Injuries haven’t been kind to the Edmonton Eskimos so far this season and not much is changing on that front.
The good news is the Eskimos will also have some injured players back in their lineup on Friday night as they host the Ottawa Redblacks on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
On offence, receiver Greg Ellingson returns after missing last week’s game against the Calgary Stampeders. DaVaris Daniels returns as well after missing the last two games.
On defence, defensive back Anthony Orange and linebacker Don Unamba make their return to the lineup after missing the last six games because of injury. Orange says he feels he will be able to step right in and contribute.
“It’s not difficult, we have a lot of guys that are ready to play,” Orange said. “You know, the defence is pretty much the same, they haven’t really changed much so getting back in you have to get used to the communication with your teammates and get back on the field.”
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Campbell joins the 630 CHED Afternoon News with a preview of Friday night’s game
The Eskimos didn’t really miss a beat during Orange’s and Unamba’s absence, as the defence leads the CFL in average points allowed per game with 18 and average yards allowed per game at 232 yards. Unamba says injuries are bound to happen during a season and it’s good to have depth.
“It’s a long season and things happen like that. Now we know that if guys go down we have other guys that can fill in and at different positions too,” Unamba said. “It’s working out in a long season like we got.”
Four players have been added to the Eskimos six-game injured list. Punter Hugh O’Neill, kick-returner Martese Jackson, and receiver Shai Ross were all hurt in the Eskimos 24-18 loss to the Calgary Stampeders last week. Fullback Calvin McCarty suffered an apparent lower-body injury during practice on Wednesday.
Watch below: Eskimos coach Jason Maas is making a number of roster changes for the team’s game against Ottawa on Friday night. John Sexsmith explains.
To help, the Eskimos return game they traded for returner Christion Jones from the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Monday in exchange for receiver Kenny Stafford.
Jones will play on Friday for the Eskimos, he has a career 13.4 yard average on punt returns and 23 yards on kick-off returns, he’s scored three punt return touchdowns. Sean Whyte will handle all three kicking duties.
Other changes see running Shaq Cooper, linebacker Jonathon Walton, defensive backs Scott Hutter and Bryce Bartlett, receiver Harry McMaster, and offensive lineman Kwabena Asare added to the active roster.
Receiver Kevin Elliott, linebacker Brian Walker, and defensive back Tyquwan Glass have moved to the practice roster. Running back Alex Taylor has been moved to the one-game injured list. Defensive back Nick Taylor was released on Thursday.
LISTEN: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas says he’s looking forward to watching returner Christion Jones make his Eskimos debut on Friday.
The following is the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos:
Quarterback: Trevor Harris
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Tanner Green)
Offensive Line: Tommie Draheim-Jacob Ruby-David Beard-Travis Bond-Colin Kelly
Receivers: DaVaris Daniels-Ricky Collins Jr.-Natey Adjei-Greg Ellingson-Tevaun Smith
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng-Almondo Sewell-Mike Moore-Nick Usher
Linebackers: Vontae Diggs-Larry Dean-Don Unamba
Defensive Backs: Anthony Orange-Money Hunter-Jordan Hoover-Josh Johnson-Arjen Colquhoun
The Ottawa Redblacks broke a four-game losing streak last week in Montreal with a 30-27 win over the Alouettes to improve to 3-4 on the season.
Kick-returner Devonte Dedmon stole the show as he returned two kick-offs for touchdowns and recorded 382 combined return yards which set a Redblacks record and is the second-best mark in CFL history.
Dedmon’s 382 yards bested the Redblacks offence who only produced 241 yards during the game.
LISTEN: Ottawa Redblacks kick-returner Devonte Dedmon talks about setting a Redblacks record last week with a 382 combined return yard performance against the Montreal Alouettes.
The Eskimos come in to Friday’s game with a 4-3 record and two points behind the Calgary Stampeders for second place in the Western Division and four points back of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for first place.
How to listen to the game
You can hear Friday’s game between the Eskimos and Redblacks on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 6 p.m.
The opening kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 8 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott.
Brenden Escott will be reporting from the Eskimos sidelines.