What's in a number?

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

Jason Maas and Stefan LeFors are No. 2 and No. 2A at the quarterback position.

Not necessarily in that order.

At least according to the depth charts and the way Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia has been handling the backups situation.

There will be no pecking order behind undisputed No. 1 quarterback Ricky Ray.

Where they play depends on the situation.

"I have a pretty good idea how I'm going to handle that position and that situation," said Maciocia. "Ricky's done a pretty good job to date. I don't think we'll come out of camp with a No. 2 and No. 3. They'll just be situational players when that scenario comes up. They'll take the field and do what they do best."

If experience, maturity, intensity and training-camp poise have little bearing on distinguishing between the pair, Maciocia may have a point.

Rest assured, though, if the unthinkable and unmentionable were to happen to Ray, Maas would step right up. In a New York second.

The past two seasons have been somewhat of a humbling experience for Maas and that has shaped a different attitude for his second tour of duty with the Esks. The competitive fires still burn.

"I still throw my helmet, I still yell, still do those kind of things when I feel like doing them," said Maas. "I'm pretty much off-the-cuff anyway in how I think and how I feel. I definitely have toned it down since my first few years here.

"I still have the fire in me and I feel that hasn't changed much. I'm just a bit older and wiser, I guess. I've been through the grind more and know how to deal with more now."

Over his career, his intensity has been a bit of a two-edged sword, but he has the type of personality that feeds off adversity.

"Yeah, it all depends what type of person you are," said Maas. "The more pissed off I am, generally, the better I play. It's just a little harder to do the older you get. The same things don't piss you off the older you get, put it that way."

At 32 and with eight CFL seasons under his belt, Maas has had to learn plenty of lessons from the tough hand life has dealt him.

"I'm just a little more experienced," said Maas. "I've gone through some bad times, much like the Eskimos have for the last two years. I feel like I'm stronger mentally because of it. I've played quite a bit over the past two years that I wouldn't have played if I'd stuck around here.

"As a person, I haven't changed one bit."

He's still the quick-release guy who's capable of making quick decisions, attributes that impressed the coaching staff in 2000 and made him a CFL West all-star in 2001.

The quarterback reps rotation has been consistent since camp opened. Ray takes five reps. One day No. 2 takes three reps and No. 2A takes two. The next day No. 2A takes three reps and No. 2 gets dealt the deuce.

Which is just fine with Maas.

"Basically, you're competitive in the sense where you're trying to do your best every day," said Maas.

"I'm not too concerned about who I'm competing against. I know I'm competing against Stefan and Tyler (No. ? Donovan). I want to bring the best out of them and I hope they bring the best out in me.

"I'm not focused on saying 'I want to be No. 2.' I just focus on my job and let the coaches make their decision."

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA

"I STILL HAVE THE FIRE IN ME AND I FEEL THAT HASN'T CHANGED MUCH."

JASON MAAS


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