CALGARY - If Steven Jyles sees the writing on the wall, the only thing it’s telling him is: ‘Get well soon.’
The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback isn’t reading anything more into Kerry Joseph starting today’s Labour Day Classic and fully expects to be back under centre by the time Friday’s rematch kicks off.
After starting all previous eight games this season, Jyles has been bumped down to No. 3 on the depth chart due to a recurring calf injury that also saw Joseph take over last week on the way to a win in Toronto.
While it could make for a timely opportunity for the Eskimos to reconsider their personnel in a passing game that is ranked dead last in the league when it comes to both points and yards produced, Jyles isn’t worried about losing his job.
“I’m not reading anything into it,” Jyles said. “The bottom line is I’m not 100% and we have a reliable backup quarterback who can come in and play.
“He’s just as good as a starter and he knows the offence and we’re going forward with him to get a win.”
While the decision was made on Sunday, Jyles was being monitored on a daily basis while preparing as though he would make the start.
“It is (disappointing), but I have to trust the judgement of my trainers, the coaches and myself,” Jyles said.
“I’m not 100%, and I’d rather be 100% out there with the guys and give my best effort rather than going out there not 100% and not being able to play to a high expectation.”
Instead, Jyles will be listed as the third-stringer behind Matt Nichols and will only be activated if an emergency arises.
“If needed, then I will be ready to step in if I have to,” Jyles said.
But the plan is to give him some time off to help heal the leg injury, which he sustained against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers back in Week 5.
“It was bothering me for about three weeks, I’ve been playing through it,” said Jyles.
“The hit (last week) in Toronto aggravated it a little more.
“When you take a serious hit, it gets better, but as soon as you take another hit you’re back to square one.
“They’re just being cautious about it because you don’t want to go out unnecessarily and take a hit that will knock you out for the season.”
So when Jyles felt a twinge in his leg during Saturday’s practice, his condition was reassessed.
“Essentially, we are not comfortable with him starting this week given the fact that we don’t think mentally and physically right now he’s at optimal,” said head coach Kavis Reed, adding Joseph’s performance last week didn’t factor into the decision.
“I think the overriding factor was Steven’s health.
“Given the fact that we’re just reaching the halfway point of the season and Steven is our No. 1 quarterback, we don’t want to jeopardize him in a game that is going to be very intense.
“We expect that he will be available to us on Friday as the starter ... but right now we don’t feel comfortable making him the starting quarterback.”