Kavis Reed needs to cut young Eskimos some slack | Football | CBC Sports

CFLKavis Reed needs to cut young Eskimos some slack

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | 11:25 AM

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Running back Hugh Charles and the Eskimos have scored a CFL-low 51 points in their first three games of the season. (Aaron Lynett/Canadian Press) Running back Hugh Charles and the Eskimos have scored a CFL-low 51 points in their first three games of the season. (Aaron Lynett/Canadian Press)

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Am I the only one who found the emotional post-game rant by Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed about his team's penalties last week strange and potentially unnecessary?
Am I the only one who found the emotional post-game rant by Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed about his team's penalties after their home loss to the B.C. Lions last week strange and potentially unnecessary?

I guess not, because the video has gone viral on YouTube.

Yes, Edmonton is the most penalized team in the CFL after three weeks, and is averaging more than 100 yards in penalties per game. But, coming into the season, everyone expected the 2013 Eskimos to be something of a work in progress.

While responding to a question about his team's poor discipline, Reed struggled to control his emotions and, with his levels of anger and frustration rising, said "I'm going to look at every penalty. If there are repeat offenders, the measures will be severe. There has to be consequences now... there has to be consequences."

Reed has always been an excitable guy on the sidelines and worn his emotions on his sleeve, but he may have wanted to adhere to the good old 24-hour rule in this circumstance. He may wish that he'd kept his comments to himself until he had an opportunity to calm down and watch the game film.

The only comment he made that I agreed with is that Edmonton is simply not good enough yet to win when their defence takes untimely penalties that extend its opponents' drives, and when their offence gets whistled for infractions that take away the precious field position required to give their young players an opportunity to score points.

But saying that selfish, undisciplined repeat offenders deserve to be benched? I don't think so.

Aggressiveness must remain

For the past two weeks, Edmonton has played in monsoon-like weather, so you could expect those games to get a little sloppy.

The game against the Lions did get a little chippy, but I thought that Edmonton's defence played a solid, physical game against B.C., and the Eskimos could have won if it weren't for a few bounces of the ball and untimely penalties that simply didn't go their way.

That's why Reed's rant seemed so out of place to me.

Just to be sure, I went back and reviewed the Eskimos' last two games to see if there were any obvious "repeat offenders" as Reed had suggested.

You can anticipate that rush end Odell Willis is going to go offside at least a few times every game, and the major foul whistled on running back Calvin McCarty last week was simply a weak call, in my opinion. There were a few illegal-contact calls in the Hamilton game a week earlier that were simply good, physical plays by the Edmonton defensive backs, and the roughing-the-kicker call on Brandon Lang was simply bad judgement by a young, aggressive player.

I really couldn't pin down one player who stood out as being obviously undisciplined and selfish in his play, like "The Rant" would have suggested.

What I did see, however, was a group of young football players who were working hard and trying to make plays. The last thing Reed should be doing at this stage of the season is make his players second-guess themselves and potentially compromise their aggressiveness on the field.

Do these young players need to play smarter and understand that there is a time and a place to gamble in a game? Yes. But with some continued solid play defensively, Edmonton could be a .500 team heading into the second half of the season.

Better effort needed from Willis

At this stage in the year, the Eskimos are simply not good enough to fall behind in games because the only offensive threat they have right now, while Fred Stamps is sidelined with an injury, is Hugh Charles. Until someone else steps up offensively it will be difficult for quarterback Mike Reilly to consistently move the football and put points on the board.

The only frustration I've felt while watching this team is the on-again, off-again play of Odell Willis. He has one of the quickest first steps in the CFL and, when he wants to, can disrupt the timing of the play on every down.

But Willis must get paid by the step because, after five hard strides to pressure the quarterback, he often gives up on the play and starts into his "Willis trot."

For Edmonton to have any success in the first half of the season, their defence is going to need to continue to carry them. A more consistent effort from Willis would go a long way in helping out.

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