'The best line coach'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos haven't played a game this season but Danny Maciocia already believes offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek is in an elite league.

"He is probably the best line coach I have been around," said Maciocia, the Esks' bench boss, on Vinklarek.

"That is saying quite a bit when you think about some of the guys that I have been associated with - whether it has been in Edmonton or Montreal. He is a well respected, no nonsense kind of guy.

"He takes care of his unit."

Vinklarek is so respected that the San Francisco 49ers actually contacted the Eskimos after they hired him this off-season with the hope of getting permission to talk to the assistant coach.

"That tells you what kind of individual and what kind of coach he is," continued Maciocia.

"He is going to make us so much better."

Vinklarek replaced fired Carl Brennan this off-season. Brennan held the O-line coaching job for one year after replacing Bill Macdermott.

CAMP CHATTER: Running back Ron McClendon will return to practice on Sunday after missing several days with a quad injury, Sun Media has learned ... Special teams ace Adrian Baird had an MRI on a knee yesterday. No word on results ... Maciocia is thrilled with receiver Brock Ralph's camp, believing he shouldn't be flying under the radar when the media is handing out praise. "I think a lot of people missed the boat," said Maciocia. Returning to the Esks from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ralph looks like a polished receiver, according to the coach.

FINISH LINES: With his physical play on receivers, defensive halfback Keith Williams is bringing back memories of a former Eskimo.

"He almost reminds you of Donny Brady," said Maciocia on the rookie. "Donny would drive receivers crazy with his play and he is cut from that same fabric."


Videos

Photos