post-whistle violence at the hands of Lions defensive tackle Khalif
Mitchell. Mitchell appealed what was a two-game suspension he eventually
served, while Rottier was lost for much longer. And he likely won't be
back to 100% this season, after having his elbow hyper-extended
just before halftime in their first meeting of the season. This week,
coming off his first-ever loss as a visiting player at Ivor Wynne Stadium,
Rottier has all kinds of motivation to get a measure of revenge. And, this
time, he at least knows what kind of fight he's in for, in what will no
doubt be a grudge match along the entire line of scrimmage.
2. SPIDER'S WEBB
The Eskimos didn't have a leg to stand on Saturday, aside from the eight
points that climbed their way onto the scoreboard before getting stuck in
the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive web. Make that Webb, as defensive back
Demetrice Webb not only blocked a field-goal attempt by Edmonton, which was
returned for a touchdown heading into halftime, but earned his first
interception of the year on a Steven Jyles pass that he returned 98 yards
for six points as the last of many nails in Edmonton's coffin Saturday. While they have
managed to escape the silky bonds of Ivor Wynne Stadium, the Eskimos have to get
their offence unstuck by scoring early against the Lions this week — Edmonton
has yet to score a touchdown on an opening drive this season — but make
sure no ill effects of any spider poison remains.
3. GETCHA MOTOR RUNNIN'
You would think a team that traded away it's franchise player and future
Hall-of-Fame quarterback in the off-season would evolve into a run-heavy
offence — well, as heavy as it gets in three-down football, anyway.
Especially when their roster boasts three proven starters with the ability
to run through, around and over defences. Instead, the Eskimos are
attempting to pull off a mid-season quarterback switch while letting their
ground-pounders fall by the wayside. The team has rushed just 51 times for 226 yards
combined in the last three games since their last win, while crawling to a 1-4 record in their
last five outings.
4. MID-SEASON TRYOUTS?
Never mind the questions that surround a kicking game that appears to be
cursed by the 48 yard-line, but the Eskimos spun through their quarterback
carousel with four substitutions at pivot. Third-stringer Matt Nichols had
his bell rung on a penalty-filled drive and may force the Eskimos to use
their last remaining mulligan to pull Jeremiah Masoli off the nine-game
injury list early. Add to that a running game that, although has been
decided on paper with Reed finally naming Hugh Charles and Jerome Messam
his No. 1 and 2 tailbacks, has yet to show any results on the gridiron and
appears to have been all but abandoned. Then there is an injury-riddled
defensive line that is the root of the Eskimos defensive downfall, which
has added Lee Robinson to the list of wounded which already includes
Marcus Howard, Julius Williams and a still-not-100% Ted Laurent.
The pressure-heavy unit that helped label the Eskimos as the stingiest
defence early in the year has now allowed a 400-yard passing and 100-yard
rushing game against them. Who will line up where against the Lions is
something the Eskimos hoped to have ironed out well before the upcoming
5. OWNING UP
It seems everyone is willing to step up and take the blame, but at the
same time, nobody is taking ownership of this team.
With all the redundancy against injury built into a roster brimming with
talent thanks to some crafty salary-cap use, what the Eskimos look like is
a loose group of roaming mercenaries instead of a close-knit bunch of
teammates right now. To a man, they are all saying the right things about
their willingness to step in and do whatever is asked of them by the
coaching staff. That's all well and good, but no one is stepping up and
claiming a role on this team as their own - aside, maybe, from Hugh
Charles, who should be demanding more touches. As a result, there is no
obvious feeling of accountability at any position, as everyone simply
looks to teammates around them when things aren't working. Sure, they say
they must improve as a team, but that starts with each position
being owned and challenged for through competition, instead of being empty
spots filled by whoever is called upon.