Edmonton's backfield is crowded
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Jerome Messam, Hugh Charles and Cory Boyd all dressed for Friday's game (Ian Kucerak/QMI Agency ).
EDMONTON - It was like an episode of Three’s Company in the Edmonton Eskimos backfield on Friday.
And not a good one, either.
Despite having a star-studded cast of A-list running backs at their disposal, the trio ended up tripping over themselves for opportunities to come and knock on Calgary’s door.
Instead, the Stampeders defence was waiting for them, while the Emmy — make that the Gemini Award — went to ground-pounder Jon Cornish for an inspired 185-yard performance on 16 carries that left him all-but thanking the academy.
Meanwhile, the Eskimos ended up looking like just another re-run. One that was shot in front of a live studio audience of 39,393 — who didn’t need the aid of a laugh track when the home team offence took to the stage.
The leading man wasn’t starter Hugh Charles, who had six carries for 31 yards, nor was it his co-star, Jerome Messam, whose eight yards on three carries was also overshadowed by none other than quarterback Kerry Joseph.
The understudy to Steven Jyles — at least, according to the credits the Eskimos have been rolling up to this point in the season — made his second start in as many weeks and wound up leading the team in rushing with seven carries for 44 yards.
“I just tried to do whatever I had to do to make plays,” said Joseph, who also threw for a game-high 275 yards and a touchdown while completing 27 of 35 attempts. “I’m blessed to be able to run, so when the opportunity is there, I just try to take advantage of it and put pressure on the defence.”
Which turned out to be more often than not
“I think we can run the ball better, especially in short yardage,” Joseph said. “Collectively as a group, we’ve got to have that mindset that they are not going to stop us.
“I think it’s a work in progress.”
Which isn’t what fans of the team necessarily want to hear from a 5-5 team as it turns the corner on the second half of the season.
Especially when the offence is coming off a loss where it earned just 15 first downs, was held to 92 combined rushing yards and needed a heads-up play from special teams to account for half of their touchdown production.
“I’m not going to sit here and question the play-calling until I have an opportunity to visit the film and dissect it thoroughly,” said the show’s director, Kavis Reed. “Hindsight is, the game was very close.
“I thought we called a decent football game, we just did not execute very well.”
But the script, it turns out, was destined for failure from the outset, and three’s more than just company. It’s an inefficient crowd.
“That’s something that I’m going to look at,” Reed said of making room to usher in a third halfback in Cory Boyd, who had just one rush for six yards and a catch for three more. “Obviously, it wasn’t worth it based on the outcome.
“But, hey, that’s the way it rolls sometimes.”
Will the Eskimos reach a resolution in the next episode? Or will one of the actors wind up on the cutting-room floor?
Tune in next week.