The year's first CFL clash between the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts in Edmonton was defined by Argonauts' quarterback Ricky Ray returning to his former city to face his old team. Now, with the return leg set to be played in Toronto Monday (7:30 p.m. Eastern, TSN/NBC Sports Network), the shoe's on the other foot, and the focus is on Edmonton quarterback Steven Jyles (traded for Ray in the offseason) and Eskimos' running back Cory Boyd (picked up by Edmonton after a bizarre release from the Argos two weeks ago). As Boyd told Evan Daum of The Edmonton Journal, though, despite all the attention, he and Jyles are focused on just doing their jobs to help the team win:
"We know what we've got to do. It's not so much where we play at, or who we play, it's about how we play as a team, and I know Steven is really anxious to get out there and prove to people that's he an elite quarterback in this league," Boyd said. "It's all about calming it down and playing cool, calm and collected.
"I don't know what to expect from the fans, but like I said, I need to go out there and play my game. I can't get too caught up in the outside part of the game, I have to focus on getting my team in a good position and helping them get the win."
Jyles told The Edmonton Sun's Derek Van Diest that he's excited to play in the Rogers Centre again, but his bigger focus is ensuring that his team comes away with another victory. Jyles added that there will be motivation for their opponents as well: the Eskimos beat the Argonauts in a close 19-15 contest in both teams' season opener in Edmonton, and Jyles said that may have Toronto out for revenge.
I'm going to have fun going back to the Rogers Centre to play, but our job is to just try and win and we're trying to stay above .500 and in order to do that, we have to beat Toronto," Jyles said. "It's just another game. This is our second time playing Toronto. We know that those guys are going to feel like they gave one away earlier in the year. Of course they're going to feel that way, but our job is to go in and get a win."
Jyles should certainly have a large impact on Monday's game, for better or for worse. His overall stats on the year are far from remarkable (1,448 passing yards, seventh in the league, with a 58.7 per cent completion rate and five touchdowns against four interceptions, plus a 84.7 passer rating that's the lowest of any starter), but he's had some impressive individual games. Boyd may not have as many opportunities to affect Monday's contest, as he was only used sparingly in his first game with Edmonton last week and still seems to be seen as the second rushing option behind Hugh Charles, but he has had another week to acclimatize to the Eskimos' offence and he'll definitely be motivated to make his presence felt whenever he gets on the field against the team that cut him. As head coach Kavis Reed told Daum, the team's focus is on winning, though, not getting revenge for the players cast off by the Argonauts.
"It's not Cory Boyd playing the Toronto Argonauts, it's the Edmonton Eskimos," Reed explained. "If Cory fits into what we're trying to accomplish, he'll have his role, but we're not going to put any emphasis on Cory Boyd, because he's returning to play Toronto."