Eskimos to face the 'good' Henry Burris on Friday

Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris throws a pass against the Alouettes at Ivor Wynne Stadium in...

Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris throws a pass against the Alouettes at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., July 21, 2012. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:16 AM ET

EDMONTON - For Henry Burris, it’s just a normal trip to Edmonton.

“Well, you know, other than it’s not a three-hour bus ride this time,” he said.

“It’s another trip to Commonwealth Stadium for another big game. Seems just about every time I’ve gone there it’s to play a big game.

“Here we go again.

“To me, there’s not a better place to play a big game than in that place,” he said of the venue which has about 18,000 new green-and-yellow seats installed since his last visit, losing the Western semifinal there last year.

“This time it’s pretty much for the last playoff spot,” he said of Friday’s battle between the Eskimos and his Hamilton Tiger-Cats, two teams with 5-8 records.

Burris is pretty sure he knows what kind of team the Tiger-Cats are going to have waiting for them here.

“They’ve just lost five games in a row,” he said.

“It wasn’t long ago we were the team which had lost five games in a row.”

Indeed. And how did they snap it?

With a 51-8 win over the Eskimos, that’s how.

Saskatchewan also had a five-game losing streak earlier this year.

They snapped it with a 52-0 win over Winnipeg.

What kind of league is it that has eight teams and three of them have had five-game losing streaks?

And don’t forget Winnipeg started the season with a four-game losing streak which they snapped again the … wait for it … Edmonton Eskimos.

It’s the kind of league, suggests Burris, that has a team in it like the one he plays for now, the one that defeated the Eskimos 51-8, then lost 34-12 to Winnipeg and then beat Montreal 41-28 over the last three weeks.

“We think we’re going good again now, but we have to be more consistent from week to week.”

It’s the kind of league where there’s a team which has outscored all others with 401 points but is in danger of not making the playoffs if they lose to the Eskimos and Edmonton ends up with a better record to go to the Eastern semifinal as a crossover club.

Yes, the 5-8 Tabbies lead the league in scoring.

They also lead the league in points given up, at 409.

Winning on the road is a bit of a problem for the Tiger-Cats, a team which may have to spend the entire year on the road next season as they tear down Ivor Wynne Stadium and rebuild it with a new one.

They only have one road win to show for this season. And they’ve only won one of their last 10 in Edmonton — that one being back in 2006.

“We’ve had ups and downs,” said Burris, while packing for the trip he’s looking forward to because his wife and two sons are driving up from Calgary to meet him when the team arrives Thursday morning. Burris finally makes his return visit to McMahon Stadium Oct. 20.

“We’ve been able to score points but we’ve helped find ways to let teams hang around and hang around. We’re a young team, especially on one side of the ball. On the other side we have so many new faces with a lot of us having never played together before,” he said of his ex-Stampeder self and ex-Roughrider Andy Fantuz.

“Hopefully we’re all coming together to be good now.”

As any Calgary fan can tell you, there’s ‘Good Hank’ and ‘Bad Hank,’ and it’s a very good Hank Burris headed here for this one.

Just awarded his third Gibson’s Finest Player of the Week award for throwing five touchdown passes against the Alouettes, Burris completed 28 of 32 passes in the game.

“That’s pretty tough to accomplish in the back yard, against air,” said Tiger-Cats head coach and former Stampeders assistant George Cortez.

Burris now leads the league in QB efficiency rating at 108.1, with a league-leading 32 touchdown passes against only 11 interceptions and 3,846 yards of passing, which easily projects to a 5,000-yard season.

“Physically I feel the best I’ve ever felt at this stage of the season,” he said.

Not good news for the Eskimos.

Something else is different about Henry Burris now, too.

“Henry is getting the ball off in 2.6 seconds,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed.

“I think they’ve modified their game and their protection since we last played them, so that’s going to be another challenge for us, so we’ll see if it’s worthwhile for us even to pressure.”

Just gonna let him have his way against you, then?

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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