It’s been a positive start for the new-look Edmonton Eskimos, who recorded wins in the first two weeks over the Montreal Alouettes and the B.C. Lions at home.
Now the Eskimos will play their first road game of the season Thursday night when they visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from IG Field.
The Eskimos are off to their first 2-0 start since the 2017 season and face a Bombers squad coming off its first win two weeks ago in Vancouver with a 33-23 victory over the Lions.
The Bombers are coming off a bye week and will have their home opener on Thursday.
Edmonton receiver Greg Ellingson says the Bombers will be a good test in the young season.
“Winnipeg is a tough place to play,” he said. “The crowd’s loud and they’re disciplined on defence and offence.
“If you have any turnovers and don’t take care of the football, they are going to make you pay. That’s the one thing we are focusing on in practice is making sure we take care of the ball on offence. On defence, try and rip the ball out and try to get the turnover margin in our favour.”
Last week, Ellingson had a stellar performance in the Eskimos’ 39-23 win over the Lions, recording nine catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Watch below (June 21): Mike Reilly is back in Edmonton to face the Eskimos as a member of the B.C. Lions.
Quarterback Trevor Harris passed for 294 yards and threw for three touchdown passes, giving him six touchdown passes in the first two games of the season.
Running back C.J. Gable recorded a career-high third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, dating back to last season, putting up 123 yards on 23 carries.
The defense sacked Lions quarterback Mike Reilly seven times with defensive end Nick Usher and defensive tackle Mike Moore recording two sacks each.
The Eskimos have not been disciplined in their first two games, recording a CFL high 283 yards in penalties over the first two games.
The Eskimos will need to be aware of the Bombers’ ability to force turnovers as well. Over the past three seasons the Bombers have been the best team in the CFL at turning the football over, recording a plus-56 turnover ratio. The Bombers have a 5-0 record coming off the bye week over the last two seasons.
LISTEN: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas talks about the commitment to a balanced attack on offence.
The Eskimos will make two changes to their starting lineup.
First, Canadian Jordan Hoover will start at safety, while American Travis Bond will start at left guard.
Jacob Ruby started the first two games of the season at left guard has been placed on the one-game injured list. Canadian defensive tackle Mark Mackie moves from the practice roster to the 46-man roster. Linebacker Jonathon Walton comes off the practice roster to the 46 for linebacker Korey Jones, who was released this week.
Defensive back Nick Taylor moves from the 46 to the practice roster. Linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox has been moved to the six-game injured list.
The following is the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos:
Quarterback: Trevor Harris
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Tommie Draheim-Travis Bond-David Beard-Matt O’Donnell-Colin Kelly
Receivers: Kenny Stafford-Ricky Collins Jr.-Natey Adjei-Greg Ellingson-Tevaun Smith
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng-Almondo Sewell-Mike Moore-Nick Usher
Linebackers: Vontae Diggs-Larry Dean-Brian Walker
Defensive Backs: Josh Johnson-Tyquwan Glass-Jordan Hoover-Forrest Highttower-Godfrey Onyeka
You can catch Thursday night’s game between the Eskimos and Bombers on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 5 p.m. The opening kick-off from IG Field is at 6:30 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott.