And now, your 2005 Edmonton Eskimos ...

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

Historically the Edmonton football fan just wants to know who made the team. Period.

Around here, the fan doesn't get all lathered up about what's going on at training camp, the numbers game or any of that stuff. Tell them who is on the team, then they can begin to make their emotional investments.

Which means today was usually the day most of them dialed in.

But cut-down day isn't what it used to be.

The naming of the 40-man roster, in today's CFL, isn't the real deal.

It's smoke and mirrors.

All it did yesterday for sure was let you know that Khari Jones and Scott Robinson didn't make the team. Robinson they telegraphed by not taking him to Winnipeg for the second game of the pre-season. Jones, despite the focus and attention, wasn't going to play here this year the minute Ricky Ray decided to return.

The one thing it did tell you is Ricky Ray is ready to go despite his knee injury in the first pre-season game.

All that buildup for getting down to 40. And all they do is cut two?

Everybody else is in limbo.

ONLY FIVE O-LINEMEN

Because of a ridiculous recent rule in the CFL, the naming of the 40-man roster is kind of a just-pretend, temporary, conditional, don't-take-this-to-the-bank, result-isn't-official, wait-until-Wednesday deal.

For example, the Eskimo 40-man roster included five offensive linemen yesterday. Five is the minimum you need to play a game. There is no way on Hugh Campbell's green Earth that there won't be a sixth offensive lineman named to the official, official roster Wednesday at 2 p.m.

There are still players to be kicked on the shins and moved to the injured list and negotiations to move players to the practice roster, etc.

Mostly it's a camouflage deal so coaches can play their mind games with each other. It robs the fan of that definitive big picture this-is-our-football-team, on-with-the-show-this-is-it here-we-go launch to the season in each city.

If there was ever a year you wanted that here, it's this year with more changes than I can remember with the Eskimos since the '60s.

On a day when nothing was really obvious, Maciocia says one thing is obvious.

"It's going to look different. You better bring a program to the game,'' he said of the season lid-lifter Friday against the Ottawa Renegades.

Before the pre-season game here, the speculation was that there would be a minimum of 10 new starters from the last game last year to as many as 12.

"I think it's easily going to go past a dozen,'' said Maciocia of the 24 starting spots, which would include the return of Ricky Ray and Bruce Beaton.

ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING

One appears to be Elvis Joseph. Is he the man to fill the void left by Mike Pringle at tailback?

To my eyes, he was the best of a disappointing lot that Paul Jones rustled up to compete for the position.

Don't buy a house, Elvis.

Did the Eskimos find a new Gizmo Williams or even a new Winston October?

Maciocia seemed to have a problem even speculating who might handle those duties. Whoever, he'll probably be temporary.

"With the return game we may look elsewhere,'' said Maciocia.

Wasn't a new tailback and new return man Job 1 and Job 2 at this training camp?

Ask Maciocia about the big picture and he says he can see his football team and you can, too, if you squint.

"We're really, really close to finding our football team. I like where we're headed.

"If you look at the roster, the one thing I think it tells you right now is that identity-wise we're going to be a flying-around-at-100-miles-per-hour kind of team.''

Or maybe I wasn't supposed to print that quote ... until 2 p.m. Wednesday.


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