On the clock

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

Unlike the jury in the Michael Jackson trial, the deliberations will be ongoing in the Edmonton Eskimos camp.

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia and his staff have until 10 p.m. tomorrow night to whittle the training camp roster to 50 men.

In the wake of last night's 20-20 pre-season tie with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Commonwealth Stadium before 37,246 witnesses, Maciocia and Co. have plenty of evidence to mull over.

The biggest question marks in Maciocia's mind concerned the open tailback position and Edmonton's return game.

"I was looking for more answers," said Maciocia.

"I've got to watch the game film and see where we're at. I don't want to rush into anything that I'm going to regret down the line."

Troy Westwood's 24-yard field goal with 38 seconds on the clock appeared to seal the deal for Winnipeg. However, Sean Fleming's 30-yard trey with no time on the clock evened the score.

Ricky Ray started for the Esks but was KOed by Winnipeg defensive end Marcus Jones early in the second quarter. The hit appeared harmless enough but left left Ray writhing in pain and grabbing at his hyperextended right knee. Before heading to the Esks dressing room, Ray was good on nine of 12 pass attempts for 115 yards.

Khari Jones took over from Ray and engineered a seven-play touchdown drive before the gun at half-time.

"When you have so many guys shuttling in and out, it's hard to know how you have in there at certain times," Jones offered after completing eight of 14 for 72 yards with one INT.

"Guys have to get used to the speed of the game, including myself. It's a long off-season, so you need that time to get in the groove, get ready and take a hit."

Rookie receiver Chris Kelley had two catches for 51 yards, including a 39-yarder from Ray which paved the way for one of two first-quarter field goals by Sean Fleming.

"On a scale of one to 10, that was probably about a five," offered Kelley, who showcased his punt return talents in the final frame.

"I started off good, but didn't see a lot of looks. I did what I was supposed to do to help this team to get what we got tonight.

"If I rate myself, I rate myself without the ball. I don't think I did very well without it. That's another thing for me to step up. Hopefully, I'm here to do that."

Runners Elvis Joseph and Ron McLendon made the most of their opportunities. Joseph was in the receiving end of Jones' touchdown toss and had nine carries for 33 yards in the opening half.

"Other than my two two incomplete passes that I had, I think I brought some excitement back there," offered McLendon. "I showed some speed and some quickness and I broke a couple of tackles. I think I showed all I have to offer, other than my two unforced errors."

LATE HITS: Jason Johnson took over from Jones with 5:45 on the clock in third quarter and closed out the game. The sophomore pivot completed 13 of 16 pass attempts for 155 yards.


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