Kerry Joseph gunning for Eskies' Starting job

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For the last two years, Kerry Joseph knew his place on the Edmonton Eskimos.

A veteran quarterback brought in to mentor the young guns and take all the third-and-short risks away from the since-traded Ricky Ray, Joseph suddenly finds himself as the most experienced pivot in the system heading into training camp in June.

While not a lot of expectations are on the 38-year-old to regain the same form that saw him lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the 2007 Grey Cup on the way to being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player, there is no denying the remarkable opportunity he now has to earn back a starting gig.

“I just look at it as a great opportunity to come in and compete, make each other better and be good at that quarterback spot,? Joseph said. “You know there’s going to be a lot hanging over that position.?

Which is why the Eskimos, who traded Ricky Ray to the Toronto Argonauts in December, jumped at the chance to get a look — along with their fans — at their five signed quarterbacks during a three-day mini-camp, which wraps up Friday at the Commonwealth Stadium fieldhouse from 9-10:30 a.m.

“But like I told the guys, we’re not Ricky. We have to be ourselves and we have to be good within ourselves,? said Joseph, who could just as easily be keeping his advice to himself as he pursues the top spot on the depth chart.

But he won’t.

Next to Joseph, Steven Jyles is the next most-veteran quarterback entering his seventh season, having spent his first two in Edmonton. He is turning 30 this year and is currently slated as the team’s top quarterback coming into training camp. After them, Matt Nichols and Eric Ward both just turned 25, while 23-year-old Jeremiah Masoli is entering his rookie season north of the border after being released from the San Francisco 49ers training camp last year.

“It just comes naturally,? Joseph said of his mentorship role. “Sooner or later, I’ve got to depart from this game and these guys are going to be left to play the game.

“If I can look back and see guys that I had a chance to mentor having success on the field, I’d feel that I did my job. But at the same time, I’ll come out here and get my work in. I feel that if I come out here and be my best, I’m mentoring them that way, too.?

After reaching the pinnacle of the CFL five years ago, Joseph has never been in the position to repeat either the championship or the MOP performance.

Leaving Saskatchewan following 2007, his time in Toronto marked his two worst years as a starter since joining the CFL in his rookie season in 2003, as the Argos missed playoffs both times.

Joseph finally made it back to the post-season last year behind Ray. This time, he has a chance to take the lead.

“It would be nice,? Joseph said. “I would be lying to you if I said I would settle but at the same time I don’t make those decisions.?

All he can control is his mind and body, which looks in better shape than a lot of players 10 years younger.

“I’m just glad for this opportunity, man. I feel rejuvenated, there’s just a sense of youth in me right now,? said Joseph, who hung around for a series of wind sprints after everyone else left Thursday’s practice.

Clearly KJ has been on the decline the past several years and having said that if he is in the picture for the starting QB although Jyles has to be there, boy are the Esks in trouble.

i guess the possibility of KJ starting for the eskies is one that noone has really thought of.

if the KJ of 2007 shows up, the eskies might be in good shape after all.

It'll be interesting how he does in camp and if he can give the coaches there something to think about without RR around.

sounds like the coaches are already thinking about it, earl.
cfl.ca has an article with coach kavis reed talking about KJ pushing for the job.

it almost sounds like kavis is getting fans ready to expect KJ as the starter.

I think that K.J. , got an unfair deal in , Toronto.
He was expected to do every thing when the Argos had a terrible O-LINE.
I don't care how good a person is at Q.B. , if a team has no O-LINE then what can 1 player do?
In Toronto , K.J. , spent most of his time running for his life. :roll:
SASK. , had a much better O-LINE than the Argos did when he played for , SASK.

A Q.B. , is only as good as his O-LINE. Just ask , Anthony Calvillo.
For years Montreal had the best O-LINE in the league. They gave A.C. , all day to throw.
Just ask Montreal's running backs.
A.C. , threw most of his interceptions when he was under pressure.

This could get ugly for the Eskies at the QB position. :thup:

"DIDO" KJ played very little the last 2 years as QB and looked, well, Bad. How would he have gotten so much better in the off season.
Jyles also IS NOT A STARTER NEVER HAS BEEN. How did he get so good in the off season??
But wait. Ward look the best on all QB in training camp last spring including Ricky that I observed. Very very very rarely can a QB become a starter without game experience/ Jyles/Ward/Nichols.. Its TOTAL different when your given the ball.
Here your our starter. Defences will be licking there Lips. Just look at the sucess of TO or Hamilton with out a quallity qb.

KJ had a few good years with the Renegades and clearly the Riders won the GC inspite of him.
Tillman in seeing this and having a great up and comer as Darian Durant, unloaded KJ and his heafty salary which surprisingly increased due to the desperate Argo team.
As a season ticket holder, I can tell you that I carefully watched him for the 2 years and his best before date had clearly passed.
Now it is somewhat ironic that ET has brought him back full circle more so I would guess the last year as a decent backup.
I can't understand the thought of KJ being in the mix and especially since last year and what little spot duty he had it was far from impressive.
Plus he is what 37 and has has lost more then a step, how about two?

That whole thing is rigged between Kavis and Kerry. They have to say that to get the best out of Jyles. They have nobody else to push him right now. Also read somewhere Tillman will get an extension before the season starts ! Smart guy :slight_smile:

This is what I hope is going on. :thup:

Yeah, there is no way the Eskimos are going to go with Kerry Joseph. Jyles is far superior regardless what people say. Having said that, if Jyles doesn't wow them, expect Matt Nicholls or Eric Ward to start. Tillman has been praising them for a while now and he clearly believes in them for him to trade Ricky Ray for what he got.

Joseph will be holding a clip board once again. No CFL team can start with him and expect to win. This isn't 2007.

I agree geroy_simon_081; Steve Jyles will be the starter to face Rick Ray on June 30th at Commonwealth to open the season.

Am I the only one who thinks Jyles was really good in 2010? People only want to remember him in Toronto last year where he had no one to throw to before Mann came.

Agreed. Kavis Reed is no fool. There is no way he could honestly believe Kerry Joseph is capable of being a starter at this stage in his career, but his GM has left him with very little choice except to pump KJ's tires and hope it motivates Jyles to excel.

Maybe the two of them will end up making a good tandem. Who knows what training camp will bring.

You're right, it could happen. But man, on the face of it, I'd be highly upset if I were an Esks fan. No proven starter, only two retreads, no Messam, and the receiving corps has gotten worse in the offseason too. Then you have the loss of Stubler, Davis, and Peach on the defensive side of the ball.

The Eskimos and the the Ticats are both crossing their little toes and hoping their nfl defections get cut.

You obviously have a valid point about the QBs and RBs, but I disagree about the receiving corps getting worse. They only lost Barnes, but signed Carr, Koch, Matt Carter, Hargreaves(according to twitter), added Steptoe and Figurs (two small-ish ex-NFL draft picks, Figurs with a 4.3 forty), and likely have the chance to take Shawmawd Chambers at the draft. They retained Stamps, Bowman, Marcus Henry, Dobson Collins, Nowacki, and Coehoorn will also be a year older and may be ready to contribute on offence. Receiver is probably the smallest area of concern.

Not worried about losing Peach with Julius Williams and Marcus Howard at DE, along with the return of Rashad Jeanty. The loss of Davis does concern me though.

Thanks for pointing that out. You have a strong case, but IMO losing one of your top receivers from last year is still a loss, no matter how many ex-NFL guys you bring in. But you're right that the depth is there. So receiver isn't a dire issue.