Edmonton Eskimos

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

PREDICTION: 4TH IN WEST

HEAD COACH: Danny Maciocia

GM: Paul Jones

OFFENSIVE THREAT: JASON TUCKER

DEFENSIVE STALWART: SINGOR MOBLEY

UNSUNG HERO: TREVOR GAYLOR

KEY ADDITIONS -- DT Robert Brown, DE Anthony Collier, DB Reggie Durden, OL Tim Bakker, DE Adam Braidwood.

KEY DEPARTURES -- OL Chris Morris, OL Bruce Beaton, OL Kevin Lefsrud, LB Rashad Jeanty, DL Joe Montford, LB Glen Young.

STRENGTHS -- One of the best defences in the CFL lost Rashad Jeanty and Joe Montford, although DBs Malcolm Frank and Shannon Garrett re-signed.

WEAKNESSES -- The three players stepping into starting roles with the offensive line -- Tim Bakker, Glen Carson and Patrick Kabongo -- all have plenty of CFL experience but the unit could take time to develop this season. The loss of defensive ends Jeanty and Montford will also hurt the Eskimos' pass rush.

INTANGIBLES -- Those flashy new Grey Cup rings the Eskimos are fashioning these days have to do plenty for team confidence. Despite the changes and loss of backup Maas, the Eskies are still Grey Cup champs until another team takes the title away.

PROGNOSIS -- The Esks wouldn't have won the Grey Cup last year without backup Jason Maas and now starter Ricky Ray has lost three starting o-linemen just days before training camp.

The champs have added R Pat Woodcock to the league's top receiving corps, although the Canadian struggled for two seasons in Ottawa.

Question now is will Ray be able to stay healthy despite wholesale changes along the o-line while RB Troy Davis' effectiveness could be diminished.

The Cup champs also enter the season with a target on their backs while a number of pre-season injuries could slow their start out of the gate this season.

It might be hard to fathom but could this be the Eskimos' first season without a playoff appearance since 1971?

It has to end sometime.


Videos

Photos