren't defeated by the B.C. Lions as badly as the Saskatchewan Roughriders were a week earlier.
After all, Edmonton's 24-16 loss to the defending Grey Cup champions to close out the preseason 0-2 on Thursday leaves little in the way of bragging rights.
If you take away the defensive score in the dying minutes of the game, when Eskimos defensive back Michael Ricks returned a fumble recovery 78 yards for a touchdown, then the nine points Edmonton's offence put up against B.C. was a worse outing than Saskatchewan had.
"Obviously we did not execute to the level that we wanted to," Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said following Thursday's game, which included Edmonton's lone offensive touchdown of the preseason when running back Hugh Charles carried the ball six yards to the end zone in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, the six-play, 75-yard drive wasn't engineered by No. 1 quarterback Steven Jyles, who completed four of seven pass attempts for 53 yards in just over a quarter.
Instead, it was second-string pivot Kerry Joseph who was the most productive, making good on six of eight passes for 133 yards in what was left of the first half.
"But it's not all on the quarterback. I have to watch the film very smartly and make sure we point blame where blame is necessary," Reed said. "Obviously, we were disappointed in some aspects but there were a lot of positives out of it."
Just like there were a lot of points left out on the field by Edmonton's offence, while their defence allowed a feasible 24 points.
"We moved the ball efficiently, it's just when we got the ball in scoring position we made mistakes," Reed said. "And those are things that we can correct.
"And we will correct them."
Fortunately, the loss was only in exhibition as the regular season gets underway this week against the visiting Toronto Argonauts with the return of Ricky Ray.
But B.C. already looked to be in midseason form as Travis Lulay completed 15 of 21 attempts for an impressive 213 yards and three touchdowns in just over one half of play Ñ numbers the Eskimos barely earned with all three of their quarterbacks over the full four quarters (20 of 29 for 226 yards and no touchdowns).
"They're a good team, but we left a lot of plays out there on the field and that's one thing as far as getting chemistry with each other," Jyles said of his first in-game action since coming from Toronto in the Ray trade back in December. "Nothing hurts more coming off the field than having a receiver tell you, ÔHey, man. I was open on this one and your eyes went someplace else.'
The coaches' eyes may be the ones doing the wandering now, as in down the depth chart following Jyles's less-than memorable debut.
While it lasted, that is.
"That's the part of preseason, when you've got guys you want to take a look at at the quarterback position," Jyles said. "Only one of us can play at one time."
Just which one will be playing come the regular season is up in the air.