EDMONTON - Is it just coincidence that the 2012 CFL season is mirroring the early career of Steven Jyles?
The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback kicked things off in the same city where it all began, against a quarterback he backed up in his first year playing professional football in 2006.
And he is following up last week’s 19-15 win over Ricky Ray’s Toronto Argonauts with a game in Regina Sunday against Darian Durant and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the team that marked the second stop in Jyles’s football journey.
Five days after that, the Eskimos will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — the team Jyles took over for after the oft-injured Buck Pierce went down five weeks into the 2010 season.
That will make three straight games against three starting quarterbacks Jyles studied under as he plots his course through his first CFL season as a starter out of the gates.
“I truly believe the CFL has a number of talented quarterbacks and every week it will be a competition with these guys,” said the 29-year-old Jyles. “But my focus is on the defence. I let our defence worry about Durant, I’m going to focus on their defence and being able to move the ball and score points.”
Not that he didn’t pick up a few tricks of the trade as a journeyman under Ray and Durant.
“Saskatchewan, they have a good football team and with Darian as their leader, he’s an explosive guy offensively. So you have to go in and be ready to match points-for-points with this guy,” Jyles said. “From studying him, Durant is a guy who can create with his legs. He’ll keep a play alive and make big plays through scrambling.
“Watching him play for a couple of years, I saw that a play is only dead when you decide for it to be dead. Durant is a guy who can make plays with his feet and I took that from him, as well.”
Just like he took things from Ray’s approach to becoming one of the most accurate passers ever to play the game.
“I have my own style. I can create with my legs as Durant does, but Durant is a big-time scrambler. He sees things on the run a little better than myself,” Jyles said. “But I’m a pocket guy, sort of, like Ricky Ray. I don’t mind throwing in the pocket and throwing the ball, so I would like to say that I can do a little of both.”
On Sunday, Jyles will return to Mosaic Stadium (5 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED), where he made his first-ever CFL start in 2008.
“It was in Saskatchewan against Edmonton. I think Durant was injured, or something. I came off the bench the week before but played well so they were like, ‘We’re going to let him start against Edmonton,’ ” Jyles recalled. “I enjoyed my time there, but now it’s time to go and get two points from those guys.
“If you can go in and get two points against those guys, it’s huge because of the environment they pack and the energy they come out on the field with.”
IN AND OUT: OL Greg Wojt (leg) sat out practice for the second day in a row Thursday and is questionable for Sunday’s game … WR Matt Carter went down with a leg injury midway through Thursday's practice … DE Rashad Jeanty was also absent Thursday.