Fightin' chance

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

Almost two weeks of training camp for the Edmonton Eskimos has proven one thing: there are at least seven starting jobs still up in the air.

With 22 players still fighting for those spots, there will be plenty of shattered hopes and dreams after the final cuts are made one week today.

Here's a breakdown of the internal competition as the Esks play the first of two critical pre-season games today in Regina.

CONTENDER NO.1: James Whitley has emerged as the No. 1 contender for Steven Marsh's position.

Practising with the first-team linebacking core this week, he has moved ahead of Shannon Garret on the depth chart.

"(Whitley) has all the ability in the world to probably be the best halfbacker or SAM linebacker in the CFL, but it's consistency that we are looking for from James," said coach Danny Maciocia.

Garrett and Reggie Myles will also play today.

WINNING A JOB: It appears sophomore Marcus Winn has moved ahead of nine-year veteran Singor Mobley.

But this battle isn't close to being over.

"(This game) is very big," said Winn.

"I have been doing it day in and day out in practice, so I just have to put everything together (today) in a game."

DEFENSIVE END: While newcomers Andre Sommersell and Sherrod Coates have impressed Maciocia, highly touted dispersal draft choice Anthony Collier hasn't really been noticed in camp.

He hasn't even been practising with the first-team unit.

All three newcomers are battling incumbents Charles Alston and Tim Fleiszer for two spots.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Steve Charbonneau has one spot, but Jabari Issa, Rob Brown and Dorsett Davis are vying for the other.

CORNERBACK: Keyuo Craver, Malcolm Frank, Jonte Buhl and Roosevelt Williams have produced the most entertaining battle of the spring - and all four will play today.

But the most pressure is on the rookies: Buhl and Roosevelt.

"Are they actually the real deal or not?" questioned Maciocia.

He's about to find out.

Just like he's about to figure out the rest of his defence.


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