Riders aware of Mike Reilly's progress

Eskimos quarterback has thrown for over 800 yards in the last couple of weeks
Reported by Joel Gasson
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos are set to meet for the second time this season on Saturday...but don't expect everything to be the same.

Since that week one blow out the Eskimos have slowly been getting their game together, most notably at the quarterback position.

Last week against the Toronto Argonauts, Mike Reilly nearly out duelled future hall of fame quarterback Ricky Ray in a 36-33 loss at the Rogers Centre. In that game Reilly threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns, and has over 800 yards passing in his last couple of games.

"He's a hustler," said linebacker Weldon Brown. "He's a leader also, he loves the big play, he's a guy who's going to try and keep the offense going."

That certainly didn't look like the case in week one of the regular season, but Riders head coach Corey Chamblin thinks that maybe Reilly had been trying to do a little bit too much early in the season.

"He's just more poised," said Chamblin. "You can see his maturity level and he's settling in."

Eskimos linebacker T.J. Hill joined the Green Zone on Wednesday, and definitely sees Reilly's growth over the course of the season, going up against him every day in practice.

"From training camp until about a month ago, you can see the drastic improvement," he said. "You can see the confidence that he has now. It showcases in the game right now."

Hill adds that Reilly not only has confidence in himself now, but all of the players around him too. Hill credits Reilly for getting to where he is today because of how hard he works every day on the field, at the gym and in the film room.

"He's a true professional," he said.

Under Reilly the Eskimos have one of the more potent offenses in the league, if you can believe it. An offense that definitely loves the big play as well.

So how do they keep everything under wraps?

"We keep our eyes right, and our techniques right," said safety Tyron Brackenridge. "Just continue what we have been doing in the past."

Riders pivot Darian Durant definitely sees some growth for Reilly over the course of the season as well, but he thinks Reilly is in for something completely different this week.

"Our defense is a different beast," he said. "What you did against other teams probably won't work against our defense."

Reilly will certainly have some weapons to work with as well, most notably receiver Fred Stamps, who Chamblin called the key to their entire offense. Chamblin also hinted that there would likely be a lot of defensive back Dwight Anderson on him, much like there was against other top receivers lately.

News and notes

- Diamond Ferri returned to practice on Thursday, as did Chris Best.

- Jock Sanders did not practice, and he might not even play against Edmonton. Chamblin expects kick return duties to be performed by committee.

- Sam Hurl and Eddie Russ were both out once again.

- Chamblin didn't shed much light on which receiver will make their way into the line up. Scott McHenry did tell the Green Zone's Jamie Nye after practice that he is being taken off the nine-game injured list. Kierre Johnson, Jordan Sisco and Eron Riley were all wearing game helmets as well, something usual for starters on day three of practice.