Harris missing out following up on record-setting performance against Ticats
If ever there was a game Trevor Harris wouldn’t want to have to sit out, it’s this one.
The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback will be sidelined during Friday’s game against the East Division-leading Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED) by an injury to his throwing hand.
It would have been his first time facing the Tabbies since setting Canadian Football League records in playoff touchdown passes and playoff completion percentage against them as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks in last year’s East Division final.
In fact, Harris threw twice as many touchdown passes in the game as he had fall incomplete, passing for 367 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns while going 29 for 32.
“Oh, man. Last year in Ottawa? Yeah, I think Trevor threw for a record-setting six touchdowns, maybe it was,” said Eskimos receiver Greg Ellingson, a fellow former Redblacks player who caught all eight passes sent his way in that one for a game-high 144 yards and a touchdown. “That’s playoff football, that’s what happens after Labour Day. Things get a little more intense, teams are ready to go. So we’re trying to get these wins up and try to battle for this West position.
And if Ellingson is still able to have another game like his last one against Hamilton with Harris out, the receiver will be closing in on the 152 more yards he needs to reach the 1,000-yard mark for a fifth straight season.
Not that Ellingson is expecting any carryover from that game.
“This is a different team, this is a different year,” he said. “Hamilton’s a good football team, we’re just game planning against them, making sure we’re ready to go.
“We’ve got to bounce back from the losses we’ve had now coming off of the bye week.”
The 2019 CFL season will go down as the year of the backup quarterback.
That’s because eight of the nine starters to open the season will have gone down at one point or another, with Edmonton Eskimos pivot Trevor Harris joining the group when he is sidelined by an injury to his throwing arm Friday.
And, somehow, the only QB1 still standing is B.C. Lions’ Mike Reilly, who has the dubious distinction of having been sacked the most times this year.
“I think anybody that’s in the professional sports business, if they could remove one thing it would definitely be injuries,” said Harris’s replacement, Logan Kilgore. “Unfortunately, that’s just part of the game. You have multiple guys at multiple positions for a reason, and it just so happens if the boundary half twists his ankle and somebody comes in for him, it’s not a big story.
“It’s just kind of rotating and stuff like that, so it comes with the (quarterback) territory and I just view it like we’ve got a lot of good talent around us, a really good Hamilton team coming in and we’ve got to play well.”
At 9-3, it’s certainly a good Hamilton team, yes, but not one that’s been without its own injuries at quarterback.
Starter Jeremiah Masoli has missed the last six games with a blown ACL, making way for Dane Evans to lead them to a 4-2 record in his stead.
“It’s crazy, huh?” Evans said of the quarterback health conundrum that is happening, despite professional leagues cranking up rules protecting pivots. “I don’t know that there’s a scientific reason or anything for it, it’s just one of those years it happens. You will usually see it happen to a team or maybe two teams a year, but eight out of nine? That’s crazy.
“And it’s all something different in every instance. So I don’t think there’s anything behind it, it’s just one of those weird things.”
GOTTA START SOMEWHERE
At the same time, one man’s tragedy is another’s opportunity.
“If you look at anybody that’s been good in this league, at some point they came in for somebody,” Kilgore said. “Even in the NFL, you get an opportunity and then that’s what happens.
“So in this case, obviously I just want to help get our team to a win and help Trev any way that I can moving forward.”
In and out: Harris isn’t the only change the Eskimos are making this week. While the first-string QB has been added to the one-game injured list, they have gotten LT Tommie Draheim and DB Forrest Hightower back in off of it. And third-overall draft pick, DE Mathieu Betts is in the lineup after signing over the bye week, while recently inked DT Stefan Charles remains on the practice squad. To make room for the additions, the Eskimos have placed DB Tyquwan Glass, LB Jonathan Walton and OL Kwabena Asare on the PR, while DE Jesse Joseph has been placed on the six-game IL.
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge