The ends are near

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Danny Maciocia wants depth on this year's edition of the Edmonton Eskimos.

While there's only two preseason games of tape to assess, it appears the Green and Gold might actually have some at defensive end.

Brandon Guillory finished training camp and the exhibition schedule with the best-looking defensive line stats on the team.

SOLID IMPRESSION

Montez Murphy made a solid impression as a rookie.

While Fred Perry has the one defensive end starting job under wraps, it appears the Esks could definitely start the regular season on June 28 in Regina with an intriguing tandem - a rotation basis, perhaps - at the other defensive end spot with Guillory and Murphy.

Of course, head coach Danny Maciocia has to confirm both imports have made the 2008 regular-season active roster today at noon - but that sure seems like a decent bet. Maciocia has to cut 10 or 11 bodies by 1 p.m. today.

Guillory had three sacks, a forced fumble and three defensive tackles during portions of two preseason games in the last week.

Granted, he didn't see the Saskatchewan Roughriders No. 1 offensive line on Thursday night in Edmonton's 37-7 win. Gene Makowsky and Jeremy O'Day were left off the roster, meaning there were some weaknesses on that offensive line.

But nobody on the Eskimos' defensive front four this spring has produced those types of numbers.

"I guess it is like an award for all the hard work I did in the off-season, trying to come back from my (spinal-cord) injury," said Guillory after two sacks in Thursday's victory.

Edmonton notched five sacks over two games.

Murphy had one of those sacks - and certainly put himself in the quarterback's neighbourhood on a number of occasions.

He did make rookie mistakes - like leaving his feet in front of a Calgary quarterback last week and biting on a fake hand-off Thursday night - but those mistakes can be corrected.

The more important issue is that he has the physical ability to be in the positions to make impact plays.

Edmonton didn't have enough of those players last year, which explains the massive exodus of bodies: Ron Warner, Robert Brown, Stevie Baggs, Isaac Keys, Tim Cheatwood and Kenny Hollis.

"I felt I had a pretty good game (on Thursday)," said Murphy the day after the lone preseason win.

"Right now, it is in the coaches' hands if they are going to keep me or not."

As of yesterday afternoon, Murphy - a 26-year-old NFL castoff from the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs - was in the dark, waiting for word from Maciocia.

If he's cut, Tyler Clutts would be the import backup to Guillory and Perry.

Clutts failed to register a sack in the preseason and didn't seem to be around the pivot as much as Murphy.

For what it's worth, Murphy actually got the start - instead of Guillory - against Saskatchewan on Thursday and was receiving significant first-string reps in training camp practice.

SHARING A STARTING JOB

One thing is certain: Neither player minds sharing a starting job.

There are no locker-room issues if Maciocia goes in that direction.

"Rotation - don't matter because I know that boy is going to get in the game and make plays," said Guillory on Murphy.

"And I am going to do the same thing. It's about winning."


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