Saturday, October 3, 2009

Edmonton Eskimos: Shake-ups Will Help Bring Team Closer to CFL Grey Cup

Edmonton's defense has undergone numerous major changes over the past few days as they acquired defensive back Byron Parker from Toronto and signed defensive back Randee Drew, linebacker Reggie Hunt, and defensive tackle Jerome Haywood.

When you look at it you see aging veterans (Hunt and Haywood), an injury-prone player (Drew) and a player who failed to crack the lineup in Toronto potentially due to him "not learning the playbook" as coach Bart Andrus explained it.

But when you look at it further you see a 6-6 Eskimos team that holds a one-game lead over BC, a two-game lead of, and a three-game lead over Toronto for the fifth out of six teams in the playoffs.

Also, Edmonton has given up the most points in the league, 369 with the next closest being Saskatchewan with 331 and they are adding Hunt, a seven-year CFL veteran, to a linebacking corps who's most experienced player is four-year CFL vet Maurice Lloyd.

Haywood was brought in to replace the injured Dario Romero, yet while Haywood isn't as talented he, just like Romero, has seven-plus years of CFL experience and will likely combine with six-year veteran Kai Ellis in leading a group that contains two two-year veterans and a group of rookies.

Now Parker and Drew, while they are not as experienced (Parker has four years in the league, Drew has two), bring in more talent.

Jason Goss leads the secondary in tackles with 39 and Kelly Malveaux leads them with two interceptions after they failed to get one in seven weeks.

Both Parker and Drew should help in the tackling game with Drew having 86 (67 in 2007) and Parker having 99 (40 in 2008), while Parker has 18 interceptions with a season high of eight in 2006.

Bringing in these four players should in my opinion be able to pass the Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders who are both 7-5.

All they need now is for the the offense to step up from the fourth best (based on points for) in the league.

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