Five Special Teamers You Should Know

The video above shows exactly what you don’t want to happen as a member of a special teams unit because these are some of the only plays that are remembered.

So here’s a questions for all you members of the Eskimos Nation.

Quick, name a player on the Eskimos that excels on special teams besides Tristan Jackson. Kind of makes you think there for a second.

Most players that make their living in the CFL by contributing on special teams would be passed on the street without the average fan ever giving them a second look. The reality is that those players are often the deciding factor in who wins and who gets to hit the ski slopes early. Below are five players, numbers included, that you should be watching when the Eskimos specialty teams take the field this season at Commonwealth.

1. Chris Ciezki, FB, #22

Ciezki is all hustle. You have to be to lead your team in special teams tackles in consecutive seasons. A back-up fullback who rarely sees the field in offensive situations, Ciezki entered the CFL as an undrafted university free agent. He plays the game at full speed and as a result, has earned the respect and trust of the coaching staff. Watch for number 22 to continue to play a big part of the Eskimos special teams in 2010.

2. Jason Nugent, S, #13

Originally a second round draft choice in the same draft class as Adam Braidwood, Jason Nugent had a much different route to the Eskimos roster. He was traded to the Blue Bombers in 2007 before being reacquired in 2009 in exchange for Brock Ralph. Being stuck behind Scott Gordon and Elliot Richardson last year on the depth chart forced Nugent to earn his keep on special teams where he was second on the team in special teams tackles. Expect more of the same from the non-import safety in 2010 if he can’t win a starting position coming out of camp.

3. Mathieu Bertrand, FB, #30

A guy who was a university quarterback, but has never taken snaps behind center in the CFL, and is currently entering his seventh CFL campaign must love playing football. Bertrand is consistently one of the leaders in special teams tackles for the Green & Gold while also starting at fullback. He is probably the most recognized name on this list due to his longevity and contributions on offense, but his work on special teams is often overlooked. Make sure you look for number 30 on special teams this year and you will be able to appreciate the true value of Bertrand to the Eskimos.

4. Taylor Inglis, LS, #52

Taylor Inglis is probably more well know in Edmonton for being a commercial real estate broker then he is for his work as a long snapper for the Eskimos. Every game, Inglis goes out and snaps the ball backwards while looking between his legs and trying to keep opposing rushers from knocking him senseless. It’s a thankless job, but if you pay attention, you will be able to understand the talent it takes to play this position so that you don’t get noticed.

5. Andrew Nowacki, WR, #88

Laces out. An important mantra to any holder. If you handle the snap cleanly, no one ever notices your work, however, if you should somehow mishandled the ball or place it incorrectly, everyone in the nation will see your mistake on television. Nowacki probably makes his biggest contribution to the team on offense, but just ask any kicker about the importance of having a good holder. Chances are they are the only ones that really can appreciate the skill needed to execute this position.

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