TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
Columnists

Schultz: Under Jones, Eskimos will be aggressive and smart

Chris Schultz
6/9/2014 3:38:26 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

2014 marks the start of the Chris Jones era as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos and many, myself included, think they may have found the right one.

If you ask Jones what he looks for in a player, his response is "aggressiveness with intelligence that play with a ‘liitle edge.'” That is a good definition of desire but could also be a description of Jones himself. Being aggressive is always a priority for a player; there are not many situations where being passive is beneficial on the football field. Pro football is not a nice game.

In many ways and at the majority of positions you're imposing your will on another player, another athlete, and quite often the player with the strongest will and desire wins that battle. Sometimes you qualify it as mental toughness, but an aggressive mind set wins in this sport as long as it is disciplined and under control.

Speaking of mind set, it may surprise you but intelligence is as important as any aspect of performance there is. The best linebacker in CFL football just may be J.C. Sherritt, the Eskimos middle linebacker.

By no means is he physically imposing or dominant but when it comes to football smarts there are few that are his superiors.

Interesting this year in that the injury adversity Sherritt faced last year gave an opportunity for another linebacker to shine in rookie Rennie Curran. This year both could be playing side by side in Edmonton, a strength for the Eskimos as both are athletic and very bright; they do not make the same mistake twice.

The third quality of a Chris Jones player is one that plays with a little edge. Note those three words, "a little edge," are not easy to define or visualize. Is it a player who is exceptionally aggressive or intelligent? Or perhaps it is an attitude or enthusiasm. I think it is a guy who has no fear, can't be intimidated and, either subtly or overtly, does the intimidating. I don't know if you can describe it in words, but I do know coaches, especially veterans, recognize and want it.

So the Chris Jones era begins and the Mike Reilly era, still in its infancy, continues. What was interesting to watch last year was how the Eskimos fans embraced Reilly as their quarterback. Not for the beautiful touchdown passes from the perfect spiral, or the ultimate three-minute drill to lead his team to poetic victory; they embraced Reilly because of the courage he played with in each and every game.

Reilly was pummeled last year for many reasons, sometime poor pass protection, sometimes too many predictable passing situations. Add in a poor running game Reilly's penchant for taking too many risks, he's gambling with his longevity.

But what I observed is the Edmonton football faithful recognize his courageous performances and genuinely respected and responded positively to it. In a time when maximum revenue is a key priority for many, Reilly demonstrated an opposite mentality of thought; risking all for the cause in many situations.

Now he has to temper it down however and he will or he'll still be a football hero in Edmonton, just not for 18 games.

The West is pretty good this year. Winnipeg will be better, Calgary and BC have good personnel that just need to stay healthy and focused, and Saskatchewan is the defending Grey Cup champion. So where does that leave Edmonton?

They will be aggressive, they will be intelligent, and they will play with an edge. They will pressure the quarterback relentlessly and take risks one-on-one in coverage. And of course, their quarterback will continue to play with the definable quality of courage each and every game. Edmonton may just be pretty good this year.

Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Mike Richards In the Morning: Bob Mackenzie - June 25

TSN Insider joins the program to talk free agency and draft day

TSN 1050: Mike Richards in the Morning - Chris Schultz: September 13

Mike Richards in the Morning is joined by Chris Schultz to talk NFL and CFL football.

TSN 1050 Toronto: TSN Drive with Dave Naylor- John Clayton: June 20th

ESPN NFL writer John Clayton joined the program to discuss all things around the league.


More Podcasts

Follow Us!

There's a new Twitter feed that will make you a real TSN.ca insider! Follow twitter.com/TSN_Sports_Buzz to get updates on the latest blogs, best videos and more!


More about TSN on Twitter...




Golfer Taylor Pendrith is the highest ranked player on Canada's men's national team. The recent graduate of Kent State University is 18th on the world amateur rankings. More...

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Blue Lunch: July 29 - Gregg Rosenthal

Grehg Rosenthal of NFL.com joins Bryan and Bill Hayes on Blue Lunch.

TSN 1050: Blue Lunch: July 29 - Hour 1

Bryan and Bill Hayes discuss the Blue Jays, and are joined by Scott Miller MLB Columnist for Bleacher Report.

TSN 1050: Blue Lunch: July 29 - Scott Miller

National Baseball Writer Scott Miller joins Blue Lunch.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television