Still Want to Talk About the Defense?

Stuffing the Riders on several occasions at the goal line by the Eskies defense is a defining moment for this young group of players. The turnover on downs in the 3rd Qtr to keep the game 17-14 Esks was just outstanding. The Riders should have taken the lead or at least kicked a field goal to tie the game, but instead the Esks gave up a safety and kept the lead 17-16.

Then it happened again in the 4th Qtr with the Esks leading 23-19 the defense forced a turnover on downs. Mix in a fumble and that is 3 turnovers by the Esks defense.

The Esks defense kept another opponent to under 21 points and with Collaros and Carter both coming back to the Riders offense. In fact out of 15 possessions the Riders were only able to score 3 times on offense. The Esks average 1.4 points against per possession/drive by the opposition.

Could it be that the Esks defence is getting it done much to the shagrin of the naysayers? Yes, many a blow hards are being proved wrong by the Esks defense. Yet how do they do it?

Some will say luck, but this is naive. Good teams make their own luck and the Eskies have certainly done that to now be 5-2.

Some will see weak opponents, but that would mean the Grey Cup champs that just put up 42 points in a come back was poorly coached on offense by Mark Trestman. A coach that has won three Grey Cups and has won coach of the year. Is it more likely that Tretman forgot how to coach or that the Esks defense played well? The same can be said of the "Great" Chris Jones and his sidekick OC Stephen McAdoo. Good enough to win before and yet not good enough to win now against the Esks defense.

Could it be that an aggressive style of defense is risky and gives the offense a bigger opportunity to score points so a pick your spots defense like the Esks is actually more intelligent? Well there is a reason why many pro teams have selected a similar style of defense as the Esks. From the wide 9 to the big nickel, base dime and host of 3-4 defenses now being played down south, the CFL has moved more into a zone timing type of defenses that pick their spots on the field and in the game to attack.

The Eskimos defense is just doing this better than most right now.

complete cave by the D in second half against BC.

Offense failed as well in the second half but at least the O has played well in most games, unlike the D

Wasn't their best effort for sure.

Will the Defence come up big against the Alouettes this week or will they leave the game entirely in the hands of Mike Reilly and his receivers again?


As everyone in Edmonton media and the team are saying the B.C. loss was 100% on the offense in the 2nd half with 4 X two and outs in a row and 1 Int. Just can't hang the defense out to dry like that according to Mike Reilly.

This is the second game the offense wasn't great and the defense didn't bail them out in B.C. like they did vs Saskatchewan. Fairly certain the defense shuts down Antonio Pipkin and the lousy Als offense, the real question is can Reilly find his groove again after back to back games where he was average to below average. That and what does CJ Gable not starting do for Reilly's protection?

Shaq Cooper is a dynamic runner and receiver, but can he pick up the blitz like Gable can? This is a big question for the offense. Meanwhile the defense is getting strong reviews in Edmonton by the media and fans alike.

Reilly being humble.

O gave the D a lead and the D couldn't keep it.

LMAO ... the O gave the D 4 two and outs in a row and there is no defense in pro ball that is going to protect a lead like that other than the '85 Bears. Then again that was a different time when a defense could actually hit people without getting penalized.

Now every defense has a big chunk of their playbook in zone and non-blitzing packages. Between the NFL and CFL there are 6 attacking 4-3 man defenses out of 41 defenses. The norm in pro ball now is for the offense to manage the game and for defenses to just keep the ball in front of them trying to hold the offense to 3 points. If the offense is making mistakes like 2 and outs they not managing anything.

EVERYONE around the Esks have stated over and over that the offense needs to be better. Some people don't want to get this, but they are just being thick because they are married to their antiqued view of defense that just isn't played in pro ball anymore. It is time to accept the way the world of pro ball is not how it was.

Yeah, the Eskimos' defense has gotten better as the season progressed, but the offense has been terribly inconsistent.

The last 2 games (against the Riders and the Lions) they started out well running and passing the ball effectively. For some reason they stopped running the ball in the 3rd quarter of both games and got themselves int trouble.

Defenses have figured out that Reilly has nobody to throw to when the Eskimos abandon the running game.

Exactly, the Esks are designed to be an Offense first team like most pro ball teams these days due to the rule shifts over the last 5-7 years. When you get penalized for chucking off the line a guy on the edge of five yards and for laying the smack down on a receiver, defenses have to change. They did ... mostly to over the top zone schemed defenses sitting back in cover 3 and cover 2 with often 4, sometimes 5 and occasionally 6 man pressure.

The Esks are no different than most pro ball teams these days with the 4-2-6 base scheme playing a hybrid of man on the boundary and zone cover 2 on the field side mostly, then activating the 2 LB's to attack or pass defend depending on need. Occasionally the Esks drop Aaron Grymes high to resemble a cover 3 look.

Where the Esks D has mostly improved is play calling on the LB's based on game situations and where the opposition is on the field, but it also helps to have JC Sherritt back. Sherritt now has 3 sacks, Chistophe Mulumba has 2 sacks and Adam Konar has 1 sack. The Esks have been sending 5 man and 6 man pressure a lot in the middle of the field, which is earlier than last season when the waited until the edge of the red zone. As the LB's vacate the mid tier passing zone in the middle the low zone half back DB's have been under cutting and jumping routes. This is how Grymes gets his INT v.s. Montreal for example.

Where the Esks defense has improved the most is at rush end with 4 man pressure with specifically Boateng, but it is still the interior pocket collapsing pressure that is critical. I don't think that many fans get just how important Almondo Sewell is to the Esks defense. He is a space eater, run stuffer and pocket collapsing NT and when paired with an interior pass rusher like a Da' Quan Bowers or Euclid Cummings the results can be very good. The jury is still out on Jake Ceresna, but Mike Moore is a dynamic pass rusher if he can stay healthy. I expect Moore to break out over the next 6 games as they run twists with him and Sewell then loop Sherritt in behind on the gap.

As it played out last night and has many times this season the game plan against Mike Reilly is send the house. The Esks have two options short passing and runs or bombs away against a cover 1 or cover 0 blitz. Up to last night it has been bombs away with a mix in of C.J. Gable power runs. This worked well early on in the season, but then B.C. just added another body rushing 7 in a true cover 0 blitz and that took away the ability for Reilly to stand and deliver the deep ball. The adjustment was a receiving back like Shaq Cooper who could get outside in the flat and use his speed. That and the underneath stuff to Bryant Mitchell. Gable is not a bad receiving back, but Cooper is much better. The issue with Cooper is he doesn't block as well as Gable. More dump off passing and outside runs will slow the pass rush down.

It is an ebb and flow game planning throughout the season to show different looks on offense and defense for certain. Suffice it to say the Esks offense can play it different ways and so can the defense. It would be silly to characterize the Esks as only one style of offense or defense.

Well the Esks are certainly going to have to start showing some defence tomorrow in Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats are stacked with very good WRs and a QB who can be a handful when he's on his game.


I think Masoli is highly overrated being directly responsible for 15 turnovers in 8 games and an 8 TD to 8 Int ratio which is fairly poor. Couple that with the 2nd last in sacks allowed with 21 in 8 games and it is clear why the Ti-Cats are 3-5. Hint: It is not their defense which is 2nd in points allowed.

Everybody and their dog knows the Ti-Cats don't have a real running game and Alex Green in his 3rd game and a 4.4 YPC Avg isn't getting it done. So the Esks can bring the heat with little fear of a run game or screen. I think Avery Jordan could be in for a long night against Kwaku Boateng and the same can be said of Brandon Revenberg against Almondo Sewell, but it will be rookie Darius Ciraco who if left on his own by Mike Filer to double Sewell to compete against Mike Moore that will be the weakest link. Mix in pressure from JC Sherritt and Christophe Mulumba/Adam Konar and I see Masoli having happy feet. When Masoli dances he gets sloppy and that is when the turnovers come.

In the secondary:

Chris Williams vs Mercy Mastonwho plays press man on the boundary corner and has 50 pounds over Williams will beat on Williams in the first 5 yards all night long. If Williams does get free he does have legit 4.3 / 40 speed, but Maston has legit 4.5 / 40 speed and hits like a freight train. There is a reason why his nickname is Merciless. Maston was not in the last time these two teams met.

Brandon Banks vs Aaron Grymeswho is one of the top DB's in the CFL. Banks is a legit 4.3/40 speedster and Grymes is a 4.6 / 40 average runner so advantage to Banks, but Grymes strength is closing speed and timing as the receiver slows to catch the ball.

Banks was shifted to the opposite side from Grymes last game to go against Money Hunter and Jordan Hoover. The reality is that while Banks went up against Taylor and Grymes he caught 2 of 5 targets where he caught 4 of 6 against the field side or LB's. Grymes and Maston can shut down speedy B and Taylor is now playing high on the field side with legit 4.3/40 speed and the fast Forest Hightower is in over Money Hunter. Banks has no rookies to take advantage of this time.

Mike Jones vs Nicholas Taylora is very physical and fast for a smaller 5' 10" 165 pound guy. Jones has the advantage in height and weight, but not speed and the former point guard in Taylor has a crazy vertical. I really don't see Jones having any advantage at all on Taylor. Having typed that in the Esks scheme the field CB is 7 - 9 in their drop at the snap so Jones could be a quick hitter target on the outside. Forest Hightower plays the under routes, but would have to close quickly on the 3 to 5 yard passes.

Jalen Saunders vs Forest Hightower an aggressive cover guy with legit 4.5 / 40 speed that will play bump and run within his zone and then release to the speedy Taylor. However if Saunders turns up his 4.3 / 40 speed and runs post routes right at 3rd year Josh Woodman, even with 4.5 / 40 or Speedy B flips to the field side Woodman could be exposed. However that is if Masoli has time to get set and throw the ball long, which I doubt he will.

Luke Tasker vs Chris Edwards who is fast, bigger and will be very physical on Tasker. Last game Tasker went right after rookie Money Hunter and ran away from Edwards, but if he does that this game he goes up against Hightower. I don't see Tasker beating either on the regular bases.

The two guys I legitimately is Saunders and Banks on the post fly route againstJosh Woodman, but I would not underestimate Woodman just because it is only his 3rd start. Woodman is very athletic, hard hitting and possess enough speed and size to make smaller receiver think twice about leaving themselves open when coming into his zone.

keystone D strikes again. Maston should find another line of work, year round

Ya, the offense has been very inconsistent, but you can’t allow over 500 yds of offense to a 3 and 5 ballteam! On the Tasker TD there were 5 missed tackles.

There were two pretty poor efforts by two defensive HBs in last night's game; one for each team (Maston for the Eskimos and Mariel Cooper for the Cats).

The difference?

Glanville had the good sense to nail Cooper to the bench for the second half and insert Josh Johnson in his place.

Benevides? He did nada.

Wow the offense scores ZERO points in the second half and it's the defense's problem. Again 25 or less points against is below the CFL average.

The Esks scored 24 points and we are blaming the defense?!?! Moronic!

This is the third game the offense has choked in the 2nd half and when a team that is designed to be an offensive first team does that, it spells disaster. The Esks offense will not be able to beat the Stamps defense playing like that and that means 6-6 soon.

The Esks could go 9-9 and maybe make the crossover or third in the West and .500 ball clubs in Edmonton often mean a change in coaching and a purge of players. If it goes down this way, it is 100% on the offense and the lack of finish by so many around Mike Reilly.

You're right DPop, if they don't get this mess straightened out they could miss the playoffs. 2 games each against Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa, things could get real ugly, real fast!

once again, the D finds a way to lose the game.

I don't want to talk. I just want to kick things.


make sure the things you kick don't kick back.