Saturday, May 16, 2009

The EskiRiders??


The more he's in Edmonton, the more it must seem like Eskimos head coach Richie Hall feels right back home in Saskatchewan.
The longtime Roughriders defensive co-ordinator was reunited with veteran defensive end Kitwana Jones in a trade late Thursday that sent Eskimos quarterback Juan Joseph to the Riders
"He's a big hitter. He's a very emotional player. He plays with one speed out on the football field. He's a team player and does whatever it takes to win," said Hall, who took over the Eskimos head coaching duties in January.
"I was talking to him (the other) night and he said, 'Coach, I'll run through a brick wall for you.'
"That's the kind of player that you want."
The move marks the third player from Hall's 2008 squad to rejoin him in Edmonton this season.
The Eskimos have already picked up middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd and defensive back Scott Gordon in free agency.
But the coach said it's just coincidence they all happen to be part of his old defence.
"I think it's always coincidence because going in, you never thought you had the opportunity to obtain these players," said Hall.
"Free agency is so fickle because the players have the final say where they want to go.
"You can always want trades, but they've got to fall in line with what everyone else is thinking.
"I think we're very fortunate to be able to get the guys we got. It's just a matter of us upgrading our football team."
In Jones, the benefit lies not only in his ability to play both linebacker and defensive end, but also in a familiarity with Hall and his systems.
"When you look at how we utilized him in the past, it's been in both situations.
"There's a certain amount of familiarity in that," said Hall.
"He's familiar with our scheme and the things we want to try to do.
"Our job is to put him in the best position to make plays and try to capitalize and to exploit his attributes and that's getting after the quarterback."
The six-foot, 232-pound Jones led the Roughriders with five sacks last year and had 55 defensive tackles and four fumble recoveries, including two for touchdowns.
On the flip side, Joseph signed with the Eskimos in March from Millsaps College, where he threw for 3,463 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions in his senior year.
The rookie pro joins Darian Durant, Steven Jyles and Dalton Bell on Saskatchewan's quarterback depth chart.
Hall said he isn't surprised the Roughriders were interested in Joseph.
"Any time that you're looking for a quarterback you try to take any good one that you can because you're trying to find that diamond in the rough," said Hall.
"Edmonton's kind of been a factory over the years as far as dishing out quarterbacks. In Saskatchewan, I remember going a number of years where we were trying to find a quarterback.
"You can never have enough young quarterbacks in this league because it's such a quarterback-driven league."

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