Cory Boyd should make debut this Friday for Edmonton Eskimos
By Alanna Lemke
There are a few things that are absolutely certain about Cory Boyd. Firstly, he’s the league’s leading rusher with 447 yards over the first third of the season. Secondly, he’s found pay dirt four times this year, which ties him for third on that list. And to cap it all off, he’s bringing that talent to the Edmonton Eskimos.
I must admit that once I pulled my jaw off the floor I couldn’t imagine Boyd coming this far west, but over the last few days it’s been making more and more sense. With both Mathieu Bertrand and Pascal Fils out with long-term injuries, the depth chart has been a little short behind Hugh Charles and Calvin McCarty. Boyd, at worst, is the answer to that problem. At best, he’ll likely share duties with Charles and create a truly lethal one-two punch out of the Edmonton Eskimos backfield.
Of course, there’s always the theory that Boyd may take on the role as a returner, and keep Joe Burnett from burning out midway through this year. Boyd is a proven runner – fast, straight ahead, and hard hitting – and I am looking forward to seeing his talent put to work in a multitude of ways over the next twelve weeks.
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He’ll be looking to fit into an offense that finally looks like the Eskimos we’ve been waiting for. Twenty-eight points against the Roughriders certainly helped to put to rest any lingering concerns about the green and gold’s ability to produce. Fred Stamps is back atop the Edmonton Eskimos receiving yards list at 283, Hugh Charles is sitting pretty at fifth in overall rushing yards at 400, and Steven Jyles has the time he needs to make plays. They’re looking cohesive and clicked and I’m glad the puzzle has come together in time.
My favorite part about this Edmonton Eskimos team, from day one, has been the defense. Seamless depth and huge front four pressure has gone a long way in the Green and Gold success so far. They are the only squad to have less than 100 points against over the first third of this season, which shows a good grasp on the ‘bend don’t break’ philosophy. JC Sherritt has taken Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time already, and rightly so, leading the league with 48 tackles. He’s on pace for around 144, which would smash the single-season record of 129.
I want to take a minute and talk about Ted Laurent, who has seemingly come out of nowhere and has a sack in each of the last five games played. That’s a total of five and has him tied for second on the sack leaderboard. He’s emerging as a true defensive rallying point and I love the clear emotion and joy he shows on every successful play.
The Als are currently sitting at 3-3, in a three way tie for first place in the east. Yes, you read that correctly – they are a .500 team a third of the way into the season. These are not the Alouettes that we are used to seeing from years past. Sure, there are a lot of big numbers floating around, with Calvillo sitting atop the passing list with 2001 yards and 13 touchdown passes.
However, opposing defences have also managed to snag four interceptions from the Als this far. They’re looking a lot like the hot-and-cold Ti-Cats of last year, having lost three games by a combined 46 points, and won by only 22 combined points in the other three games. For the first time in a long time, I don’t know what to expect out of Montreal.
What is for sure is that the team’s leading rusher, Brandon Whittaker, will be sidelined this week with a rib injury, making way for Victor Anderson, a real unknown quantity right now. He’s been sitting on the sidelines behind Whittaker for a little while now, so I’m interested to see just how much he’s actually been able to absorb.
Of course, the Als have not really ever been a rush-first offence, not with Calvillo at the helm. SJ Green and Jamel Richardson will always be formidable, dependable targets, but this year’s breakout Alouette has to be Brandon London. Despite sitting third on the Als’ reception yardage list, London has spent six weeks proving that he is at the calibre needed for an Als receiver. With 381 yards and two touchdown grabs on only 21 catches, he’s a third very frightening deep threat.
The Edmonton Eskimos secondary needs to remember to give all three the respect and coverage they deserve, or they’ll burn holes right through to the end zone. However, I have complete confidence in Burnett, TJ Hill and the rest of the defensive backfield to be able to contain the downfield threat and force Calvillo to pull away from the long bomb.
It’s another home game for the Edmonton Eskimos, and another noisy crowd to feed off of. Sitting at 4-2, in a first place tie with BC, I know the opportunity to pull ahead and claim sole possession of that spot is huge. The reign of the ‘Beast of the East’ began its fall last season, and it will continue to spiral downward with another road loss this Friday night.
Go Eskies, let’s make it 5-2.