Eskimos running for respectability

Common sense suggests the Edmonton Eskimos chances of beating the Montreal Alouettes today improve greatly if they can keep the ball in the hands of Arkee Whitlock and Calvin McCarty and out of the grasp of Anthony Calvillo.

Edmonton Eskimo Calvin McCarty played a major role in the Esks comeback win over Saskatchewan on Saturday

Edmonton Eskimo Calvin McCarty played a major role in the Esks comeback win over Saskatchewan on Saturday

EDMONTON — Common sense suggests the Edmonton Eskimos chances of beating the Montreal Alouettes today improve greatly if they can keep the ball in the hands of Arkee Whitlock and Calvin McCarty and out of the grasp of Anthony Calvillo.

The trick is translating that game plan from the chalkboard to the turf at Commonwealth Stadium (TSN, 7:30 p.m.).

The Eskimos are fresh from compiling 140 rushing yards in a 38-33 comeback win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday and will be looking to redeem themselves after being clobbered 50-16 by the Alouettes in Montreal on July 9.

The Eskimos have struggled with the running game this season and would like to see more improvement this week. Saturday was their first 100-yard-plus rushing effort in four outings this season and just their 12th in 40 games since the start of the 2007 season.

“In order for us to be effective, we have to be able to effectively run the football,” Eskimos head coach Richie Hall said. “That opens up everything for us. It allows our offensive line to be aggressive. It takes pressure off our receivers and our quarterback and it makes the opposition have to defend the whole play book”.

Down 22-0 to the Roughriders, the tandem of Whitlock and McCarty was the unlikely catalyst of a rousing comeback. McCarty carried nine times for 76 yards and two touchdowns and Whitlock had 13 carries for 63 yards and scored the winning touchdown.

An effective ground game is a component the 2-2 Eskimos have lacked, as opposing defences have had the luxury of ignoring the run while zeroing in on quarterback Ricky Ray and his receivers.

“Offensively, it just opens everything up for you,” Ray said. “When you’re running the football well, it just keeps everybody honest. We’ve been so one-dimensional around here that defences don’t have to play the whole field.

“For our guys on the offensive line, they get to fire off and hit somebody when you run the ball. They love that. They’re cutting guys, they’re getting angles on guys, hitting them in the ear-hole. They’re not sitting there the whole game pass-blocking.”

After managing just 62 rushing yards in the loss in Montreal, Hall and offensive co-ordinator Rick Worman will again be looking to Whitlock and McCarty, who have been spelling each other off at running back.

“It helps everybody out,” McCarty said.

“It helps Ricky out. It helps the line out. It helps the receivers out. It helps everybody. When you can run the ball, it’s another dimension.”

While there have been calls by some for McCarty to get more touches, he also plays special teams. Mixing in Whitlock, then, is a product of design rather than indecision.

“Arkee has developed confidence and McCarty’s played well, too,” Worman said. “What people have to understand is McCarty is a good special teams player. We can’t use him all the time. It’s to our advantage that we have both of them back there.”

It could be a memorable game for Calvillo, who needs 34 yards to reach 60,000 in his career.

“This is a positive thing,” Calvillo said earlier this week in Montreal. “To be so close to 60,000 is going to be special. To be able to play for so many years and stay healthy, but you’ve got to be able to be on a good team. You’re not going to be able to do this by just by going out there. You need to be surrounded by great talent, no matter who you are.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Anti-restriction protest underway in central Alberta despite injunction

A large crowd has gathered in the parking lot of the Whistle… Continue reading

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read