Line of least resistance?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

When the Edmonton Eskimos return to the practice field tomorrow, don't expect to see any new recruits auditioning for a job on the offensive line.

Dave Hack, who was cut by Hamilton last week, won't be in town.

The nine-year veteran was the most outstanding lineman for the Tiger-Cats for the last six years, but the Green and Gold aren't interested in the import tackle at the moment.

Edmonton general manager Paul Jones hasn't arranged for any recent NFL cuts to join the team, either.

That doesn't mean something won't happen before the season ends, but right now, there isn't a taxi waiting at the airport.

Head coach Danny Maciocia is sticking with his offensive line, even though it was literally mauled at Ivor Wynne Stadium last Friday and has been the subject of criticism and questioning in the second half of the season.

The Eskimos - with three losses in their last four games - travel to Toronto this weekend to play the Argos on Monday.

"If you take a look at the games that we have played as of recent, with the exception of Hamilton, I thought our offensive line against Saskatchewan, versus Montreal and B.C. had a pretty solid football game," said Maciocia.

GREAT GAMES

Against the B.C. Lions two weeks ago, quarterback Ricky Ray had one of his best games of the year, completing nearly 80% of his passes.

Against Montreal in late August he threw for 438 yards and the Eskimos gained 100 yards on the ground.

However, in Hamilton, Ray was sacked three times and was belted for a safety in the second half. It was like a rerun of Calgary beating Edmonton at Commonwealth in early September.

Overall, the Eskimos produced a season-low 247 yards of total offence last Friday.

Although there won't be new faces in the locker- room this week, there could be a lineup change among the starting five on the line by the time they battle Toronto.

Sandy Annunziata injured an elbow early last Friday. Maciocia now believes the elbow became dislocated, but he didn't know the severity of the injury during the game.

"We only found out after the game he had a problem with his elbow," explained Maciocia.

"Obviously, he is such a warrior he finished the game. He is getting treatments here on a daily basis and we're going to find out exactly what his status is when we go back to practice."

PLAYED WITH ONE ARM

Added offensive line coach Bill Macdermott: "The guy was basically playing with one arm for over half of the game."

If Annunziata isn't healthy enough to start at right guard on Monday, watch for sophomore Patrick Kabongo to return to that position.

"Patrick played against Toronto the last time at right guard and he had a very strong game against them," said Macdermott.

SHORT YARDAGE: There could be at least three roster changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Non-import Randy Spencer, who started at right tackle last weekend, suffered a calf injury and didn't finish the game.

"He really is the one that we've got a huge question mark next to his name as far as his status for Toronto," Maciocia commented.

The head coach is hoping Canadian tackle Steve Charbonneau will be able to return to the roster this week after missing two games with back spasms. He is scheduled to resume practising tomorrow.

And Rashad Jeanty will be part of the action on the practice field on Thursday after missing back-to-back games at rush end because of a left shoulder injury. Jeanty is second on the team with seven sacks.

LATE HITS: After racking up 121 yards and one touchdown while returning punts last Friday, Hamilton's Kahlil Hill is the newest CFL special teams player of the week. Tiger-Cat Craig Yeast is the offensive player of the week thanks to his six catches and 166 yards.


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