In the first two weeks of the regular season, it seemed the Edmonton Eskimos offence could do no wrong. They scored eight touchdowns in those two games and recorded 71 points in the two wins.
Then, on June 27 in Winnipeg, they put up some impressive numbers against the Blue Bombers defence: 440 yards of net offence, 345 passing yards, 29 first downs, 77 offensive plays and over 36 minutes of possession time. But there was one glaring stat in the 28-21 loss: zero touchdowns.
Following Sunday’s practice on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, quarterback Trevor Harris said the loss against the Bombers came down to the details.
“That’s a credit to the Winnipeg defence, obviously, but it’s also us shooting ourselves in the foot,” Harris said. “It was a thing here and thing there, and offensively, if we’re not clicking on all cylinders, all 12 guys are not doing their job, it makes it tough. We all took our turns — it’s a team thing, but we’re going to work through it and get better.”
LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos QB Trevor Harris on cleaning up the mistakes from their June 27 loss in Winnipeg
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The Eskimos are coming off their first bye week of the season, which gives everyone some time to reflect. Receiver Kenny Stafford says the loss in Winnipeg emphasizes that the offence is still in the early stages as a unit.
“You got to put emphasis on it — we’ve only been playing football together for four weeks as an offence,” Stafford said. “We’re all new pieces. Me and Natey Adjei are the only returning starters in the receiving corps that’s been here. C.J. Gable was here last year. You have a new quarterback and we’re learning how to work together. Everyone loves to work; no one is selfish and we’re enjoying the process.”
LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos’ Kenny Stafford on gelling as an offence and dealing with their loss to the Bombers over the bye week
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The Eskimos head to Vancouver this week to play the B.C. Lions on Thursday. The Eskimos beat the Lions 39-23 on June 21 in Edmonton.
The two teams meet two more times, including Thursday’s game. If the Eskimos win, they will take the season series. Stafford says the chance to gain an early-season advantage the team can use later on is huge.
“This is the first time in my career where the season series is so close. Typically it’s towards the back end of the season, but this year it’s right now,” Stafford said. “Making sure the young guys understand what it’s like to win the season series. Last year we lost the season series to the Lions to get into the playoffs, so we have to put some emphasis on it.”
Running back C.J. Gable didn’t practice on Sunday. Offensive lineman Jacob Ruby practised with the team after missing the game in Winnipeg because of injury.
Running back Shaq Cooper, who went down with an injury in training camp, was activated from the six-game injured list. Linebacker Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga has also been taken off the six-game injured list and placed on the active roster.
The news isn’t so good for linebacker Blair Smith, who has been placed on the six-game injured list. Edmonton also released defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles from the practice roster.
Starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 6 p.m., 630 CHED will have live coverage of Thursday’s game from B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver. The opening kickoff will be at 8 p.m.
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