Taking a gamble

  • Jul. 30, 2014 8:23 p.m.

When you’re the coach of a sports team there will come a time when you need to make a choice – take a gamble or play it safe.

The timing of when to do one or the other is critical and most coaches will go with the percentages when it comes to choosing.

Edmonton Eskimos Head Coach Chris Jones was in that spot last week against Calgary and the choice he made was the subject of many a debate from the arm chair quarterbacks.

With about :38 seconds left in the first half and the Eskimos deep in their own end, Jones rolled the dice and had his special teams unit execute a fake punt.

The short story here is it failed with the Stamps scoring and going on to win.

So was this the right call or the wrong one?

It would be so easy to say this was a terrible decision and it cost the Eskimos two points – which it didn’t because there was another half of football to play.

It’s that fact which makes me side with Coach Jones.

Sure it failed but the Eskimos defense basically held the Stamps in check for most of the half so why not roll the dice?

So what if it didn’t work out. Heaven forbid a CFL coach tries to inject a little excitement into the game.

This isn’t the first time he’s tried a gamble and it won’t be the last.

The man learned from former CFL coaching great Don Matthews who had a rep as being predictably unpredictable.

If this did anything, it made video sessions in eight other CFL camps interesting. The thought of any sort of gamble, even ones which might be deemed outrageous, may happen at anytime so be on your toes.

There is a reason it’s called a gamble but of course timing is everything and I think the timing was just fine for this one whether it worked or not.

If this play was pulled at the end of the second half, then Jones would likely be looking for work elsewhere.

The sun rose the next day, the Eskimos are 4-1 on the season and life goes on.

When coaches in any sport go against the perceived norm and don’t succeed, they get vilified by the ‘experts’.

If it works, the coach is gutsy and on the edge .

If the Eskimos go on to lose the remaining 12 games in the season and miss the playoffs, many will point to this play as the tipping point in their season and they would be people I like to call mistaken.

Keep rolling the dice coach!


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