roll top timberland boots Eskimos QB Mike Reilly says all signs point to career season for him with the team
EDMONTONWhen we last left Mike Reilly, he heroically tried to win the CFL Western final playing on a broken foot that was even far more damaged than he believed.
Thursday Reilly took a drive out to the Edmonton Eskimos training camp complex in Spruce Grove with receivers Adarius Bowman, Nate Coehoorn and Cory Watson to have a look around the facility, hotel, etc. and give everything one last test drive on the field running a few routes before camp.
But that where he pulled back the reigns and when loose talk about winning the Grey Cup should be done quietly and in small groups, he said, until prove they can win a game against the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders.
Reilly is the most important football player on the team and without question the spokesman for the group.
With the team headed to medicals Saturday and the start of two a days at training camp Sunday, he definitely the go to guy for the 67th season of Eskimos football.
It took most of the off season to get to this point, but now that he there, Reilly says it great, because he going to a training camp with the same coach, the same offence, the same playbook and all the arrows pointed up.
a breath of fresh air not to be starting over from scratch. That a big benefit compared to what we had to deal with the last couple of years. again, there are all these new rules.
Mikey likes the one where defensive backs are not allowed to have contact with receivers after the pass catcher is five yards down field.
think it a great rule change. In the past, if you were dropping back and going through your progression and your wide receiver was in a position where he was going to be able to pull away but you knew the defender was grabbing a little bit of cloth, it was a dangerous decision to make a throw. Now contact down the field is apparently an automatic penalty. So you can throw that pass. figures the rule favours him.
think it remains to be seen how it going to affect different quarterbacks and their style of play. I sure hope it does.
thing, when I get out of the pocket and extend the play, all those receivers are already further downfield than five yards. And it sure helps that I have a big, strong, fast guy like Adarius Bowman. He difficult to cover as it is, he said of last season league leading receiver with 112 receptions and 1,456 yards, 26 catches and almost a full 400 yards more than the runners up.
you can contact him after five yards,
he should present a much bigger problem. there coach Chris Jones, who lives for situations like this.
guarantee that he analyzed every new rule and thought about every single way it can be of an advantage to our team. If I know coach Jones like I do and everybody else knows Chris Jones, he spent the off season figuring out how to make these new rules work for us. your correspondent suggested to Reilly that he hasn had his career year yet, he laughed.
certainly hope not, he said.
It wasn meant as criticism but to suggest with an allegedly much improved receiving core, the new rules, the stability around him and his renewed health and the date on his birth certificate, the timing is about right to have his career year.
Two years ago, in his first year in Edmonton, Reilly completed 305 of 512 passes for 4,207 and 59.6%. He ended the season with an 86.9 quarterback efficiency rating. Last year his completions, attempts and yardage went down (288 of 446 for 3,327) due to injury but his percentage (64.6%) went up, as did his efficiency rating.
He hasn put up Ricky Ray numbers but his leadership and winning percentage last year were such that he made people stop talking about Ricky Ray.
do believe this year I should play the best football I played as a pro. I certainly expect this year to be the best year that I had.
one big stat, the one I want to be graded on, the one I care about, is the wins. Certainly last year, we improved tremendously. But there still a ton of room for improvement for everybody on our team but especially for myself.
biggest thing is to come in and realize what your shortcomings are and try to get better at those, and improve and continue to be good at the things you do well. With me having another year grasping this offence and another year where this coaching staff is able to evaluate how to make this offence work the best that it can work with me playing quarterback for it, I think we going to continue to get better and this year should be an improvement over last year, added Reilly.
I look at the team and see the consistency with our coaching staff, we have that core group of guys that were here last year that have learned how to win to a certain extent but also learned that we have to get over the hump.
have to be able to beat Calgary, yes. Attention all new Eskimos,
Edmonton lost all four games to Calgary last year and now have a 12 game losing streak going against the Stampeders.
think it a good time for us because we had some success so we know what that like but we also haven had enough where we were content.
extremely hungry. We know that we have a team that capable of winning the Grey Cup but we also know that there a lot of work to be done to get to that point.