EDMONTON - A couple of weeks ago, it would just be another game for Cory Boyd.
But considering all the running back has been through, Monday’s encounter between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Toronto Argonauts has taken on a whole new meaning.
Up until two weeks ago, Boyd was a member of the Argonauts. Now he’s heading back as an Eskimo having unceremoniously been cut by Toronto despite being the league’s top rusher.
“I think it’s going to be OK to go back there, although I don’t know what to expect from the fans or whatever,” Boyd said. “I just have to go out there and play my game. I can’t get too caught up in things outside of the game.”
Boyd, 27, had rushed for a league-high 447 yards with the Argos this season, with a pair of touchdowns, before being cut by the club.
He was quickly scooped up by the Eskimos where he only had one full practice with the team before suiting up against Montreal on Friday.
Boyd had two carries for two yards in the contest, having seen limited action.
“I’ve never had that, that was my first experience doing something like that just having one practice,” said Boyd. “I think it took a lot of courage going out there and do that and that’s what I try to strive for.
“I had a few mess-ups, but that’s to be expected. As time goes along, I think the coaches will give me a nice game plan and a nice package that I can go out there and execute as best as possible.”
The Eskimos gave Boyd an opportunity to get his feet wet as an Eskimos. They also wanted to see how the South Carolina product would react in different situations, particularly pass protection, which was one of the concerns the Argonauts had with him.
“It was a short week for me as far as getting here on the Monday and then getting thrown into the fire,” Boyd said. “But that’s what it’s all about. You have to go out there and expect the unexpected and be a pro about the situation. You have to go out there and study and get with the quarterbacks as much as possible. Try to help them and they’ll help you. Try to play with confidence and stay cool, calm and collected and everything will fall in place.”
Heading back to Toronto, Boyd is expected to be more involved in the offence although Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed downplayed the homecoming.
“It’s not Cory Boyd playing the Toronto Argonauts, it’s the Edmonton Eskimos playing the Toronto Argonauts,” said Reed. “If Cory fits in to what we’re trying to accomplishments, then we’ll put him into that role. But we’re not going to put any emphasis on Cory Boyd because he’s returning to Toronto.”
Regardless, the nine days between games will help Boyd familiarize himself with his teammates and grow accustomed to his new surroundings.
“It helps me get my body back, for one,” Boyd said. “It also helps me with the playbook and gives me more time with film studies. I know a little bit about their (Argonauts) defence because I’ve been practicing against them. So I think I can help my running back as far as what they need to look after, who’s who as far as the personnel is. It’ll be a nice little challenge.”
'JUST A GAME' FOR JYLES
For Steven Jyles, it’s just another game.
The fact the Edmonton Eskimos quarterback was traded by the Toronto Argonauts heading into this week’s contest doesn’t really make much of a difference.
“I’m going to have fun going back to the Rogers Centre to play, but our job is to just try and win and we’re trying to stay above .500 and in order to do that, we have to beat Toronto,” Jyles said.
“It’s just another game. This is our second time playing Toronto. We know that those guys are going to feel like they gave one away earlier in the year. Of course they’re going to feel that way, but our job is to go in and get a win.”
Jyles came over to the Eskimos in the trade that sent Ricky Ray the other way.
Defence has been the Eskimos strong suit this season and perhaps the main reason the team is 4-3 on the year and second in the West Division.
However, they were badly exposed by Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes in a 38-25 loss on Friday.
“As a defence, we were disappointed in the way we played and we were embarrassed,” said Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt. “Our fans deserve better and we can’t repeat that. We have to learn from what we did and everyone is fired up to try and get better.”
Calvillo has made a career of exposing defenses. On Friday, the veteran was on form, marching his team out to an early 28-0 lead.
The Eskimos didn’t help their cause by often rushing just three in the first half, giving Calvillo plenty of time to pick the secondary apart.
“We were just trying to give him different looks, but it’s AC — he’s thrown for the most yards ever in the history of football and he’s going to have games like that,” Sherritt said.
“But we didn’t play well and I think we can do better.”