Eskimos receiver demoted from starter to scratch for Saturday's home opener
By Vicki Hall,
EDMONTON - Chalk up Trevor Gaylor as the latest casualty for the defending Grey Cup Champions.
The lanky wide receiver still has a job with the Edmonton Eskimos, unlike the departed Tim Fleiszer and Donald Brady. But Gaylor was demoted from starter to healthy scratch for Saturday night's game against the Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium.
Former Cleveland Brown Richard Alston will take Gaylor's place in the lineup.
"Of course I'm upset about it, but there's nothing I can really do except to keep working hard and get back out there," Gaylor said Wednesday. "Obviously, I didn't play up to the standard they wanted me to play at, and they expressed it by benching me until further notice."
Gaylor caught two passes for 20 yards in the season-opener against Calgary last Saturday, but he dropped one ball near the Eskimos bench.
"He had that drop," said head coach Danny Maciocia "and his play has been inconsistent of late."
Inconsistent is a label fast becoming attached to Gaylor as he enters his second full season as an Eskimo.
If there's a tough pass in triple coverage, Gaylor will probably catch it. The dropsies normally hit when he's all alone with no traffic around him.
But Gaylor 28, figures his reputation as inconsistent is blown out of proportion.
"It's starting to get old," he said. "I don't really understand. I don't think I'm different than anybody else. I don't think I mess up any more than the next person does. I don't know too many perfect players out here right now.
"All I know is that I try to be perfect every time, but obviously it's not enough."
The drop last week came on a low pass from quarterback Ricky Ray.
"It's a ball that I possibly could have caught" Gaylor said. "I may not be the only receiver who would have dropped that pass.
"I'm sure the decision is not solely based on last week's performance. It's from prior weeks. They felt I wasn't consistent enough to be out there."
In his limited time at practice, Gaylor is giving it everything he has to prove to Maciocia that he made a mistake -- that he can be relied on in pressure situations.
Just a few weeks ago, Maciocia predicted Gaylor would amass 1,200 to 1,300 yards this season -- up from the 929 he racked up last year. That will be tough to accomplish from the bench.
"You can't dwell on the past when you're trying to achieve a goal," Gaylor said "You know, it hurts. But at the same time, it gives me the drive to get better."
"It's not like I'm ready to give up yet."
Gaylor shouldn't give up, not with his talent, according to wideout Ed Hervey. Every receiver struggles at times, so it's just a matter of perseverance.
"You've just got to keep working hard in practice," Hervey said. "Keep your head up and don't lose your confidence. Stay prepared. I think he understands what's going on right now. If he can find the consistency he had last year when he was playing his best, things should work out for him."
As for Alston, he's thrilled with he chance to prove himself.
"I'm just another guy out there," said Alston, 25. "I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and help the team in any way I can."
SHORT YARDAGE -- Defensive end Andre Sommersell is expected to start his first game on Saturday, provided his sprained ankle holds up in practice.
"I've got to make sure he's not limping," Maciocia said. "The last thing you want to do is have a guy go into the game with a gimpy ankle. He's good for a dozen or half-a-dozen plays, then he goes down and you've lost him for the rest of the game.
"We're not in the business of dressing people for a quarter. We want to make sure they can get through a football game."
Alston looked pretty solid during the pre-season game in sask. Gaylor has always been known to get the dropsies from time to time. I like this decision, as long as Alston has a decent game on saturday, with no obvious dropped balls.