Eskimos Roster Changes

 

Can the Eskimos secondary help out their rookie safety a little more than last year?

On Wednesday the Eskimos made official a couple of roster changes for their upcoming game against the Montreal Alouettes.  Most were made out of necessity due to injuries sustained in last Sunday’s loss to BC, however, there were a couple that were made, or not made, that could either help or hinder the Green & Gold in securing their first victory of the season.

Injuries

Let’s take care of the injury front first. Greg Peach (ankle) and Jason Nugent (hamstring) look like they will be out for the foreseeable future. Peach in particular will miss at least a couple of weeks which provides an opportunity for first year Eskimo Kenneth Pettway to make his CFL debut. Pettway is one of the players that aroused a lot of interest from fans when he signed with the Eskimos in the off-season due to his extensive experience in the NFL. Granted it was mostly as a practice roster player, but the defensive end from Grambling State did manage to appear in 25 games over his five years in professional football where he recorded 22 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble. Expect a little rust from Pettway as he was out of football for the 2009 season and played limited minutes in the pre-season where he recorded three tackles.

Replacing Nugent will be Saleem Borhot, the Eskimos 2010 second round draft pick. This will be Borhot’s first taste of CFL action on the defensive side of the ball as the rookie missed both pre-season games recovering from a leg injury. Everyone wants to look back to 2009, when in week 2 rookie Elliott Richardson replaced an injured Scott Gordon and the Eskimos were absolutely torched by the same quarterback they will be facing this upcoming Sunday. Let’s be clear about one thing, this is a very different defensive secondary from last year. Borhot is lining up besides some pretty talented defensive backs and you can bet that Richie Hall will be calling for coverages that will help the rookie safety adjust to the CFL game. Given the fact that the linebacking corps is also much more cohesive after a full season playing together and the situation for Borhot is much better than it was for Richardson last year. The former Saint Mary’s Huskie has good range and instincts and if he doesn’t over-think, should be fine. There is a chance that Weldon Brown could start at safety as well, but if he does that would mean some ratio tinkering for the coaches with the most likely scenario being Javier Glatt going in at linebacker.

Special Teams

Apart from the injuries, the Eskimos also activated Chris Ciezki and moved rookie long snapper Neil Puffer back to the practice roster. It’s understandable that the coaching staff wanted to be cautious with Tim St.Pierre coming back from an injury that saw him miss almost the entire training camp. The addition of Ciezki will only help out a coverage unit on special teams that actually performed quite well in the opening game of the season where they limited Lions punt returners to 6.7 yards per return. Ciezki has led the Eskimos in special teams tackles each of the past two seasons and is one of those players that is invaluable to his club but rarely noticed.

Curious???

The last roster move is actually a non-event. It appears that Jason Barnes will continue to sit and wait for his opportunity to get into the lineup as the Eskimos seem prepared to go into Sunday’s game with the same receiving lineup as last week. It’s interesting that Barnes, who was arguably the Eskimos most effective receiver in the pre-season, can’t make it into the lineup on game days. Fans can’t argue that starting Kelly Campbell was a mistake by coach Richie Hall as Campbell led all Eskimos receivers in the home opener with eight catches for 76 yards and would have had a touchdown if he wasn’t interfered with on the opening drive. That being said, a team needs to always be looking for ways to get their best players into the action and Barnes proved that he can play at a high level. It’s an intriguing situation and if the Eskimos air attack fails to take off against the Alouettes, you can bet that Barnes won’t be on the sidelines for much longer.

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