|The Eskimos had five quarterbacks at mini-camp this year, but could pare that number down to four by the time the season starts. (David Bloom, Edmonton Sun)
EDMONTON - So much for the sneak preview. Now it’s hurry up and wait for Edmonton Eskimos training camp on June 3.
With a three-day mini camp in the books, coaches now have exactly six weeks to prepare for the process of selecting their 2012 squad.
While all eyes will be on who wins the competition to replace Ricky Ray as starting quarterback, head coach Kavis Reed said that process has already begun.
Steven Jyles, Kerry Joseph, Matt Nichols, Eric Ward and Jeremiah Masoli were being ranked under heavy scrutiny as part of 16 Eskimos involved in the offence-only mini-camp that took pace in the Commonwealth Stadium fieldhouse.
“We want to have the depth chart going into training camp so we can fairly distribute the reps,” Reed said. “We have a football game to play against Toronto at the beginning of the year and we want to make certain that the first guy gets enough reps to give us the confidence that he’s ready to play.
“This is going to be a part of it.”
At the very least, the past three days gave the quarterbacks a chance to shake off some off-season rust.
“Obviously this is the first time that they have really thrown in about six months, so we have to take that into consideration,” Reed said. “But it’s still an indication as to whether or not we were correct in terms of our initial depth chart.”
One that slated Jyles in the top spot ever since the surprising trade that sent Ray to the Toronto Argonauts in December.
“We can make an educated decision that Steven continues to be the guy who will be on the top of the depth chart. Kerry is not very far behind, if not as a 1A-1B kind of situation,” Reed said. “Matt Nichols has really done wonderful things in this mini-camp and that has really established him as a guy who we’re going to have to strongly consider as a part of the race for the No. 2 and 3 spot.
“Eric didn’t come in with the pop that we expected, but he has done some things that say, mentally, he’s still sharp.”
Then there is Masoli, a one-time potential Heisman trophy candidate who got his first look at the CFL this week and remains a prospect, at best, for the Eskimos.
“Jeremiah, we know, is not going to be a part of the equation for this year unless he absolutely wows us in the preseason,” Reed said, who expects to carry four QBs like last season — that is, if you count Nichols, who was held off the 46-man active roster the entire year due to an undisclosed injury. “We saw the potential in him and felt that it was worth keeping around.
“If the guys look good enough, we’ll see if we can have the roster room for five.”