Secondary issues

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

Aside from shuffling their secondary, the Edmonton Eskimos have held on to pretty much the same hand as far as the rest of last year's starters go.

While some other teams have been busy rebuilding from the ground up over the past few months, Eskimos fans might take their club's relative inactivity as a sign of encouragement.

"Yeah, I think they should be encouraged," said head coach Richie Hall.

"When I look at our season last year, we were 9-9 but I don't look at that as a negative because we were a team in transition.

"We were developing to see what kind of team that we're going to have. We were a better team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year and that's what we wanted.

"We went through a transformation during the end of the season. You look at the secondary that we had at the beginning of the year and the secondary we had at the end of the year, everything is in a process."

Those changes to the secondary roughout the off-season, while the rest of the roster remained neatly intact.

"At some point in time, you've got to come together and allow the players that you have to jell together and that's one of the things that we've done in the off-season," Hall said.

IN AND OUT:The sudden release of veteran defensive back Anthony Malbrough couldn't have come at a more convenient time.

After requesting his walking papers when he was unable to renegotiate the option season of his two-year contract, Malbrough was cut loose on the same day rookie camp opened this week, making way for plenty of potential replacements.

"It's not like we didn't see this coming," said Eskimos general manager Danny Maciocia.

A big absence from the practice field on Thursday was six-foot-eight, 310-pound offensive lineman Clifford Lewis out of Morgan State, who sat out with bumps and bruises.


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