Central thinking

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

Random thoughts and observations as the Edmonton Eskimos prepare to finish the regular-season tomorrow against the Montreal Alouettes ...

- There are quiet conversations within the Eskimos' compound about possibly changing practice time next week to get the team better prepared to face Winnipeg in the East Division semifinal.

The playoff game starts at noon (CT) in Winnipeg on Nov. 8, which is 11 a.m. MT for the body clock within Eskimo players.

The Esks traditionally start to practise at 2:30 p.m. in Edmonton, which should be changed next week to late morning or lunch hour at the latest.

While many things surely contributed to Edmonton getting pasted 40-4 in Montreal earlier this year, the 1 p.m. ET start (11 a.m. MT) might have had something to do with the result.

It was the earliest start time of the year and one of the ugliest results.

"That is probably exactly what we will do," said Edmonton receiver Kamau Peterson, on having early practice sessions next week.

"I'd be surprised if we didn't."

Eskimo coaches might also want to tell their players to set the alarm clock a little earlier next week.

The team meal for the East semifinal is apparently going to be at 7 a.m.

- Edmonton receiver Fred Stamps (ankle injury) will not play tomorrow against Montreal (7 p.m., Commonwealth Stadium, CHED) but will likely play next week in Manitoba.

It's an interesting balancing act for the Esks coaching staff because Stamps could play this week but isn't quite 100%.

By resting him, there is no chance of further injury on Friday.

But the talented receiver will enter the playoffs after not playing for a month.

There could be some timing issues between Stamps and Ray in Winnipeg for that reason.

- Receiver Brock Ralph now appears to be stuck on the nine-game injury list for the duration.

While he has recovered from his back problem, the club likely won't activate him to the roster with two games left on his nine-game stay because that would be a significant hit against the salary cap.

So, the best case scenario for Ralph is he's activated for the East final if the team makes it that far and needs his services.

After a career-high 721 yards in Hamilton last year, Ralph has just 164 yards this year with Edmonton.

"This year wasn't the way I envisioned it and I like to say what the organization envisioned," said Ralph.

"There are years in your pro career when you are not going to have breaks."

- The Eskimos will have their regular secondary on the field tomorrow, it seems.

Jordan Younger and Lenny Williams practised yesterday, meaning they should be ready.

Middle linebacker Agustin Barrenechea returned to drills yesterday after a one-day absence.

- Running back AJ Harris and Calvin McCarty both saw time with the first-team offence yesterday in the final full practice before facing Montreal.

After missing last week with a quad injury and a few earlier this fall with an MCL problem, getting Harris one game under his belt before the post-season would be a wise move.


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