Over the last two weeks, there has been a clear power shift in the Canadian Football League. After a wonderful start by the Edmonton Eskimos (seven straight wins to start 2017), they have clearly dropped back to the rest of the pack and injuries have taken its toll.
The Eskimos have been beaten handily by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders. One could argue that all three of the aforementioned teams are better than Edmonton at this moment of the season.
However, as I was writing the previous paragraph, the Eskimos got some significant help that might assist them in returning to their winning ways. On Wednesday, the Eskimos announced the return of Derell Walker, who was released this past weekend by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Walker had a great season for Edmonton a year ago as he caught 109 passes for 1589 yards and 10 touchdowns. It was the second straight year with the Eskimos that Walker reached 1000 yards in receiving as he had 1110 yards from 89 receptions in winning the CFL Rookie of the Year and Grey Cup in 2015.
The addition of Walker could give the Eskimos the necessary jolt that they desperately need. Brandon Zylstra has been very productive in catching footballs from Mike Reilly this year and on Labour Day the Eskimos got their star receiver Adarius Bowman finally back after being on the six game injury reserve list with a hamstring injury.
During the three game skid, it is clear that the Eskimos are lacking confidence—something the Stampeders, Blue Bombers and Roughriders clearly have at the present time. This past weekend, the Roughriders showed they could definitely be a Grey Cup contender in 2018. Chris Jones’s plan is working on defense and offense and Rider Nation has to be loving the fact that Kevin Glenn has three very formidable receivers to throw the football to at the present time in Bakari Grant, Naaman Roosevelt and Duron Carter.
The second half of the CFL season is going to get very interesting, as all five teams in the West try to stay out of the basement currently occupied by the B.C. Lions.