Esks' Boyd: 'I know who they are'

Cory Boyd of the Edmonton Eskimos. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

Cory Boyd of the Edmonton Eskimos. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

Cory Boyd figures he knows the Argonauts' defence quite well, thanks.

Whether the Edmonton Eskimos running back can get in the mind of Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones on Sunday afternoon will go a long way to determining which club moves on to play Montreal in the East Division final.

"I know about the defence that Chris Jones puts out there, I know the personnel over there, and that is a good thing, a good advantage for me, to know who I am playing against, knowing how they will respond to adversity, how the game will turn out," Boyd said on Saturday afternoon following the Eskimos' walkthrough at the Rogers Centre.

"I take it as the (Argos) know I am, I know who they are, and now it's about who is going to man up and play ball."

Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed gave an already juicy storyline plenty of meat when he decided to keep Boyd on the roster for the East semifinal and leave Brampton native Jerome Messam on the bench. Earlier in the week, Reed announced former Argos quarterback Kerry Joseph, who had two miserable seasons with the Argos in 2008-09, will start in Toronto.

Reed, of course, thinks the running back tandem of Hugh Charles and Boyd -- the latter was listed as the starter on the depth chart -- gives his club a greater opportunity to win than had Messam been in and one of the others sat out.

If the Argos are able to stop the run, a facet of the opposition's offence that gave them trouble at times during the regular season, Reed's decision will be moot.

There's no question that in Charles, who is speedy and likes to cut back, and Boyd, who would rather ram it down your throat, the Argos will be defending against a couple of vastly different players. Does one pose more of a challenge than the other?

"Charles is a more dangerous person because he can do it all," Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac said. "He can catch the ball, he can run the ball, he causes matchup problems within the linebackers.

"Cory, one man can't bring him down. Everybody has to pursuit to the football and gang-tackle and do that every play. He needs just one play where one guy is coming to tackle him and he can break free."

Charles doesn't have the personal connection to the Argos, obviously, that Boyd does. Released in August by the Argos despite leading the Canadian Football League in rushing at the time, Boyd had the kind of roller-coaster season that gives players fits. But after the Eskimos let him go and then brought him back, Boyd sounded fully prepared to make the Argos sorry for saying goodbye in the first place.

"I get to go out and show the Argos fans and the Argos that they are missing out on a great player," Boyd said. "I battled (emotions) the last time I played here (on Aug. 27). It's strictly business. They were family, but they are enemies on game day.

"You have to have a chip on your shoulder going into a playoff game, but my chip is not because I am playing my old team. It is because I am in the playoffs. It would be a great ending to this story of mine, to come back and dominate and be who I am supposed to be, and that is a playmaker."

The Argos will do everything in their power to stop that from happening.

"Our guys are going to have to recognize who is in the backfield and what kind of run or pass they need to anticipate," head coach Scott Milanovich said. "There are a lot of things you can do, but it all comes back to stopping the run. I'm sure that is the way they are planning to come out in this game, is trying to run (the football)."


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