Roster Review: Special Teams

By no means does the Eskimos special teams resemble anything like the picture above, I just thought it was funny. The Green and Gold actually have an exceptional contingent of players that form the backbone of the specialty teams that have on more than one occasion pulled the Eskimos out of the fire in close games.

What the coaches might expect.

More of the same. Dynamic returns, clutch kicking, and timely error-free plays make this part of the Eskimos team a threat whenever they take to the field. Of course the coaches need to be always vigilant for new playmakers, but for the time being, this is a position of strength for the Eskimos.

Current Roster.

Noel Prefontaine. Although originally hesitant to come to Alberta after a decade in the double blue of the Toronto Argos, Prefontaine seems to have become comfortable in the Green & Gold locker room. His two years with the Eskimos represent his second and third best seasons kicking in the CFL in terms of field goal percentage. Another season with these types of results would be exactly what the Eskimos need. He also handles the punting duties and rarely makes a bad punt. 

Derek Schiavone. Two seasons with the Eskimos on their practice roster with occasional active duty finds Schiavone waiting patiently for his chance to move into a starter’s position in the CFL. In eight career attempts, he has never missed a field goal, although his longest attempt is only 33 yards. The Eskimos have a gamer and it will be interesting to see what they do with him in his third season in the CFL.

Tristan Jackson. Maybe the most dangerous player in open space in the CFL, Jackson has found a spot on the roster just by using his incredible speed and ability to find the open seam. He only broke one punt return for a major in 2009, but he constantly gave the Eskimos offence great starting field position, which is equally as valuable. He was injured at the end of the season last year, so hopefully a fully healthy Jackson will be reporting to camp, ready to fly once again.

Taylor Inglis. Long-snapper is perhaps the most under appreciated position in football.  No one notices you until you make a mistake. Taylor Inglis is a good Canadian boy that’s all hustle, traits that he certainly learned during his time with the University of Alberta. Prior to university, Inglis attended Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, and exemplifies the school motto of “Struggle and Emerge”. When the season opens, expect number 52 to once again handle the long snapping duties with nothing short of exceptional effort.

Changes???

The only question mark regarding the Eskimos special teams is what to do with Derek Schiavone. The other three will all be back in their roles because they have demonstrated they can get the job done. Schiavone however, is an example of a prized prospect where the numbers just are not working in his favour. If another team runs into kicking trouble, someone could make a play for him.

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