PREVIEW: Riders looking to tame hot Eskimos offense

Green Zone pre-game begins at 12:30 p.m. on News Talk Radio
Reported by Joel Gasson
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For the second time this year the Riders are in Edmonton taking on the Eskimos.

In their previous meeting, which came during week one of the regular season, the Riders had their way with the Eskimos winning 39-18. The 18 points put up by Edmonton was a little flattering as they added most of it late when the game was already out of reach.

Fast forward to this week and the Eskimos are 1-6, while the Riders are 6-1. When you look at that lone the expectation is for the Riders to mop the floor with Edmonton this week. However, when you look past their records you see a bit of a different story.

While the Eskimos defense is banged up right now, and has been suspect at times, their offense is starting to put it together. Last week quarterback Mike Reilly had his break out performance throwing for 511 yards and three touchdowns.

"I think the biggest thing is he's just more poised," said head coach Corey Chamblin.

In that week one game, it certainly didn't look like Reilly would be growing as fast as he has to this point, where he's thrown for over 800 yards in his last two games. The biggest change according to Chamblin is mostly mental, as the coach things Reilly might have been trying to do too much early to impress his new team and fans.

Like most good offenses, the key will come down to what kind of pressure the defense can get on Reilly. Something they did do a pretty good job of earlier in the year.

"They've been coming along since the start of the season," said defensive lineman Tearrius George. "I think it will be very important."

All of this being said, the team is pretty confident that they'll be able to make life more difficult for Reilly than it has been in recent weeks.

"Our defense is a different beast," said Durant. "And what you did against other defenses probably won't work against ours."

While Reilly has been very impressive lately, he's certainly getting some help from his friends, most notably the league's leading receiver Fred Stamps.

"At the end of the day, they have Fred Stamps," said Chamblin. "It's kind of hard to just contain Fred."

Chamblin is certainly aware of the threat the other receivers pose to his defense, like Nate Coehoorn and Cary Koch, but Stamps is the machine that makes it all work. Look for defensive back Dwight Anderson to see a lot of Stamps, perhaps even with some safety help over the top.

There's another enemy for the Green and White in Edmonton - Commonwealth Stadium. Other than their win to start the season, the Riders haven't had a lot of success in the "City of Champions" of late.

"It's definitely that plays in the back of the players minds," said George.

One way the Riders can get over it is to get off to a good start, something they haven't done much of this season. The offense in particular will want to get it going after having their worst effort of the season last week against Montreal.

The biggest thing they've been working on this week has been getting back on the same page, and building off where they were a couple of weeks ago.

"That's what this week of practice was about," said Durant. "Getting back to fundamentals, making sure we're in the right spots."

There's a few changes to the Riders line-up this week. Jock Sanders won't be returning kicks, Prince Miller, Weldon Brown and Weston Dressler are listed there on the depth chart. Eron Riley has slid in for Rob Bagg, while Scott McHenry has been taken off the nine-game injured list to add another Canadian to the roster. Brian Peters is also coming on the 46-man roster, while Sam Hurl has been added to the one game injured list.

Game time is at 2 p.m. on TSN.

The Green Zone Pre-Game show is live from the Lancaster Taphouse at 12:30 p.m. on News Talk Radio. The Post-Game show follows the final whistle.