October 1, 2012
Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed assumes offensive co-ordinator position
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - The bizarre Edmonton Eskimos season, which began on Dec. 12 with the trading of Ricky Ray, just got even more bizarre.
Two weeks after bringing in offensive consultant David Kelly to work with offensive co-ordinator Marcus Crandell, the Eskimos announced Sunday afternoon that head coach Kavis Reed will add the role of offensive co-ordinator for the final five games of the season.
That leaves Reed as a rare coach who will have hit for the cycle when it comes to the three co-ordinator jobs in football.
It’s a fair question to ask if a coach who has to be near the breaking point with everything he has had to deal with already this year, needs to add more.
The answer, of course, will be supplied in the next two weeks with the results of the home games against Hamilton and Saskatchewan with massive playoff position implications.
“We’re 13 games into the season and our offence hasn’t been successful. I have been asked to take over the offence and I have no problem with that,” said Reed of a weekend of examining the Eskimos after they became the first team in 63 years to lose all five games in September.
“After watching Friday’s game I decided to step forward.”
While he’s been a defensive co-ordinator and a special teams co-ordinator before, Reed’s only experience as a coach on offence was one season as a position coach dealing with running backs in Saskatchewan.
“I’m not experienced in offence. I understand it. But I’m not an expert. I’m a defensive coach in terms of expertise. For the sake of stability, I will orchestrate direction. It’s necessary at this time.
“I hope to be a creative voice. I think we have the ability to be more explosive. And I hope to contribute to improved time of possession. When we won our first five games we led in time of possession. Time of possession is vitally important in football.”
Reed’s first move in the new combined position was to announce a set slate of quarterbacks for the rest of the season.
Kerry Joseph will start at quarterback Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and be No.1 going forward.
Matt Nichols will move up to back-up quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Steven Jyles, the QB traded for Ricky Ray, has been demoted to No. 3 for the rest of the year.
Reed also declared Hugh Charles his No. 1 running back ahead of Jerome Messam and Cory Boyd.
Crandell and Kelly will remain with the team in adjusted capacities for the remainder of the season.
“I’ll be responsible for the offence moving forward,” said the second year head coach who takes a five-game losing streak into Friday’s crucial crossover playoff position between the 5-8 Eskimos and the 5-8 Ticats at Commonwealth Stadium.
“I will attempt to make some adjustments to do what we need to do, manage some of the schemes to use the talent we have to have a more vertical game, a game more like we showed in the first half against the B.C. Lions,” he said of the last home game.”
Reed said his thinking on the quarterback assignment the rest of the way is that Joseph, who turns 39 this week, is ready to return healthy. He was 95% for the Calgary game.
“With the change being made today I think it’s important that Kerry Joseph be the guy. He has more football knowledge. We need his maturity.”
But he says Nichols has earned the role of back-up.
“Matt did an outstanding job managing the game Friday night in Calgary,” he said.
“We now know where he is in the growth process. He can become the franchise quarterback of the future.”
Reed said Nichols won’t be restricted to the sideline.
“The intention is to use Matt as a change of pace guy. He earned the right to be part of this offence going forward.”
Obviously the futures of Jyles and Crandell are questionable, although Reed suggested “Marcus is not being demoted. I am just taking the lead in that area. It is not offensive co-ordinator by committee. I just hope by taking the lead will help us do things in a more effective way.
“Marcus will still mechanically call the plays in the quarterback’s ear piece. I will be more connected. I will be instrumental in preparing the game plan with David Kelly,” he said.
Translation: Crandell will not be involved in game planning like he was in the past.
Reed conceded that something had to be done now. Before the Hamilton game.
“It’s critical,” he said. “This game is a must win.
“We’re in a situation when it comes to playoff series where we need to win this game.”