When it comes to the Eskimos and Tiger-Cats, there isn't much to give on the defensive side of the ball.
The Eskimos have Odell Willis, Tiger-Cats counter with Eric Norwood.
Ted Laurent for the Tabbies. Almondo Sewell in Edmonton.
Emmanuel Davis? John Ojo.
Dexter McCoil? Rico Murray.
Don't try to find an edge as the other team will counter with a similar talent and Friday's game is going to focus on two defences who are proving a strong offence is a strong defence.
Emmanuel Davis is a prime example with three interceptions and three touchdowns this season as the Tiger-Cats enter the game with the best turnover ratio in the CFL, with 22 takeaways. But again, the Eskimos have 21.
Earlier this season, Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt told me he's having the most fun of his entire football career in this Eskimos defence as the game plan highlights everyone's skill set.
For the Tiger-Cats, Craig Butler explained to me a few weeks ago how speed is highlighted by Defensive Coordinator Orlondo Steinauer and creates havoc for opposing offences.
I could throw out all the stats that have these teams near the top of defensive categories in the CFL through eight weeks of the season like the Eskimos allowed 14.4 points per game or the Tiger-Cats being the best defence against the run, but it will just continue to show how close this match-up is.
These defences are definitely near mirrors of each other and it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. Steinauer was Chris Jones' assistant on defence in 2012 when the Argonauts won a Grey Cup and picked up on Jones' ability to formulate great blitz schemes by bringing in players from all over the place and counter acting the CFL's field that helps the offence with blazing speed from his defensive players.
It's been working for Jones, almost every step in his career a championship has been won. His first CFL stint in Montreal where he picked up his first Grey Cup ring, to Calgary where he earned another to Toronto in '12 and now to Edmonton where his defence is among tops again.
It's no surprise Steinauer has emulated some of Chris Jones into his defence, why would you.
However, Steinauer has put his own twist with a ball hawking secondary.
A secondary that emulates their defensive coordinator, who during Steinauer's career earned him the second most interception return yards in league history and five CFL All-Star nods.
Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Kevin Glenn described the Tiger-Cats secondary as a unit made up entirely of Orlondo Steinauer's; aggressive, fast and smart.
Playing against five or six Steinauer's would be a nightmare for any quarterback and this season the Tiger-Cats are tied for the lead interceptions. Tied with, you guessed it … Edmonton.
Chris Jones' forte is blitz packages. And wouldn't you know it, the Eskimos lead the league in sacks. Second is Hamilton.
So what is going to make the difference on Friday if these defences are so close?
The difference will be on the other side of the ball.
The Tiger-Cats come in to this week with the highest scoring offence, while the Esks are in the middle of the pack. The Tiger-Cats have turned over the ball a league low 10 times, while the Eskimos have coughed up the ball a league high 21 times.
Not only are the Tiger-Cats scoring on offence and defence but they have Brandon Banks who seems to take a kick or punt return back once a week. You throw in one of the league's best kickers in Justin Medlock and it's not going to be easy on any one to try and beat the Tiger-Cats.
So far the Eskimos have survived a season with exceptional defence because the offence without quarterback Mike Reilly has been erratic. Matt Nichols looks like a world beater one week and then gets pulled the next. Consistency and ball security are needed.
And like the Eskimos have an answer for everything the Tiger-Cats are going to throw at them on defence, they'll need to the same on offence and special teams if they're going to hold up against the most well rounded team in the league.
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Nye sure nailed it. Lol