The one thing I expected from the Eskimo offense in the preseason was it would take time for the new personnel to learn a new offensive system. With the departure of Mike Reilly and the entire starting receiving corps, it meant almost half of last year’s offense would be different. In last week’s game against the B.C. Lions the team did not have a lot of yardage, but still managed a 22-7 win. This week, with the most veterans staying home, it was going to be an opportunity for the others to show what they could do.
Trevor Harris did not make the trip to Winnipeg, but the other three quarterbacks (Kilgore, O’Brien and Briscoe) all got their chance to show what they could do. Logan Kilgore got the start and was the most productive of the three. His statistics were not spectacular (10/19, 109 yds) but his control of the offense and personnel was superior to Danny O’Brien and Jeremiah Briscoe. O’Brien (5/10, 24 yds) and has the inside track to the number two quarterback spot. Although the team lost 20-3, there were a few good things when it came to the offense.
When it came to the Eskimo defense, they played a solid game this week giving up only 20 points and 310 yards of offense. When you consider the projected starting defense of the Eskimos did not make the trip to Winnipeg this week, it speaks to the depth of the team. A couple of standouts Friday night were defensive backs Bryan Walker and Tyquwan Glass, who lead the team in tackles as well as played solid covering Winnipeg receivers. With new defensive coordinator Phillip Lolley calling a much more aggressive defense, it will be imperative that the defensive backs have good cover skills and we have witnessed that in both preseason games.
Another area of concern for the Eskimos heading into this year was the play of the special teams. The team ranked in the bottom third of many categories last year and in an attempt to turn things around, hired former Eskimo linebacker A.J. Gass as Special Teams coach. In the two preseason games, there has been improvement in the punt and kickoff return, but there is still work to be done when it comes to coverage teams. Part of the problem right now is there are still so many players still in camp and trying to make the team; things will change once the final roster has been determined.