The battle for the backup quarterback job will take a back seat Thursday when undisputed No. 1 Anthony Calvillo gets the start for the Montreal Alouettes in a CFL preseason game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Montreal coach Don Matthews said Wednesday it will be Calvillo's decision how long he will stay in the game in the order to get himself ready for the regular season opener June 16 at home against Winnipeg.
When Calvillo's done, the two veterans vying for the backup job, Marcus Brady and Nealon Greene, will get their last chance to show what they can do before cuts are made Friday.
"I'm sure A.C. will play the entire first half and then we'll ask him if he wants more reps," Matthews said. "After that, we'll decide which of the remaining quarterbacks go second and third.
"The order in which they go will have no bearing on their position. I haven't decided yet."
The Alouettes released inexperienced backup Ted White after last season and for the first time in years should have one with a bone fide CFL track record.
Calvillo missed the Als' opening pre-season game last week, a 25-24 victory in Winnipeg in which Brady looked sharper than Greene and another candidate, Scott McBrien.
The second meeting between the teams will see more veterans in general on the field. One Bombers player who will be closely watched will be former NFL star running back Onterrio Smith.
Incumbent Charles Roberts is to start at tailback while Smith is slated to play the second half. He will also return kicks, said coach Doug Berry.
"Every time I go out on the field I want to prove something to help my team come up with the win," said Smith, a former Minnesota Viking who was cut and signed as a free agent with Winnipeg while serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"What I'm looking forward to is using every ounce of energy in my body to help my team -- leaving it all on the field."
Berry, who has his team on the field at Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal for 90 minutes, said limits on roster size dictate that only one can have the tailback job, but Smith said he can be a "compliment" to the diminutive but elusive Roberts.
"He comes in with speed and quickness and I'll go in with my combination of skills," said Smith. "I'll be a great compliment to him."
The Blue Bombers will start incumbent Kevin Glenn at quarterback, although Berry has not handed him the No. 1 job yet. He will likely split playing time evenly with Russ Michna and Mike Quinn.
Berry said there were 10 or 12 jobs still to be decided..
The Alouettes have two starting jobs to fill -- middle linebacker and defensive back.
Four players -- Dwayne Taylor, Grant Steen, Louis Mackey and Dwayne Levels -- are all in the running for the linebacking job and "we could pick any one out of a hat and be right, but we want to find out exactly who it is," said Matthews.
The defensive back position got interesting when Montreal released former Ottawa Renegade Greg Moss on Thursday, leaving Clint Kent, Chip Cox and others battling for the job.
Matthews also wants to find another rush end.
But most eyes will be on the quarterbacks.
Calvillo, a 13-year veteran who is in the process of rewriting the Alouettes record book for career passing and scoring statistics, is not in danger of losing his job.
But Brady and Greene are in a dogfight for the backup role.
"One of the reasons I came to Montreal is that I knew I could compete for the backup position," said Brady, a former Toronto Argonaut. "I knew they were in need of one over the years.
"When A.C. went down, they struggled."
Now Brady needs to outplay Greene in front of home fans.
"I just have to keep improving," he said. "Last week, I thought I played pretty well, but there's room for improvement.
"Now, I know the offence a little better. It's a matter of going out on the field and moving the ball and putting points on the board. But I know A.C. needs his reps to get ready for Game 1."
Greene is equally hungry to show what he can do.
"I'm confident," he said. "It all comes down to transferring it over to the field.
"You go out with a plan, but things happen and you have to adjust. The quicker you do it and make plays is what separates the average quarterbacks from the great ones."
Matthews said he will also looking at Canadian players who may make the squad on special teams, and mentioned impressive rookie linebacker Etienne Boulay, a Montreal native who played at New Hampshire.