Eskimos season bears resemblance to 1993

Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed tries to keep warm during practice at Commonwealth Stadium in...

Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed tries to keep warm during practice at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 3, 2012. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:39 PM ET

EDMONTON - It was a columnist kibitzing with the coach.

"It's not like this hasn't been done before," said the columnist. "In 1993, the Eskimos won their final five games of the regular season, two playoff games and the Grey Cup."

"Funny you should mention that," said coach Kavis Reed.

What happened here in 1993, Reed confessed, is the rallying cry for the Edmonton Eskimos going into Friday's crucial contest for a crossover playoff position with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Reed said he's selling it.

Remember 1993?

Only two full-time employees of the organization, equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak and v-p of finance and human resourses Cathy Presniak were around back then.

"Gizmo Williams stood up and talked to the team about 1993. Jed Roberts even recited scores, about losing a game to Winnipeg (52-14) which put them under .500 that year," said Reed.

"They were both there. They both talked about what can happen to a team in this league when you get that one game 1/3 that game which, for us, is this game."

Beginning the day after he turns 39, Joseph is being asked to do what Damon Allen did in 1993, when offensive co-ordinator Adam Rita brought the so called "Sally Rand" play out of mothballs and worked the naked bootleg for all it was worth. It turned a less-than-sensational season into a championship year for head coach Ron Lancaster.

Can Joseph be Allen, who ended up the Grey Cup MVP that year? Can Hugh Charles be Lucius Floyd, the running back who worked the Sally Rand for all she was worth during that magical mystical run following a previous Black September?

Reed, taking over as offensive co-ordinator, sure sounds like he's got some Sally Rand sort of stuff planned for this crucial.

While most people are trying to get their head wrapped around the idea of Reed, a career defensive player and coach calling plays, the head coach offered a new element when he told your correspondent Thursday somebody else is going to be involved in calling plays, too.

"Kerry is going to be a key," he said of the quarterback who became the same age as the head coach yesterday.

"Kerry is going to call a lot of the game.

"We're going to use a lot of hurry-up offence. We're going to use a lot more misdirection plays. We're going to get the quarterback out of the pocket …"

And maybe, just maybe, you might even see Sally.

Reed is hoping to make the offence fun again.

"We can't be nervous or tight," he said.

He needs Joseph to be loose, too.

The last time Joseph won a football game as a starting quarterback was Friday, July 24, 2009. He was 35.

It was 19-5 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was 14 for 28 for for 144 yards. No touchdown passes. Two interceptions. His Toronto Argos would only win one game after that on the schedule that season. Cody Pickett was the quarterback when they did.

You get the idea, here. If Joseph and the Eskimos can rewrite 1993, it would be a helluva story.

But Reed isn't just selling one story, one season.

He has two examples of teams that had five-game losing streaks turned around this very year. The Tiger-Cats snapped their five-game losing streak with a 51-8 win over the Eskimos. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, here next week, snapped their five-game skid with a 52-0 win over Winnipeg.

"You only have to look back at last year and the B.C. Lions," said Reed.

B.C. lost their first five, came in here and beat the Eskimos 36-1 and ended up winning the Grey Cup.

He even pointed to Marcus Crandell, the demoted offensive co-ordinator who ended up as Grey Cup MVP when he led an 8-10 Calgary Stampeders team to the title.

This is the year of the 100th Grey Cup game and there are dozens of stories like the 1993 Eskimos.

But make no mistake, it has to start here.

If the Eskimos lose this one and the Roughriders win Thanksgiving Monday in Toronto, this special CFL season will essentially be over early in Edmonton.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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