LIVESTREAM PPV – CFL – Toronto Argonauts @Edmonton Eskimos, July 13, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 14 CEST)

EDMONTON — Back-to-backs are always a challenge, for players and coaches alike.

The familiarity between the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts runs deep entering their Week 5 Friday Night Football meeting; beyond last week’s 20-17 Argos victory, Toronto quarterback James Franklin spent the last three seasons in green and gold as Mike Reilly‘s understudy.

Franklin scored the first point in what could be a running head-to-head battle last week.

From a coaching standpoint, Toronto head coach Marc Trestman believes it’s imperative to separate the two games in a back-to-back.

“They’re going to see some things in us and that’s going to change them, and we’re going to see some things in them and it’s going to change us,” Trestman told Argonauts.ca. “So it’s a whole different mindset of just forgetting the past and moving on and trying to become a better football team and that’s as simplistic as I can make it. I don’t want to complicate it by going into all the variations of going back-to-back because it’s above my pay grade.”

One thing is for sure: The Argonauts will have to be in top form to withstand 60 minutes of Mike Reilly and the Eskimo offence for a second consecutive week.

Last week’s win was needed in a big way in Argo-land.

Adrift at 0-2 and with veteran quarterback Ricky Ray sidelined long-term, Marc Trestman’s team needed something positive: It came in the form of a 20-17 win at BMO Field that boosted Toronto back into relevance in the East Division and, perhaps more importantly, showcased James Franklin’s ability to manage a game under centre.

“We just want to play as a team we can be proud of,” said Trestman. “We think the scoreboard will take care of itself. We did some good things in the first and fourth quarter that we could really hang our hat on, and in the middle part of the game there were things we needed to watch to get better. We need to regain that intensity, regain that hunger that we needed to have (last week),” continued Trestman. “That backbone, because we’re going to go in there and face a team that’ll be more than ready.”

The Argonaut defence proved to be the difference last Saturday, stifling Edmonton’s vaunted offence where it mattered most on the field, and coordinator Mike Archer’s group will have to be at its best again come Friday.

“We’re ready. It’s a tough team, (and) they put in some adjustments as well,” said linebacker Marcus Ball. “We know it’s not going to be the same team we faced at BMO. They’re gonna be amped up, ready to get the sour taste out of their mouths.

“We made a few adjustments, we got better in places we needed to. Now it’s time to get out here and ready to roll.”

Roster-wise, the Argos will make a few changes to the roster that beat Edmonton last Saturday. Middle linebacker Terrance Plummer hits the one-game injured list this week, forcing Justin Tuggle — a starter last week at D-end — into his spot. UCF product Troy Davis will slide into Tuggle’s spot, while newly-acquired Eric Striker dresses for the first time following his trade from Saskatchewan.

CFL rookie Jonathon Dowling will get some reps at linebacker; the 26 year-old previously spent NFL time with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.

Naturally, the Edmonton Eskimos are steamed about last week and ready to try and bounce back.

Jason Maas’s Esks viewed last week’s game as one they let slip away — and are eager to set the record straight.

“We had an opportunity to finish that game out, despite a slow start, and didn’t,” Maas told Esks.com. “Discipline and focus, not doing our jobs, are at the forefront.”

The team held a players-only meeting to address discipline in the locker room.

“When they show up at 9 o’clock, it’s go time ’til 1:30, (and) I don’t think they were all-in on that,” continued Maas. “For little things — wearing the correct shorts to a meeting, little things it takes discipline to do — (and) some of them believed that was carrying over to the game. It’s music to a coach’s ears when the players get together and discuss things they all see.”

Maas insists Toronto’s roster shuffling on defence did not impact his team’s preparation.

“Any time you’re going against a defence, you’re going against schemes not necessarily people,” explained Maas. “They’re paid, they’re professional, and we’re (facing) the Toronto Argonauts as a whole and not an individual.”

Star Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly believes the difference was in the details — mostly little — last Saturday in Toronto.

“They are mental mistakes,” said Reilly. “Some are physical, but more often than not it’s mental. It’s about practising the little details in everything you do…it’s something you have to correct right away. Those things show up throughout the season when you lack attention to detail as players. As a veteran club, it shouldn’t happen very often, but it will happen if you don’t stay on top of it.”

Of course, the Esks are painfully aware what could happen if they make similar mental errors on home turf — and fall behind the eight-ball with another slow start — on Friday.

“It feels good that we get another opportunity to play good football, but we’re obviously aware if we don’t play good football, we won’t get the win,” continued Reilly. “No surprises from us or them, (and) I said it last week: whoever executes better will come away with the win.”

Edmonton’s roster will have two depth changes this week, with rookies Nick Usher and Tanner Green entering the lineup at D-end and fullback, respectively; D-lineman Rakim Cox returns to the practice roster while defensive back Godfrey Onyeka hits the one-game injured list.

Crunchin’ Numbers:

2-6– Mike Reilly’s .250 winning percentage against the Argos is a stark contrast to his .573 career winning percentage (47-35).

8 – Quarterbacks who have started in place of Ricky Ray since he joined Toronto in 2012, including James Franklin’s debut last week. The others? Jarious Jackson, Zach CollarosTrevor HarrisLogan Kilgore, Dan LeFevour, Drew Willy and Jeff Mathews, for a combined record of 20-20.

– Penalties flagged against the Edmonton offensive line in four games, compared to one in three games against Toronto.

With Calgary two games up in the West Division, the Eskimos will feel the pressure to keep pace in a race which already has some separation.

The Argos, meanwhile, could move into a tie for first place in the East with a win — less than two weeks removed from being anchored to the bottom of the division.

Mike Reilly and co. will look to shake their offensive cobwebs from last week, while James Franklin and the Argos will hope to engineer what would likely still be termed another upset.

It’s the Eskimos and Argos.

Live on Friday Night Football from Commonwealth Stadium.

– With files from Argonauts.ca/Esks.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: CFL – Toronto Argonauts @Edmonton Eskimos, July 13, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 14 CEST)

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