Do the numbers really matter anymore?

Apologies for the lack of posts these past couple of days. A major family event conflicted with my ability to get on a computer and write about the 0-4 Esks, although to be honest, talking about a team with so much talent that can’t put it all together is also getting a little tiresome. As I dissected the numbers from Saturday’s loss, a though came to mind that maybe the stats don’t really mean that much in the end, aside of course from that ever noticeable “0” in the win column. Great individual numbers, and even solid performance by segments of the team are not enough to win football games. That being said, there are certainly some deficiencies being exposed by the stats and it gives fans  something to watch for in the coming weeks. If the Esks can adjust and improve, the chances of success improve. If we see more of the same, then you have to wonder how long it will take Danny Maciocia to start making some “sit up and take notice” moves.

Even if the effort is not there by many of the players, there are still a few numbers that stand out and make one question if the Esks are really that far off from being a contending team.

1. Defensive passing stats

A weak spot on last year’s team, the Eskimos pass defense is actually competing with the top teams in the league in quite a few of the defensive passing stats. The team is second in the league averaging only 240 yards against through the air. Compare that to 3-1 Montreal Alouettes who are giving up 336 yards per game though the air and you have to wonder if limiting opposing offenses in the passing game is actually worth the effort. Consider that Montreal only has one more interception than the Esks, and the differences suggest that it should be Edmonton that is 3-1 instead of the other way around.

2. Top flight receivers

Fred Stamps leads the league in receiving yards at 421 while Kelly Campbell is third with another 366 yards in the air. The next best pair is Winnipeg’s combination of Terrence Edwards and Terence Jeffers-Harris  who rank second and sixth respectively. The one distinction is that the duo of Stamps and Campbell have combined for only one touchdown in four games. Not so stellar numbers, but you can’t argue with their production to date.

3. Efficient quarterback play

Ricky Ray has a 66.7% completion percentage and has thrown for 1,090 yards, good for third in the league. Despite the outcry by fans for either Jason Maas or Jared Zabransky, Ray is actually doing a pretty decent job when you look at the basic stats.

Positive Spin

Okay, so there are ways to spin any story in a positive light, but fans cannot deny the talent on the Eskimos. The time, however, has come for the players to, in the legendary words of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, “just win baby, just win”. No one really cares about the stats after a win. There are no pictures in the win column. Dirty or impressively, the Esks just need to win. 

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