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By now the fact that Ed Hervey has been named the Eskimo GM has been well-circulated, and the consensus seems to be that this was a wonderful move. I’ve seen it called many things, from flatly brilliant to the best kind of professional nepotism and I am in full agreement with those statements.
Having played his entire eight-year CFL career in Edmonton, Hervey knows exactly what it means to don the green and gold and defend Commonwealth turf. Having won two Grey Cups with the team, he knows the feeling of living up to the Eskimo legacy and has spent the past six years hunting for talented players to continue blazing that path. Ed Hervey is the living, breathing, true embodiment of the phrase “Once an Eskimo, Always an Eskimo”, and I expect to see the Eskimos back on top under his leadership.
His first player signing came just days after he was handed the keys and he kept Grant Shaw in Edmonton. The kicker may have been the scapegoat in a couple of losses, and as fans it’s easy to overlook his true value when searching for answers after a tough season. But what we conveniently forget is that he connected on 32 of 43 field goal attempts, with his longest being from fifty yards, and that seven of those 11 misses came when Shaw was also handling punting duties. In that role, Shaw managed to have the second-best punting average in the league – in half as many games as any other punter. He is the anchoring point for the special teams, averaging nearly 65 yards per kickoff and notching nine special teams tackles throughout 2012. He also nabbed two Special Teams Player of the Week awards and I am looking forward to seeing him in green and gold once the new season begins.
Let’s admit it though; we were all holding our breath to see how long it would be before the “big names” started rolling across our newsfeeds, throughout our tweets, and out of our TVs. Well, that wait finally ended on December 19, as the Eskimos came to a three-year deal with JC Sherritt. Tallying up his accomplishments for 2012 is a labour-intensive process, as Sherritt was graced with four player of the week awards, three player of the month awards, a spot on the all-star team, and one defensive player of the year award. He also set a CFL record with 130 defensive tackles in a single season and that was despite missing time with an ankle injury. He’s another true anchor. Not just defensively, but for the whole team. JC’s passion and laser-like focus translate into true leadership between the white lines and have a way of turning the Eskimos into a seamless unit. That, in turn, translates to us in the stands and makes it fun to be an Eskimo fan again.
The building blocks for 2013 are starting to fall into place – welcome back to Grant and JC – despite still missing a crucial piece. We still have no idea who will be competing for – let alone starting at– quarterback this year. However, I have total faith in Ed Hervey to make the call that is best for the green and gold. The climb back to CFL dominance starts now and I can’t wait to see the path that Hervey lays out to the top.