Thursday, July 30, 2015
ESKS "D" WARY OF BRETT SMITH
So when Smith leads the 0-5 Roughriders into Commonwealth Stadium on Friday, the Eskimos and their top-ranked defence will take nothing for granted.
"That's a really dangerous scenario with him because he's going to come in with nothing to lose,'' said Edmonton linebacker JC Sherritt. "And athletically, what he can do, makes him a very dangerous player.''
Edmonton defence will have to play physical against Saskatchewan's No. 1 ranked running game anchored by Jerome Messam, who leads the CFL with 566 rushing yards.
"They have two great big backs we have to tackle, probably the best offensive line we've seen thus far,'' said Jones. "They've got a young quarterback but they also have a lot of people around him who are very good. We have to do a good job of stopping the run and putting them in a second-and-long situations.''
On the other side of the ball an Eskimos defence that ranks in the top three in most of the categories. Defensive lineman Eddie Steele said it's a unit which can be intimidating to opposing offences.
"Yeah, I would like to think so. The stats don't lie,'' he said. "We're up there in almost all the (defensive) categories so it's a pretty fierce defence to go against.''
After losing their opening game 26-11 to Toronto Argonauts, the Eskimos have won three straight, outscoring their opponents 101-32. Their defence has surrendered just one touchdown over those games.
"We don't talk about that stuff so much,'' said Steele. "We're just lining up and doing our job and our philosophy is we're not going got let them score a point on us and that's what we're trying to accomplish every time.''
The Edmonton defence has done an excellent job of that so far, giving up 20 points in their two home game this season. In their last four regular-season home games dating back to last season, they have won by a combined score of 156-32. It is only the second time any CFL team has won four in a row at home by a margin of at least 29 points in each game.
Still, even going against a third-string quarterback, Steele said the defence won't go all-out to pressure Smith and make him uncomfortable.
"Absolutely not. They're a much better football team than that,'' he said. "If you look at all the stats, they're the best offence in the CFL hands down, the best running team, the best net yardage team, they have the most touchdowns so we have our work cut out for us.''
Sherritt said the Eskimos are fully aware of the Riders potential, calling them the "best 0-5 team I've seen up here.''
"As a defence you want to play against the best and offensively they are the best,'' he said. "I don't care what their record is. You couldn't ask for a better matchup.''