CFL - Joseph to start Eskimos season finale, despite Nichols heroics
By Rob Soria
With their season on the line, Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed surprised many by announcing Kerry Joseph his starter for their Friday night season finale against the Calgary Stampeders. Surprising indeed, especially considering the relief performance by Matt Nichols on Sunday afternoon.
Edmonton - October 29, 2012 - With the Calgary Stampeders next on the schedule and the Edmonton Eskimos staring at a must-win situation come Friday night, head coach Kavis Reed surprised many by announcing Kerry Joseph his starter for the season finale, only moments after dropping a heartbreaking 27-25 decision to the Montreal Alouettes.
This coming on the heels of Matt Nichols eye-popping fourth quarter performance and a second consecutive brutal outing from the Esks veteran QB.
At first look, one would have to seriously question Reed's thought process with a) naming Joseph his starter and b) naming anyone a starter only minutes after losing to the Alouettes. Having said that, the fact the Esks head man feels more comfortable going with the vet, in a must-win situation, is completely understandable.
While Nichols looked outstanding during his time at the helm in yesterday's loss, he accomplished what he did in garbage time, against a Montreal side that were simply waiting for the clock to run out. That being the case, the stats do not lie. Nine for thirteen, 230 yards and three touchdown passes. That's a pretty impressive game...nevermind a quarter.
The one thing Nichols has brought to the table, that neither Kerry Joseph or Steven Jyles have shown the ability to do, is energy and emotion to the Green and Gold offence. Both Joseph and Jyles have had decent runs this season but we have yet to hear a single teammate say how they have energized the offence...which is something that has repeatedly been said about the Eastern Washington standout, in his limited duty.
For the second time this season, Eskimos star receiver Fred Stamps had nothing but glowing remarks about the rookie quarterback and seems to fully believe in what his young man is capable of. "That's the type of guy Matt Nichols is. Be it at practice or whenever he gets into the huddle, he brings a spark and a lot of energy, whenever he gets into a game", said Stamps. "He always tells us to just get open because he's not afraid to make plays. I have nothing but good things to say about Matt because he's a play maker".
Sounds like a guy that enjoys the fact Nichols repeatedly looks his way at crunch time, including two touchdowns in yesterday's fourth quarter comeback. The kid can flat out play and he wants to be that difference maker. Something this team is in desperate need of. Being that as it may, would giving him the starting nod, in a win or go home scenario, put too much on his shoulders? Perhaps it would and is it really a risk worth taking?
Personally, I was never on board with having Joseph lead the charge down the stretch but that was the call Reed decided to make. With that being the case, it should surprise no one that he plans to go with experience come Friday night.
With Matt Nichols proving he is more than capable of running this offence, you can bet Kerry Joseph will be on a very short leash against the Stampeders but perhaps, more importantly, it will allow the Eskimos #16 a chance to come in and play the role of hero...without having to sit and think about it all week long.
Maybe this was Kavis Reed's plan all along. Somehow I doubt it but it just might end up being the perfect situation for both the club and their young quarterback.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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