EDMONTON - When it was over and Kavis Reed had finished experiencing what amounted to an interrogation over the Labour Day double debacle, he hadn’t lost his sense of humour.
“The difference between being 5-5 and 7-3 is that we’re talking about chaos on the sidelines instead of a couple bad line changes,” he said of my line of questioning.
Reed, who in my evaluation has been the most valuable member of the organization at any level, had the mop out yesterday cleaning up a mess which was much of his in the making.
Any time the Eskimos lose back-to-back to Calgary in the Labour Day doubleheader, it’s going to be hot in the igloo, even if the losses were by one point and two points on a pair of last-play missed field goals.
Asked if the glass was half full or half empty going forward tied for last in the West division instead of tied for first, he said “it’s three-quarters full for me.”
But there was some spilled milk.
There was sideline chaos Friday night with players running on and off the field when they shouldn’t have. And there was an added sideshow of receiver Fred Stamps screaming at quarterback Kerry Joseph. At times it gave the appearance of being a total gong show.
Monday looked a lot more organized.
The first thing the head coach of the Eskimos did to start the week was to decide to get rid of the day-to-day charade of who would be his starting quarterback.
Until further notice, it is Kerry Joseph.
“The way he has been playing, we owe it to this franchise to continue with Kerry Joseph right now,” he said.
While there was some mumbo jumbo in there about Steven Jyles still not being completely healthy, Reed backtracked on that and said Jyles is healthy enough to play now and as such would move up to No. 2 for Saturday’s game against the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.
That moves Matt Nicholls back to clipboard carrier despite a growing percentage of dissatisfied customers wanting to let him take his turn instead of the used-to-be and never-was pair of pivots currently failing at replacing Ricky Ray.
“This franchise deserves every opportunity to be playing at the end of the year, so we’re going to stick with Kerry right now,” said Reed.
When I asked the head coach directly whether Joseph is No. 1 for the rest of the season, Reed said “No. But Kerry Joseph, for this game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is going to be the No. 1 quarterback.”
If Reed has to go back to Jyles, it’ll be like declaring the season lost.
With eight starts, Jyles ran up 1,494 yards in passing with a 58.9 percentage and five touchdown passes with an 84.9 QB efficiency rating. In two games starting, Joseph is four yards short of 1,000 passing, has a 66.4 percentage, five touchdown passes and an 87.5 QB efficiency rating.
Who’s No.1? Duh.
As for the sideline shouting session, all involved said it wasn’t Stamps finally having had enough with his quarterbacks throwing him a never-ending series of suicide passes as it appeared, but harmless communication with no residual effects.
But the chaos on the sidelines was very visible and left Reed no choice but to take out his sword and slaughter the three-headed running back dragon Monday.
The head coach of the 5-5 Eskimos says he’s not going to be so stupid as to try the three-headed monster at running back again.
Oh, they’ll all be around. But they’ll all know their place. And hopefully, unlike Jerome Messam at least twice in the 20-18 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, will stay in their place and not run onto the field and into the huddle of their own volition.
“A couple of times we had guys subbing themselves into the game,” said Reed of his running backs.
“It happened a couple of times with Jerome,” he said.
“If it happens once, maybe you can ignore it. But it happened twice.”
Besides, he admitted, running backs need more than the number of carries any of them had to be effective.
So Hugh Charles and Messam, until told otherwise, are No. 1 and No. 2. And Cory Boyd is a member of the supporting cast who will likely make the trip to Hamilton this week on the 46 man roster but not make Game Day on the 42.
There will be no more bad line changes.
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