Statistically speaking, the Edmonton Eskimos game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be a spectacular double-E aerial blitz leaving the gridiron strewn with the rubble of the visiting fans’ watermelon helmet-hats.
But Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly says the 1-7 Roughriders under head coach/general manager Chris Jones can’t be taken lightly in Friday’s game at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
“Football games aren’t played on paper,” Reilly said after practice Thursday. “We’ve just got to go out and execute. If we make the mistakes we made earlier in the season, it will be a lot more difficult.”
Led by Reilly and receivers Derel Walker and Adarius Bowman, the 4-4 Eskimos specialize in destroying defences through the air.
Reilly is the CFL’s top-rated passer, completing more than 70 per cent of his passes for 2,843 yards and 14 TDs against six interceptions.
Bowman leads the CFL in receiving yards (875) and Walker is second (837).
And nobody likes to throw like the Eskimos.
They lead the league with 228 completions. Only Ottawa is averaging more passing yards a game than Edmonton’s 355.3-yard average. Edmonton has 201 first downs, also tops.
Jones makes his second return trip to Edmonton after leading the team to the Grey Cup last year as head coach and defensive co-ordinator.
Reilly and Walker say a Jones defence is always dangerous, with something up its sleeve in shifts and stunts in coverage.
“He [Jones] is always planning something,” Walker said. “We’re just going to come out and execute the game plan and go from there.”
Saskatchewan’s defence, by contrast, cannot be more accommodating. The Green D is giving up almost 36 points a game, last in the league by a long shot, to go with a league-worst 30 touchdowns. They allow 9.7 yards a pass, also worst in the CFL, and have just two interceptions.
The hope is veteran cornerback Fred Bennett, recently acquired from Calgary, will have an impact in his first game as a Roughrider.
Reilly, who has taken some wicked hits in recent weeks, should have an easier time Friday. The Riders have just 11 sacks, again last in the league.
Saskatchewan’s defensive futility is matched only by its offence. The Riders have not scored a touchdown in the last 90 minutes, and are in the CFL basement in points scored (18.1 a game). They have scored just 11 touchdowns in eight games.
The Eskimos, after a rocky start that has left them fourth in the West, are now on a roll. They have won two in a row and are coming of a 46-23 drubbing of the Toronto Argonauts.Report Typo/Error