EDMONTON — The threat was voiced today, nothing overt or emotional, but the beleaguered Edmonton Eskimos think they’ll have the solution to a defensively aggressive Winnipeg Blue Bombers squad they’ll face Saturday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium.
"I think defences understand throughout this league the best way to beat an offence is to get pressure on (the quarterback)," said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly after the team’s walk-through this morning. "In a passing league, any time you’re able to make the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, it definitely gives your defence an advantage.
"It’s not a surprise. But there are ways to counteract that and when defences are going to go with that mentality, they’ll leave themselves susceptible to big plays down the field and it doesn’t mean the ball has to be throw 50, 60 yards. You can get a five-yard catch with no support on a tackle, he makes one guy miss and it’s a big play.
"Us as an offence, we have to realize it and make them pay when they bring that pressure."
The Eskimos, 1-9, have had their share of difficulty keeping Reilly in a position to make enough plays this season. The 2-8 Bombers have not great success getting to quarterbacks every week, though they found many roads to Saskatchewan’s Darian Durant last Sunday in Winnipeg.
Edmonton coach Kavis Reed said today that Winnipeg performance has been on his mind all week.
"Tremendous concern," Reed said. "Sleepless-night types of concern.
"That’s been the focal point of our game plan this week is making certain that we have an opportunity to have Mike standing upright and as safe as possible for the most part.
"He’s taken a lot of hits. He’s made a hero of himself by getting up constantly. We can’t keep testing that."