McCarty takes first-team reps

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos seem to be making another change with their running game.

AJ Harris appears to have lost his starting tailback job with the club after watching non-import Calvin McCarty take the first-team reps in yesterday's practice.

Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia hasn't commented on who will start at running back for Saturday's critical game in Regina.

But what is clear is that the Eskimos need to kickstart their running attack after Edmonton gained just 32 yards on the ground in last week's loss to B.C.

Harris had just nine yards on five carries for a 1.8-yard average.

"It is on my mind," said Harris of not getting very many reps in Monday's practice before being a bystander during first-team drills yesterday.

"I don't know what is going to happen. They must have some sort of plan and hopefully it is for the best of the team."

The Eskimos are last in the West Division with 18 points.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeat Edmonton on Saturday (5 p.m., TSN), the Esks finish last in the West and must play in the East Division semifinal.

Harris claims to be healthy after recovering from an MCL strain and making his first start in five weeks last Friday.

"I came out of the game perfectly healthy (last week)," he remarked.

"I would be sharper (this week) because I already know what I can do with my knee, the limitations."

Lobbying among fans and the media for McCarty to start this week happened immediately after last week's loss.

McCarty has a 5.9-yard average per carry - slightly better than Harris - and gives the Esks ratio versatility.

By sitting Harris, Edmonton could activate another import for Saturday's tilt.

FINISH LINES: Receiver Brock Ralph spent some time with the first-team offence yesterday, adding to the puzzle surrounding the nine-game injured list.

Ralph is six games into his stay on the nine-game list for a back problem.

Adam Braidwood is also hoping to get off the nine-game injured roster.

If Maciocia wants, he can pull one player off the list before his time is up - but must put that player's salary from the games he has missed onto the team's total against the salary cap.

PARTING SHOT: Receiver Fred Stamps still seems to be several days away from playing.

After suffering a seemingly innocent leg injury on a low hit from Winnipeg's Stanford Samuels on Oct. 4, Stamps hasn't played since.

Sitting out yesterday's practice and gingerly walking across the field, he doesn't seem close to playing this week.

Stamps hasn't even set a timeline for a return but Maciocia is listing him as day-to-day.


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