Both Martese Jackson and James Wilder Jr., had a feeling this game was going to be something special ... Trestman lauds O-line for job done on Esks’ vaunted pass rush
Martese Jackson isn’t new to being overlooked.
At 5-foot-6, that tends to happen a lot. But a 125-yard return of a missed field goal for a touchdown would normally get a guy top billing on a day when he’s on the right side of a 34-26 win over the visiting as every member of the Argos was on Saturday.
James Wilder Jr., who just happens to be Jackson’s roomate, stole some of his teammate’s thunder, rumbling for 190 yards on just 11 carries (17.3 average). And that was just Wilder’s rushing yards. He had another 67 yards through the air in easily his biggest day in the CFL to date.
Jackson though, who learned the craft of punt returning watching Tyrell Sutton do it in Montreal when both were members of the Alouettes, had a pretty big day Ray Reilly
Wilder Edwards Walker Zylstra
Wilder Van 22-32 224 1-1 23-36 323 2-0
7 5 8 3
67 56 92 66
0 1 0 1
1 1 himself and neither Argonaut had any problem sharing his moment with the other.
In fact, they both woke up on game day feeling like this one might just be a little special.
“We were talking about this game all week, “Jackson said. “We had a great lunch today and we were talking about it then too, and just stressed all week that we needed it, we needed it. It just felt comfortable. We were healthy, we were energetic. I just kind of expected us both to have a good game.”
As for sharing the limelight, Jackson said that was never going to be an issue.
“For sure ... there’s enough to share,” Jackson said. “Share it with the whole team.”
In addition to the 125-yard kick return for a major, Jackson had another five punt returns for 96 yards. Coming into the game, his punt return average was just under 11. He almost doubed that average on Saturday and said it was just a product of good coaching, hard work that trust and belief in each of his teammates to do their job just the way he did his.
his parents will be up for next Saturday’s game when the Argos host Montreal.
As happy was he was with the big numbers he put up, Wilder Jr. said getting called out by his coach at the very beginning of the week and being told in front of all his teammates that he would be relied on this week to offset what the entire CFL knows is a fierce pass rush courtesy of Edmonton’s stellar front four, made him just as happy.
“He told me right at the beginning of the week he would give me the opportunity to get out there and see what I could do,” Wilder Jr. said. “The line just opened up the holes and
I did what I had to do.”
Wilder Jr. said he didn’t feel like he even got touched by an Edmonton defensive lineman the whole game, giving the Argos offensive line its due as well.
“There was no reason to even open up the playbook,” said Wilder who after almost all 11 of his runs could be seen motioning to the sidelines to keep feeding him the football. “Just keep running and pounding and playing hard-nosed football.”
You could argue Wilder didn’t take a bad step all evening ... at least until he threw his coach under the bus a little in his post-game session with the media.
“Coach Trestman could have run though those holes,” he said before catching himself and adding: “No offence against coach, of course.”
Trestman came away impressed with his offensive line after this one. Quarterback Ricky Ray was sacked three times but the way the line handled the star-studded Esks pass rush that includes had Trestman almost giddy (for him) in his post-game comments. Part of it might have been that Trestman began the week sending an ailing offensive line coach Mitch Browning home to deal with some health issues and bringing back Jonathan Himebauch to take over. Clearly the Argos handled the transition extremely well ... A warning to media types covering the Argos: The offensive line has a new rule. Any time any member talks to a member of the press, it’s a $5 fine. Veteran Chris Van Zeyl was up to $15 midway through media availability on Saturday. His block in front of the Toronto bench that sprung Jackson for the remainder of his 125-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown made it all worth it.
In a sidebar on Friday that accompanied an article on Hall of Fame offensive lineman Chris Walby’s opinion of the league’s decision to eliminate in-season contact practices, we indicated that the night before the 1984 Grey Cup, then Winnipeg head coach Cal Murphy had his Blue Bombers put the pads on and run 20 offensive possessions. The game in question was, in fact, the Western final the following year, 1985, when Murphy wanted to gauge the readiness of injured running back Willard Reaves for contact and insisted his team pad up and run through a mini game to ensure Reaves would be good to go. Walby and his teammates’ annoyance with the move only grew the next day when Reaves, now deemed healthy, was thrown out of the game for an altercation with Walter Ballard. The Sun regrets the error.
Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr., gets tackled by Alex Hoffman-Ellis of the Eskimos in the first half of yesterday’s tilt.