EDMONTON - And then there were ... 78?
While other teams across the CFL are paring down their numbers throughout training camp in anticipation of Saturday’s deadline to finalize rosters, the Edmonton Eskimos seem to be building towards one big bang.
“We’re being very careful. There are going to be a few guys that we probably are going to release before the next game,” said head coach Kavis Reed, who faces the Calgary Stampeders in Commonwealth Stadium on Friday. “But the competition is so close that we’re going to try to keep as many guys as we possibly can to make certain that we evaluate them fairly and that we have enough guys in case there are injuries that we have to account for.”
So far, its been the more the merrier throughout the first two weeks of camp. But all teams will soon be required to chop their numbers down to a 46-man active roster and seven-man practice squad. Plus any injuries.
“We’re not mandated to make any cuts until Saturday of this week, so we’re going to be very judicious in terms of the process of evaluating these guys,” Reed said. “The competition is good, we’re going to make certain those guys have a fair opportunity.”
Meaning the weather better be more co-operative this week than in their preseason opener in Regina.
“There was a bit of an imbalance because of the weather in terms of some guys with the playing time into the wind,” Reed said. “So we’re going to make certain, and hopefully the weather conditions are good, that we can balance that and evaluate those guys.”
But evaluation is only part of the Eskimos’ game plan this week, as starters like Ricky Ray and Fred Stamps will want to warm up for the regular season.
“We do know that our starting guys that we see right now will play extensively,” Reed said. “All the other guys where the competition is heated, we’ll roll through and try to balance the reps, but we’re going to try to get as close as we can.”