It's day-to-day time

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Job security is real simple in the Canadian Football League. Just do it.

With the Edmonton Eskimos on a two-game losing streak going into tonight's test against the Montreal Alouettes, it's day-to-day for a few players at a few positions.

"Aug. 30 - 4 p.m. Eastern,'' said Danny Maciocia yesterday.

That's the time frame for the next round of National Football League cuts - late cuts.

"I'll be on the phone at 4:15.''

Maciocia will be monitoring two Canadians in particular, receiver Brock Ralph, who left the Eskimos to take a shot with the New York Jets, and Eskimos' 2002 draft choice Dahrann Diedrick, a running back out of Nebraska.

EPSTEIN IN

In the meantime, Maciocia showed that losses will mean moves as he made it official yesterday by listing Hayden Epstein as his kicker and demoting Sean Fleming to punter-only status.

Maciocia was also called on to discuss the concept of finally making Michael Jenkins's phone ring despite the obvious lack of a running game here and how that might play out for Ron McLendon, who moves back into the lineup tonight in place of healthy scratch Elvis Joseph.

Does picking up someone like Jenkins off the used running back lot, at this stage, mean the Eskimos don't think they're going to get what they were waiting for from the NFL cuts?

Maciocia, in the Eskimos' pre-game press conference, also opened up in discussing the Epstein-Fleming situation.

"We can't settle for anything less than a field goal when we get to the red zone,'' said Maciocia, who saw Fleming cost him a game in Montreal - the missed field goal that Ezra Landry returned for a touchdown, which turned out to be a 10-point swing.

"I don't know where this is headed. If Epstein makes field goals from 52 yards like he has been here all week, you guys are going to be all over me to make the change permanent,'' he said.

To most veteran observers, the move is looked at more as a wake-up call for Fleming. There's no real history of CFL teams going with imports at the position.

But Maciocia says if one team can do it, it's this one.

"It doesn't happen very often. But we can afford to do it. We made a lot of moves in the off-season which allow us to do it,'' he said of the depth in Canadian starting talent on the team.

"We're covered at every position,'' he said.

"My preference would be to have one guy do both,'' he said of having a Canadian kicker/punter.

"But you have to come up with the points.''

Jenkins, cut by the Alouettes earlier this season, had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in the CFL in 2001 and 2002. And while the Eskimos have been without a running game all season and Jenkins had been sitting waiting for the phone to ring for over a month, Maciocia says he was doing his homework on the guy.

"I really researched it. I spoke to a lot of people. He's good to go.

"Jenkins is a Mike Pringle-type of running back. He's the kind of back I'm used to seeing,'' said the coach who had Pringle as an assistant coach first in Montreal and for the past two years in Edmonton.

BALANCED OFFENCE

Maciocia says he believes in a balanced offence. If anything, he was known as a running game offensive co-ordinator.

"That's who I've been up to now,'' he admitted.

So why haven't the Eskimos given McClendon or Joseph more than token time carrying the football?

"A lack of confidence to call their number,'' he said of what the coaches see in practice.

Obviously, McClendon has one last chance to really turn some heads, or Jenkins is, at least, going to get a look.

"We're not just giving him the job. We need to see him do it.''


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