Jason Maas’ decision-making under fire again after Esks loss

Once again, Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Maas has made a questionable call in the dying moments of the fourth quarter and it proved costly.

Trailing by a field goal with 2:19 to go and facing a third and eight, Maas called Hugh O’Neill out to punt, taking the ball out of the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Player Mike Reilly’s hands, and handing it to James Wilder Jr., who scorched the Eskimos defence all game and set a season high in yards (120), and added his first touchdown of the campaign. Oh, Edmonton didn’t have any timeouts left either. Their final one was burned earlier in the fourth after Maas incorrectly challenged an S.J. Green catch, saying he was not down by contact. Spoiler: he was.

When you saw Edmonton’s punt team march out onto the field, it was hard not to recall the last time Maas opted for conservatism, only to get burned: last year’s West Final against the Calgary Stampeders. Down seven, Maas opted for 20-yard field goal while facing third and four inside the game’s final two minutes. The Stamps ran the clock out and the Eskimos didn’t get the ball back. Here we are again, albeit on a smaller stage, his call in Toronto this year begs the question: Will he make the same call again down the line?

Beyond the questionable calls, it was another dreadful start by the Eskimos, which has quickly become a staple in the young CFL season. Before you could say, “Toronto is the best and only city in Canada,” the Eskimos were down 12-0 after giving up an opening drive touchdown and a C.J Gable fumble that was flipped into six points. Reilly had his work cut out for him early, much like he has all season. Last week, Edmonton erased a 14-2 deficit in a dreadful first half to score 28 unanswered points to take down the B.C. Lions. In Week 2 against Hamilton, they trailed 24-8 in the first half (we won’t talk about the marathon Week 1 win, an anomaly in all sense of the word.)

Going into the game, the narrative was Reilly battling James Franklin, his former protégé and backup for the last three seasons. Franklin put up an admirable performance in his first start, putting up over 200 yards and a touchdown, the interception by Maurice McKnight the lone blemish. The QB had an extra week of preparation thanks to a well-timed bye in Week 3.

The Argonauts failed to register a point from 8:51 in the first quarter until a 12 play, seven minute drive ended in a Declan Cross major with 3:12 to go in the fourth put them in front for good.

To be fair, the Argonauts remaining scoreless had more to do with the Eskimos offence being on the field more than their defence shutting Franklin and company down. Reilly tossed for almost 400 yards, and did everything but score, save a Derel Walker touchdown in the third quarter, which was their first- and only – major of the game.

Edmonton only had a pair of two and outs, both coming in the final quarter. Three times they had drives of 10 or more plays but couldn’t convert any of them into major scores: two ended in field goals and one ended in an interception, after Walker slipped in the end zone and Ronnie Yell got the pick. It was the ultimate “bend, but don’t break” showing for the Argonauts defence.

Penalties proved costly again for the Esks, including a holding infraction in the second committed by fullback Alexandre Dupuis. Gable had scored a touchdown on the play, but it was called back. Edmonton took six penalties in the first half alone.

Noteworthy Performances

Proving once more you should take him in CFL Fantasy every week, Duke Williams had himself a game.

His 125 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown highlighted the Esks receiving core. It was quite an encore performance by the 25 year old after snagging 129 yards and a score last week. He has quickly transformed into Reilly’s favourite target.

London, Ontario native Mark Mackie made his debut in the evening tilt, replacing the injured Kwaku Boateng. The McMaster alumni recorded his first career sack in the third quarter, the only time either team got to the quarterbacks.

J.C Sherrit led Edmonton in tackles with eight, including a third and inches stuff of Franklin in the second quarter that gave Edmonton the ball back in excellent field position.

Air Horn Guy made some noise (ba da tis) on CFL Twitter, enraging viewers.

Will he reappear in Edmonton next week when these clubs finish off a home and home? Unlikely but for the Eskimos, it might be the only thing more painful than this loss.

Grant Deme

Grant Deme

Grant grew up in Ottawa as a lifelong CFL fan, currently resides in St. Paul, Alberta and writes about the Edmonton Eskimos. Don't let the baby face fool you.
Grant Deme
Grant Deme
About Grant Deme (6 Articles)
Grant grew up in Ottawa as a lifelong CFL fan, currently resides in St. Paul, Alberta and writes about the Edmonton Eskimos. Don't let the baby face fool you.

34 Comments on Jason Maas’ decision-making under fire again after Esks loss

  1. Doug Mc Clintock // July 8, 2018 at 7:40 pm //

    I am an Argo fan and watched the whole game. Toronto can play football and lose big or play a very tight game, look simply terrible and then play very well. This is why I like them – they can be outplayed for most of the game but still manage to win ! Canadian football is a great game to watch especially when you have the Argo bounce !

    • 3rd & 1 // July 9, 2018 at 10:29 am //

      I decided to chime in here right near the top. You know before it’s gets into all the ridiculous name calling and team bashing. Which honestly is tiring and quite frankly has become repetitively boring.
      What Im wondering is who the Author of this article. Yes his name seems to be Grant Deme. His picture looks to be that of a 13 to 14 year old very young man.
      Did anybody else pick up on this??

      • 3rd & Zero: Google is your friend. He’s a news and sports reporter at the St Paul Journal. Check his twitter feed where his banner addresses your concern about his age. @grantdemespj

        Back to actual story – Maas needs to remember that Reilly is a better QB than he was and let him have the ball versus giving it to the Argos to kill the clock.

        • 3rd & 1 // July 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm //

          Just as I stated above Greg. Name calling? Whats with that? Did I honestly insult you by asking a question? Every other time an author has a story you click on his handle and you get the info. It wasnt happening here and I didnt have time to Google anything.
          Man people just have to chill out

  2. Pennyrocker // July 8, 2018 at 8:01 pm //

    What a bunch of whiners in Edmonton they need to be taught a good lesson in sportsmanship. You let Franklin go to Argos now eat humble pie.

    • Only one whining is you, over the fact that Franklin went to the Argos, and the Sliders are left with a “has been” and a “never was”

      • Pennyrocker // July 8, 2018 at 10:21 pm //

        Why settle for zFranklin when Riders will get Reilly next year

        • NEWS FLASH: Hearvy will bring Rielly to the Lions. Hearvy traded for Reilly when he was the Eskimos GM. Also, Reilly and Lulay are best friends, a bond that was formed when Reilly was a Lion. Riders can trade for Jennings after Reilly is signed as a Lion.

          • Newsflash, learn how to spell Hervey. If you are such a big fan, you really should know how anyway.

          • Why on earth would he leave…?? Edmonton will pay him top bucks – easily highest paid player in CFL when they resign. They average +35.000 a game and he’s the toast of the town. Team is built around him. BC… stagnant fan base with ol school tight fisted owner.

  3. Best CFL Fan // July 8, 2018 at 8:24 pm //

    This punt decision was a tossup. There was at least a case for punting. Last year’s decision was an indefensible, unforgivable gaffe.

    • I agree CFL fan. Mass punted it away and put his trust squarely on the shoulders of his defense. Franklin and Wilder did a good job in gaining first downs and eating up the clock

    • At this point maybe we could trade with Edmonton, wally for Jason?? And we can throw in Jennings if you throw in Reilly?? Lol

    • Tiger man // July 10, 2018 at 7:42 am //

      Whether or not your defense can do the job required, once you give up the ball, you lose control of your fate.

      Maas should have learned that lesson by now.

      Anyone want to start a pool as to when he will throw his headphones again??

      I’ve got first quarter of their next game….

  4. Stampeding // July 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm //

    It’s easy to second guess from your lazy boy ducking cheeto disk off your fingers

  5. Dedmonton // July 8, 2018 at 8:57 pm //

    Maas makes grievous errors (not mistakes) plus his volatile temper are not compatible with a HC in any league. Thought he would get sacked over the off-season. He should have been let go.

  6. TheLastArgoFan // July 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm //

    One person ks an alumnus.
    More than one person are alumni/alumnae.

  7. Eskssuck // July 8, 2018 at 10:51 pm //

    Challenges a play that he was clearly not going to win, then givesthe ball to the argos with time winding down. What a tool. Worst coach in the league

  8. MR. Green // July 8, 2018 at 11:35 pm //

    Grant Deme, does have a baby face. Good job. It’s nice your parents let you do this.
    I think 2:19 is plenty of time. Maas, IMO made the right call to punt. Shows trust in his defence, however they faild him. I was cheering for Toronto anyway.

  9. not a big fan of maas/benevides. time for a coach that has mastered his anger

  10. 3rd & 1 // July 9, 2018 at 10:41 am //

    With Mass recently signing an extension. He will be the EE head coach for some time yet. There is no doubt that Maas can be a very good coach. Plus the guy is an EE through and through. Yet he still has a lot of maturing to do. With that being said it’s too bad he wasn’t brought over as the OC and assistant head coach. Then Jason would have had a few more years to mature under a head coach.
    When Jason berates his assistant coaches and they show that on national television. I can assure you that remains a bone of contention with the person that received an unjust embarrassment open for all to see.
    Now Because Jason is the HC. Unless his GM demands he takes anger management classes. He will continue with his unorthodox completely rude behaviour. Sadly when this type of behaviour is given free rain. It never gets better. In fact it only escalates.

    • Unfortunately after the headset incident the tv crews are looking for anything they can. The cameras have always being pointed at the head coach but now the people behind them show every single moment that he shows some emotion. I don’t care what the average fan thinks about his “anger issues” I would rather have a coach yell at me when its not going well and then also be that excited when its going well vs a coach like Belichick who shows no emotion what so ever.

      • patlynch // July 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm //

        Yeah, that Belichick is a bum . What’s he done lately? 5 Superbowls as a head coach and 2 as a D coordinator. Yeah, that calm and cool thing just isn’t workin’.

  11. Ken orford // July 9, 2018 at 10:41 am //

    I am not a big fan of Maas. In fact it would be an understatement to say what I thought. However, cant really knock his success. Is he being outcoached? well yes! Does he show the league his infantile temper, well yes. While I cant find anything nice to say about him, it still remains he is the HC and we should allow him that respect, then let himself destruct. Only my opinion which aint worth nothing since I aint a head coach. Hahaha

  12. I’m surprised Maas still has his job.

  13. click bait

  14. Evil Empire // July 9, 2018 at 3:17 pm //

    I would have gambled. But, I’m not surprised Maas kicked. It was a judgement call. And it was his call to make. When it comes to those decisions I get them right more often than wrong. In other words…If I say I would have gambled but the team kicks. The other keeps the ball, and runs out the clock. But, there’s no consequences, or gametime pressure on me making those calls while watching TV.

    That call is a coin flip. And he has to answer for it. But, I don’t like it when someone with so much fire continually plays it safe. But, a great example was the short kick. Nobody expected it, and it went perfectly. Then the Eskimo Offence completely wasted it. Make the call, and live with the outcome.

    Maas needs to quit acting like a freaking psycho, though. He’s embarrassing as a HC. Grow up clown. Get some counseling in anger mgmt, or something.

    And Reilly isn’t going anywhere. That’s just stupid.

  15. Even though it would be an impossible kick they should have gone for a field goal instead of punting if they werent going to gamble. After last years gaffe its hard not to compare this to that however its not even in the same category.

  16. INsideCFL // July 10, 2018 at 12:42 pm //

    Well written article!!!

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