Khari looks good

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Khari Jones has officially inched ahead of Jason Johnson and Steven Jyles in the battle to be the backup quarterback with the Edmonton Eskimos.

With head coach Danny Maciocia resting Ricky Ray during Saturday's first preseason game in Regina, Jones will get the start against the Roughriders.

"(Jones) has been the most impressive after Ricky at that position," said Maciocia when explaining why the former Winnipeg Blue Bombers star will start.

JONES HAS TURNED THINGS AROUND

After beginning training camp on a rough note with several lame duck throws in early practices, Jones has improved.

The 35-year-old pivot mimicked that routine yesterday, starting the morning by missing receivers all over the field, but drastically improved as the day went on.

Jones will play the first quarter and half of the second quarter before giving the ball to Johnson, who can't seem to get on track this spring.

The third-year Eskimo entered camp with the inside track to be No. 2 on the depth chart, but has struggled since Day 1.

By constantly missing open receivers, he has now dropped to No. 3.

"Jason Johnson needs to step it up and maybe he's waiting for the game on Saturday," said Maciocia.

"Maybe when the lights go on it is showtime.

"I know he did it with the Buffalo Bills."

DROVE BILLS TO A TOUCHDOWN

Maciocia was referring to Johnson's brief stint in the NFL in 2003 when he drove the Bills for a touchdown in an exhibition game.

"I am not down on Jason (right now)," added Maciocia, "but I expect more."

Johnson will play the last portion of the second quarter at Taylor Field and will likely get the entire third quarter before handing the ball to Jyles, who has started to struggle after a brilliant start to camp.

"Those three days that he went away (for his wedding last weekend) set him back a little bit," said Maciocia.

But a strong performance by Jyles - or by any of the three QBs - on Saturday will change the depth chart again.

LATE HIT: Resting Ray on Saturday comes as no surprise. In fact, he's the only player guaranteed a starting job so far this year.

"He has been to three Grey Cup games, won two and been the most valuable player in one," said Maciocia.

"We can give him one preseason game off."

FINISH LINES: Kicker Sean Fleming decided to go golfing yesterday instead of coming to training camp.

In reality, the Eskimos gladly let him miss practice to host a golf tournament which raises money for diabetes.


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