Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland doesn’t see why his team’s penalty issues are a big deal.
“I haven’t heard anything about that this year, that’s a first for me,” Sunderland said with a wry smile.
“It’s a hot topic point for everybody for whatever reason. Being candid I think the penalty stat is much more important to all of you guys than it is to us.”
Edmonton has drawn a league-high 182 flags — 22 more than any other team — for 1,523 yards. 59 have come on offence with 71 on defence and 52 on special teams. 40 of the calls have been for a type of roughness, the most in the CFL.
“A lot of things is it depends on the type of penalty, if you’re playing really hard and there’s a pass interference or if it’s a holding call — we’ve had several roughing the passer calls that we don’t think are egregious. Those type of penalties — we play fast, we’re physical, we’re going to pin our ears — we’re not going to change who we are based on that,” Sunderland said.
“So we’re going to be fast, we’re going to be aggressive. The post-play stuff we don’t like and we have addressed it, players have been benched, players have not played halves, players have been taken out of games.”
Sunderland explained other disciplinary measures have been taken but the Eskimos want to keep those details in-house. Edmonton clinched a post-season spot despite all the infractions, but a middling 8-8 record displays the inconsistency of the green and gold.
“The post-play penalties, the objectionable conduct, obviously we’re not a fan of those. Those are addressed and players have been disciplined. We do want to be much more disciplined, we’re not going to deny that,” Sunderland said.
“If they’re effort plays if they’re in the moment — I’ll give one last week and I’ll say this is the pass interference play against Tyquan Glass, that was not pass interference. That counts. One thing we try to do with our team is be honest and be genuine, so if it’s something we don’t really feel is a penalty, that does count in the penalties.”