It's all on the line

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Danny Maciocia couldn't have summed up tonight's Edmonton Eskimo pre-season game any better.

"To me, it is like one big interview (tonight) - a lot of these (players) are going to be interviewing for a job," said the Edmonton Eskimos head coach. "There are going to be a lot of jobs. Potentially we could have up to 17, 18 jobs available."

While the last 12 days of training camp have been important, this is the first big test tonight against the hometown Calgary Stampeders.

"This is not touch or flag football now - we are playing for real," said Maciocia, referring to the no-hitting policy during training camp at Clarke Park.

"Let's see when they get hit if they are able to bounce up and get back into the huddle ...and try to execute a second play. We are going to get after one another."

There are the obvious veterans - like Ricky Ray, Dan Comiskey, Joe McGrath, Jason Tucker, etc. - who have jobs locked up. But here is a breakdown of the 10 new players to closely follow tonight during their job interview.

KENDRICK STARLING, WR:

This is a wide-open battle at receiver, but Starling has flown under the radar compared to Fred Stamps and Taco Wallace.

"I feel like my talent is way better than other guys," said a very confident Starling yesterday before apparently adding a more cautious statement, "it is equal or more."

LAWRENCE SMITH, OL:

The Eskimos are going to keep an import lineman somewhere on their roster - and the battle is between Raleigh Roundtree and Smith. Roundtree has the upper hand because of his experience in Edmonton last year. Smith - an NFL veteran - has had to adjust to the new Canadian rules. "There are some of the rule changes I still have to get used to," said Smith in his deep voice. "I am not used to the defensive line being a yard off the ball."

RAY PERRYMAN, LB:

After starring in training camp against the Eskimos offence, is he for real when the lights come on against another team?

SIDDEEQ SHABAZZ, LB:

If Perryman is for real, Shabazz will need a super-human effort to unseat him for the starting job.

KENNY HOLLIS, LB:

At some point, the Esks have to start grooming a replacement for middle linebacker A.J. Gass. Will Hollis show enough to prove he is that project?

MIKE MURPHY, DE:

This is a two-horse race involving Russel Rabe, with the winner likely sticking around behind Adam Braidwood and Brandon Guillory.

VINCENT STRANG, KR:

One big return by Strang will likely push Tony Tompkins halfway out the door.

TYLER EBELL, RB:

He has quietly made a big impression inside the organization. Can he continue his progression in a real game?

FRED STAMPS, WR:

Very few newcomers - if any - were hyped more by the Esks coming into camp. It's showtime.

KAMAU PETERSON, WR:

Can he leave behind his unfortunate nickname of Kamau Incompleterson?


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