No sacred cows, says Esks coach

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Matt Nichols takes a crushing hit from Hamilton Tiger-Cats Jamal...

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Matt Nichols takes a crushing hit from Hamilton Tiger-Cats Jamal Johnson in the second half of their CFL game in Hamilton Ssaturday. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:34 PM ET

EDMONTON - Changes are coming.

“There are no sacred cows,” said coach Kavis Reed.

“I think it is very important right now as the head coach to intentionally not shy away from self evaluation. I think that’s part of leadership.

“I’m not going to make excuses. We have to look at everything we’re doing.”

Will Matt Nichols be the starting quarterback of the Edmonton Eskimos against the B.C. Lions Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium?

Will Brody McKnight replace Grant Shaw as the No. 1 kicker?

Is Marcus Crandell about to be on the clock with an expiry date as offensive co-ordinator?

When you lose three games in a row and give up 51 consecutive points in the third one, something has to give. And it says here there’s an excellent chance for all of the above and more.

Reed returned to Edmonton Sunday not objecting to this column calling Saturday’s 51-8 loss to the Tigers-Cats in Hamilton one of the most inept, embarrassing, disturbing displays of discombobulated Eskimos football in history, a complete monstrosity of mayhem, chaos and confusion. Instead he said to pretend otherwise would be irresponsible.

Reed suggest the time for Nichols to finally move up into the starting spot forecast for his future here is now a definite possibility.

“Matt brought energy. He really brought a lot of energy. He had a real presence moving the ball,” he said of the third-string quarterback’s brief but impressive appearance in the game before leaving with a supposed upper body injury that apparently won’t keep him away from practice this week.

“He’s going to get more reps in practice and we’ll see where that goes,” said Reed.

“Kerry Joseph was playing at 80%,” said Reed who has watched his team turn into a travelling slapstick Football Follies show in losing both ends of the Labour Day double header and Saturday’s game in Hamilton giving up 51 consecutive points.

That Reed played Joseph at 80% ahead of Jyles at 95% tells that story.

The loss was 38-year-old Joseph’s ninth straight as a starter dating back to 2009 with the Toronto Argos.

Shaw, who like Jyles, was part of GM Eric Tillman’s Ricky Ray trade, also looks to be on the fast track to demotion especially after the embarrassing incidents involving him in the loss after missing last play of the game field goals which would have won both games against Calgary.

It was less than a week ago that the Eskimos gave up next year’s first-round pick in the draft to obtain non-import kicker Brody McKnight who was introduced to Edmonton fans by coming on the field to kick a field goal late in the first half when Shaw was already out there only to have his kick blocked and returned for a touchdown.

“After Grant missed the field goal in the first quarter we decided to let Brody try the next one. Brody was warming up the entire time on the sideline. He was told by coach Terry Eisler that Brody would be taking the kick. In the heat of the moment Grant went in there. That’s how we ended up with them both going out there.”

Late in the game Reed had to call a time out because there was no punter on the field.

“Grant had disengaged. He thought we were going for it on third down. Eleven other guys were engaged and went out there but he wasn’t engaged and we had no punter.

“Next week we really want to get Brody the time. But like a lot of NCAA guys he has to get used to the timing of the CFL. We believe he has a bright future.”

There are a lot of reasons why the defence doesn’t resemble the best-in-the-league dozen that started the season including a defensive line which has been decimated by injury including the loss of Marcus Howard.

Look for Howard to return despite a perhaps still iffy hamstring.

Reed said he took out J.C. Sherritt, on a pace to smash a the CFL record for tackles, late in the third quarter because “he’s playing at 75% health-wise” and that T.J. Hill is playing with a nagging injury as well.

There’s so much wrong here. And Reed, to his credit, isn’t pretending otherwise after having watched the films.

It’s now beyond obvious that Marcus Crandell’s abysmal offence needs diagnostic care and the way Reed dodged the question indicated to me something may be up there. If not, there should be.

“Six times we were in the scoring zone and weren’t able to score as was the case two weeks ago,” Reed did conceed.

While Reed is out front to take the bullets as always, he might be about to read the riot act to his entire coaching staff.

“The tale of the tape is that we were not positioned where we were supposed to be,” he said, including the receivers routes on offence.

“One obvious example was when someone misjudged the short corner on the blocked field goal they returned for a touchdown.”

That was Lee Robinson who then injured a quad tryng to chase down the Tiger-Cat on his touchdown run.

“The score was significantly different in this game than the previous two but the same thing has been wrong. We’re not executing,” said Reed.

“We’re not stopping the big play. We’re not tackling well.

“We’re at the point where we have to go back and simplify, concentrate on a few things and focus on them.

“We’re our own worst enemy.”

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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