Kerry Joseph gets Eskimos' nod to start against Hamilton

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:41 AM ET

EDMONTON - Kerry Joseph starts on Saturday.

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed was pretty emphatic when he announced who his starting quarterback will be this week.

On a team that's looking to bounce back after a pair of losses, the decision boils down to certainty.

Reed seems unwilling to gamble on giving Steven Jyles No. 1 reps should Jyles fall short of the 95% healthy benchmark.

Jyles is healthy enough to start the week as backup and took over the No 2 reps during Monday's workouts.

"To be quite honest, if Kerry continues the way he has, we may look at that as the option for us," said Reed. "This franchise deserves every opportunity to be playing at the end of the year, so we're going to stick with Kerry for now."

Joseph played well enough in the two setbacks to Calgary, putting the team in position where it had a chance to win.

"My expectation is to come to work and prepare," said Joseph, who deserved a better fate than having a pair of L's tagged to his starts.

"When I'm out there, I'm doing the things I'm asked to do to give the team a chance to win. The last two games we came up short, so I feel we can do better."

It's certainly not totally a matter of redemption. In Joseph's eyes, it's more about being able to close the deal.

"I don't look at it as: 'Do I deserve to start, have I done enough?' It's not about me," said Joseph. "It's about what coach wants to do with this team, what he feels best to do for this team to win."

Jyles will have to wait until later this week to have his calf-muscle injury further evaluated.

"It felt good today in practice," said Jyles. "I don't know exactly what it is. The soreness is gone, the pain is gone. We just have to run and push it and see how it is."

At this time of the season, most active roster players are fighting through an assortment of bumps and bruises.

In that context, Jyles said he could start if he had to.

"Coach made it clear he wanted me to be 100% and at the end of the week last week, I wasn't 100% yet," said Jyles. "I don't know where I am right now."

Somewhere short of 100%, would be a good guess.

"There's no more pain there, but it's still weak," said Jyles. "I'm pretty confident where I am right now because I've been getting better,"

Given the way Joseph has performed the past two weeks, Jyles is confident the team will be in good hands.

"Kerry's been doing a great job," said Jyles. "Watching a guy like Kerry go out and perform at a high level makes me more ready to play and showcase my talent. It helps to sit back and watch a veteran like Kerry, see his poise and composure in the pocket."

Maybe next week.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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