No magic number for Eskimos defence

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:54 AM ET

EDMONTON - What’s the point?

The squad that aimed to hold opposing offences to under 19 points a game last season has thrown any sort of measuring stick out the window under Edmonton Eskimos new defensive co-ordinator Mark Nelson.

While the Rich Stubler-led group of 2011 finished the regular season with the second-fewest points allowed — 401 in 18 games for an average of 22.3 per game — this edition of the Eskimos defence is in no danger of missing the mark.

Not that they don’t have goals of their own.

“Yep, one point less than our offence scores. That’s the magic number,” said Nelson, the Eskimos linebackers coach who was promoted to D co-ordinator in the off-season. “You always want to hold a team, if you can hold them under 20 that’d be great.

“To be honest with you, under 15 would be nice.”

Which is what the Toronto Argonauts scored in the Eskimos’ season-opening win last week. While Nelson couldn’t ask for a better start to the year, he most certainly will.

“They would be the first to tell you, once they watched the film, it’s never as good and it’s never as bad,” Nelson said. “Our kids played hard, they flew around and tackled relatively well.

“The negative part is there were a lot of mistakes. Some were coaching mistakes, starting with me.”

While the Eskimos have allowed the most passing yards in the West Division with 298, they sit second overall in fewest points allowed.

And that’s the one stat that matters most at the end of a game.

“Realistically, each game is a little different,” Nelson said. “We may hold them to 40 and our offence will score 45 and we’ll be OK.

“As a group, we want to play good, do our fundamental stuff right and keep improving every time we go out.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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