Esks due for lineup makeover

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:50 PM ET

Once a new head coach is in place, Eskimos GM Eric Tillman plans to shift his focus to the makeup of the 2011 version of the team.

Tillman’s bottom line has always been the bottom line, and he has now signalled the time has come to put his own stamp on this team.

Among the philosophical differences Tillman articulated was fired head coach Richie Hall’s apparent reluctance to make “tough decisions on veteran players.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with loyalty to players, as long as they’re bringing home the Ws.

That’s put more than a few player futures in doubt — from the obvious ones like Jason Maas, to those who outright flunk their performance evaluations, to veterans who will be moved out just because they will be deemed not worth the money they’re being paid.

“In a salary-cap era, if you have a veteran team, you have less flexibility,” said Tillman.

Get ready for a holy-spit type of off-season when some fan favourites will be discarded.

It’s a style Tillman had demonstrated he’s more than comfortable with.

“What we did in Saskatchewan got me barbecued every off-season,” said Tillman. “Some of the moves we made, where we lost some high-priced veterans in the off-season and went younger.

“Some of the people we lost, we respected tremendously, but we felt from a cap standpoint, we couldn’t afford to go there.”

Younger, faster, cheaper now becomes the new mantra.

“I would like to be a younger team with better team speed on both sides of the ball,” said Tillman.

With only four players eligible for free agency, a signed contract cannot be deemed a guarantee of a job in 2011. That situation inherited from former GM Danny Maciocia has given Tillman more breathing room.

“Contractually, we are in good shape in terms of where we have very few free agents,” said Tillman. “As a result, we get to make a lot of those decisions.”


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