Esks have points to ponder

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

TORONTO -- In the stretch run of the Edmonton Eskimos' season, things that make you go hmmm ...

- If offensive lineman Trey Darilek is able to thrive as a starter with the Green and Gold -- starting tomorrow in Toronto -- the Esks will have some interesting decisions to make in the off-season or in training camp next year.

The Esks could have six solid starters -- Dan Comiskey, Patrick Kabongo, Joe McGrath, Raleigh Roundtree, Aaron Fiacconi and Darilek -- on the 46-man roster to end the season.

On top of that, Rhett McLane, Terriss Paliwoda and Tim Bakker (demoted from being a starter this week) will likely be around.

Having a stable of eight CFL veterans, plus an intriguing non-import rookie in Paliwoda will give head coach Danny Maciocia some trade bait.

- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are likely regretting the decision to trade Fiacconi to Edmonton last month for a draft pick. With Obby Khan and Matt Sheridan expected to be sidelined for the next two weeks in the Manitoba capital, Fiacconi would look good on the Bomber O-line at the moment. Instead, he is earning praise from the Eskimo coaching staff as a starting guard.

Maciocia deserves credit for pulling off a seemingly lopsided deal.

- Ricky Ray's injury could eventually cause a problem for Steven Jyles.

It seemed Edmonton was interested in bringing Scott Eyster to training camp next year, but the process was fast-tracked when Ray got hurt - with Eyster arriving this past week.

With a three-year contract, the third-string pivot is definitely coming to camp next spring -- and will have a good understanding of Jacques Chapdelaine's offence under his belt after spending the final month of the season in Edmonton.

There is a big difference in coming to training camp as a raw rookie and coming to camp with a background in the offensive system.

In other words, Eyster should be able to give Jyles a good run for his money in the battle for the third-string job at camp next spring if nothing else transpires before then.

Of course, the situation will look radically different if Jyles actually gets a chance to run the offence before the end of the season and suddenly shines.

It is also worth noting that Jyles will be in the option year of his Eskimo contract in 2008.

- With Ray on the shelf, all three Eskimo pivots in uniform this weekend will be Louisiana natives -- the home of the club's top scout, Paul Jones.

Stefan LeFors is from Baton Rouge. Jyles is a native of Independence, and Eyster calls Hammond home.

- By the time the weekend is over, 65 players will have played at least one regular-season game with the Eskimos this season.

With a 42-man roster each week, that is surely a higher number than the Eskimos would like.

With roster consistency a major help to any team --bringing familiarity and trust between players on the field -- this stat tells a lot about a frustrating season in Eskimoland.

By comparison, 63 players wore an Eskimo uniform in at least one regular-season game last year - a season in which the club missed the playoffs.


Photos