Esks name Jyles starting QB

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Steven Jyles attempts a pass against the B.C. Lions during pre-season...

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Steven Jyles attempts a pass against the B.C. Lions during pre-season CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

EDMONTON - Steven Jyles is the starter for The Ricky Ray Game.

When we last left head coach Kavis Reed following the home pre-season loss to the B.C. Lions in which Jyles was totally ineffective, the Edmonton Eskimos starting quarterback to open the season was TBD.

“To be determined,” said Reed.

Sunday Reed got right to it.

“Before anyone asks, because I know it’s going to be the question of the day, we’ve decided, as a coaching staff, we’re going to go with Steven Jyles as our starting quarterback for the Toronto Argonauts on June 30th.”

Which is good. It means there will be one player from the Ricky Ray trade who will actually make it to the field to start the season.

Reed’s media availability also included the announcement that the Eskimos had decided to parachute import kicker Swayze Waters in at the last minute to start the season instead of going with kicker Grant Shaw.

Jyles, Shaw and a draft choice were traded for Ray.

The draft choice turned into OL Austin Pasztor who is going to training camp with the NFL Minnesota Vikings.

While it looked like Reed was ready to say to hell with it and go with Kerry Joseph to start the season, Joseph was still 38-years-old when he woke up in the morning after the pre-season game in which he was by far the best Eskimo quarterback out there.

“It’s what we felt as a coaching staff was the best opportunity for our football team to be successful Saturday,” said Reed of Jyles, who didn’t get his first down until the last play of the first quarter. He also only managed two first downs before he was out a few plays later having completed four of seven passes for 53 yards and ran twice for 14 as the Eskimos put one point on the board.

“Not that Kerry cannot lead our football team, but for all the things immediate and in the near and distant future, Steven Jyles is the option that we chose,” Reed continued.

“The quarterbacking position is so important to the temperament of the team that those guys need to have confidence that there is one quarterback, that he’s going to be the focal point of our offence and mainly the focal point of our team. We don’t want to create any indecision when it comes to that position.”

Uh, like it’d been around here for nine years with Ray?

“Steven is our quarterback.”

He said he’s not asking Jyles to get out there and be Ray.

“Our biggest concern is that he’s going to go out there and try to play like Ray. We don’t want him to play outside himself and try to be a super hero. We’re telling him ‘You’re not Ricky Ray, you’re Steven Jyles. Ricky Ray is an established starter, you’re still on that path. Go out and score enough points for us to win. Don’t turn the football over. Don’t think you have to score 42 points to win the football game.’

“What we expect is for him to manage the game, manage certain situations, protect the football and if we have as good field position as we had in the pre-season, make sure we come away with points,” he said of the quarterback who was two-and-out in his first three possessions from midfield against the Lions.

When your correspondent asked Reed how he could defend giving a lacking-in-confidence Jyles just over a quarter of pre-season game play, the sophomore head coach defended it.

“The things we are going to do on Saturday, we did in practice. You can’t simulate game situations, but we were very efficient in practice and Steven got more than 70% of the reps with the first team offence.

Reed did say prior to the start of training camp that he planned to take a highly unusual path of preparation prior to the start of the season, that it would involved 75% preparation for The Ricky Ray game and 25% of normal training camp.

“We are confident in the game plan we have. We have been working on it since spring. There was a reason, or a method to our madness, as to why we did not play as many snaps with Steven Jyles at quarterback.”

The element of surprise?

Steven Jyles playing well would shock the spit out of the Argos.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos