Jyles' job to lose?

Steven Jyles takes part in an Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback mini-camp practice at the indoor...

Steven Jyles takes part in an Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback mini-camp practice at the indoor training facility at Commonwealth Stadium last month. (QMI Agency)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:56 PM ET

QB, or not QB?

“That’s the question coming into camp,” said Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed, who opened training camp for rookies and quarterbacks on Wednesday amid a crowd of media gathered to find out who will replace Ricky Ray. “No, I’m not going to get tired of that question.”

And to ensure that his top throwers don’t get tired either, Reed is keeping both Steven Jyles and Kerry Joseph out of drills until main camp begins Sunday.

“We, as a coaching staff, decided that we’re going to not allow those guys to throw in the rookie camp because we know that they’re going to take the vast majority of the reps in the main camp,” Reed said. “It’s going to be a very competitive one between the two of them. Steven, obviously, coming in No. 1 on the depth chart, but we expect that Kerry’s going to make him work to keep that spot.”

So it’s Jyles’s to lose, as the sixth-year CFLer is making his second stint with the Eskimos since entering the professional ranks with Edmonton in 2006 and ’07.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the No. 1 guy,” said Jyles. “I look forward to coming into camp and having a chance to compete for the starting job and being looked upon to be one of their future leaders.”

But the team needs one now, after trading away their franchise quarterback in an off-season deal with Toronto, where Jyles played the second half of the season after Cleo Lemon was unceremoniously fired.

A shoulder injury sustained at the end of 2010 kept Jyles from competing for a starting role out of camp last year with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

There, he was lined up to be the top pivot before Buck Pierce was brought in only to be injured and replaced by Jyles five weeks into the schedule.

Eleven starts later, Jyles was injured in a nightmare game that also saw Alex Brink lost for the season in a 27-8 loss to Toronto and handing the reins to Joey Elliott.

“It was something you couldn’t believe, we lost two quarterbacks that game and one other guy got nicked up,” Jyles said. “Now I’m healthy and I’m having a chance.

“I have a little experience as far as playing in games.”

But he has never experienced the scrutiny he is preparing for along with the rest of the quarterbacks with all eyes on their position during training camp.

“We talk about it all the time with the group. Myself and Kerry, we both talk about how we have to fill big shoes here and we have to keep the tradition going here,” Jyles said. “We have to step in and be leaders just like Ricky Ray.”

Fortunately, Jyles has history of his own to draw upon when it comes to playing for the home team in Commonwealth Stadium.

“When I played here behind Ricky, I learned a lot from Ricky,” Jyles said. “I still have throws in my mind that I watched Ricky perform.

“Memories like that come back to my mind from when I was here before.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SunModdejonge


Photos