SUN Hockey Pool

Fortunate to be at .500

GERRY MODDEJONGE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET

For a team with the most giveaways and fewest take-aways in the CFL, the Edmonton Eskimos should consider themselves lucky to still have a .500 record.

With 28 giveaways through interceptions, fumbles and turnovers-on-downs and only 16 takeaways, the Eskimos are last in the league with a ratio of minus-12.

Meanwhile, their opponents on Sunday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, lead the league in takeaways with 41, while their 33 giveaways gives them a second-best ratio of plus-8.

"I think takeaways are always a factor," said Eskimos defensive co-ordinator Jim Daley.

"But we have improved tremendously in the last month in regards to that.

"The takeaway-giveaway ratio is not one that is good with us right now as a team, so to be 5-5 in spite of that is an indication of some other positives."

It isn't all bad.

The Eskimos have given up the fewest turnovers-on-downs so far with four, while the Roughriders are tied with the B.C. Lions for giving up the most in the league at eight.

And the Eskimos are a team that doesn't rely on turnovers to provide scoring opportunities -- although it's exactly what kept them in last week's 35-34 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

"We had three interceptions and three sacks, which against any team is a good outing," said Daley.

"But again, it comes to the consistency thing."

Up to that point, the Eskimos only had three interceptions all season, finally recording their first one in Week 7 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"I'd say the biggest concern we have is inconsistency," said Daley.

"We were, on second downs, very effective getting them off the field on 12 second-and-medium and second-and-long chances out of 14.

"On first downs, we were terrible giving up long plays. So we were inconsistent and nowhere near where we have to be."

Facing the Stampeders two weeks in a row didn't help, either.

"We had a few subtle wrinkles, as much as you can on a one-day practice," said Daley.

"The first half of the first game, we played well. The second downs in the second game we played well.

"But we have not played consistently with the execution we need to show."

And this week, the gears shift from the Stampeders to another back-to-back series, this time against the Roughriders.

"One, we have familiarity with them having played them," Daley said of a 38-33 victory at Mosaic Stadium in their first meeting of the regular season on July 25.

"Two, we had an extra day (this week) to take a break. Our guys have come back and they've had a great week of practice.

"And I think we're going to be a very, very good team on Sunday."

Sunday's kickoff goes at 2 p.m at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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