Report card

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 2:30 AM ET

THE DEFENSIVE LINE: A

Second in the league in QB sacks even though some positions

looked like a revolving door in the second half of the year.

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LB A.J. GASS: A

The defence led the league in 13 of 25 categories, including fewest rushing yards. Gass is the captain of the ship.

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LB SINGOR MOBLEY: A

Led the team in tackles.

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LB STEVEN MARSH

Tailor-made for the CFL. Quick and strong.

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K/P SEAN FLEMING: F (1st half) A+ (2nd half)

A FG success rate of 57% after the opening eight games deserves a failing grade. But nobody was better down the stretch. Fleming was 21-23 on FG attempts in his final seven games.

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CB KEYUO CRAVER: A

CFL rookie wasn't scored against in his six games on the corner to end the season as Sanchez's replacement.

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LS TAYLOR INGLIS: A

The rookie looked shaky during some practice snaps, but didn't misfire once in the regular season.

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DB DONNY BRADY: A

CFL West all-star.

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S KELLY WILTSHIRE: A

Edmonton's outstanding Canadian nominee. Missed one game: the Hamilton blowout. Coincidence?

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CB MALCOLM FRANK: C+

Was repeatedly picked on by opposing teams in the playoffs and they had significant success on deep pass plays. Also led the secondary in tackles - not a good sign.

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DB SHANNON GARRETT

Wasn't scored against until Nik Lewis became a personal nightmare in the final game of the regular season.

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QB RICKY RAY: B

Struggled down the stretch and needed to be bailed out in the West semifinal and final. But he still set CFL/Eskimo passing records and delivered in the clutch in the Grey Cup.

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THE OFFENSIVE LINE: B-

Yes, Ray was battered through most of the regular season and was often seen running for his life. But every defence in the league knew it was pass, pass, pass. But once the Esks started to run the ball when Davis arrived, the O-line opened running lanes and gave up just three sacks over the

final three regular-season games.

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RB TROY DAVIS: A+

Averaged nearly 100 yards per game in the final four regular-season tilts, had a 6.2-yard average in the Grey Cup and is the best pass-blocking RB in the league.

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FB MATHIEU BERTRAND: A

Yet to find a player that won't sing Bertrand's praises."I respect him like no other on the team," said backup WR Rob Leblanc. "He is an unbelievable warrior."

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WR TREVOR GAYLOR: B-

Talented when concentrating, but dropped too many catchable balls in the playoffs. The Esks are fortunate those drops didn't knock them out.

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SB MOOKIE MITCHELL: A

Incredibly reliable. Example: third-down gamble with 1:43 remaining in the Grey Cup.

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SB JASON TUCKER: A+

Who in the league is better? Tucker led the CFL in receiving.

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WR ED HERVEY: B

Only scored one TD in 12 games, which isn't good, but it's tough to give him a lower grade because he probably wasn't 100% for some games after the major knee injury. Gets extra marks for being a team leader.

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COACH DANNY MACIOCIA: A

Wins the Grey Cup in his rookie year and plays a role in bringing Troy Davis and Dan Comiskey to town.

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HIT OF THE YEAR: TROY DAVIS

Edmonton gave up almost nothing to get Troy Davis, an all-star running back, and Dan Comiskey, a warrior on the offensive line.

The Esks lost three of their last four games in September. But after the trade, they won six of their final seven games - and every tilt was against a team with a .500 record or above. Four of those six wins came on the road.

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RUNNER-UP: ROGER REINSON

One bad snap could have cost the Esks the Grey Cup. But after signing as the emergency longsnapper for the final two playoff games Roger Reinson was rock solid.

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MISS OF THE YEAR: DAVIS SANCHEZ

Davis Sanchez was just trying to help, but in hindsight, he should have sat for a few weeks in October.

After straining a groin while losing to Hamilton on Sept. 30, Sanchez had trouble with the groin in practice the next week, but tried to play on Thanksgiving Day in Toronto. He didn't survive the first half, tearing the groin. The all-star CB missed the rest of the year.

The Green and Gold could have been stuck in a terrible spot if rookie Keyuo Craver hadn't played so well.

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TURNING POINT: HAMILTON HORROR

The horror show in Hamilton on Sept. 30 was the low point of the year, but the 40-14 loss to the 2-10 Tiger-Cats was also a key moment in the season.

"It was a wake-up call in Hamilton," said receiver Ed Hervey.

Before losing in Steeltown, Edmonton had ended the B.C. Lions' 11-game unbeaten streak with a spirited effort.

"Losing to Hamilton (told us) that we have to be able to maintain that intensity level," continued Hervey. "That was a lesson we needed to learn and it helped us with the stretch run."

Edmonton lost just once the remainder of the year after leaving Hamilton.

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QUESTION MARK I: Jason Tucker

Will the Eskimos sign the last of the Big Three?

Hugh Campbell has already tied up Joe Montford and Troy Davis.

But losing Tucker, who led the league in receiving, would be a huge blow.

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QUESTION MARK II: Tony Tompkins

Will Tony Tompkins return?

With five touchdowns, nobody had more special-teams majors in the CFL this year than Tompkins.

But Tompkins can flee to the NFL this winter - and with his explosive burst of speed, he might catch the eye of a few teams.

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QUESTION MARK III: alston, jeanty

Will Charles Alston and/or Rashad Jeanty return?

The dynamic young duo on the defensive line combined for 11 sacks this year. However, both are entering the option year of their contract, meaning they can also leave for the NFL.

"I'd be wrong to say I am not (thinking about the NFL)," said Alston, who had two sacks on Grey Cup Sunday, "but it's just not a No. 1 priority.

"I like to play football and I like to win - and right now, my best opportunity to win is right here."

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QUESTION MARK IV: Malvin Hunter

Will Malvin Hunter return? It can be argued the special-teams unit won two huge games in the final two months.

Tompkins' kickoff return TD in the Grey Cup took the Eskimos off the ropes. And his TD gallop against B.C on Sept. 24 changed the momentum - and the Esks never looked back.

Hunter is enthusiastic and determined - but also has another young team thousands of miles away. He has a wife and two young children in Virginia.

"I had a great time this year, but I have to get back home and make sure I am doing the right thing on both ends.''


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