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The Rouge: Who is the Eskimos' best option at QB?

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Ben Fisher, TSN.ca
9/19/2012 3:26:26 PM
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The Edmonton Eskimos managed one three-headed monster position last week; now it looks like they've got another one to deal with, possibly for the rest of the year.

The Eskimos handled their logjam at running back by deactivating Cory Boyd and running exclusively with Hugh Charles and Jerome Messam. They have a similar situation brewing at the quarterback position, with three candidates to choose from.

But, whereas they were dealing from a position of strength with their running backs – benching the league's leading rusher through the first seven weeks of the season in exchange for last year's Most Outstanding Canadian and a first-time starter making the most of his opportunity – the QBs don't collectively present nearly as enticing an option.

Edmonton's options down the stretch – health permitting of course – include 38-year-old Kerry Joseph, who prior to this year had thrown just 31 passes since 2009; Steven Jyles, the pivot received in the Ricky Ray trade; and Matt Nichols, the 25-year-old rookie with just seven pass attempts to his name this season.

A case could surely be made for the Eskimos to go with the young guy. Nichols has a shot to be Edmonton's QB of the future, where Joseph and Jyles do not. If all three QBs are playing at a comparable level, it makes sense to go with the kid who can gain experience and build on his potential.

Most teams in a similar situation as the Eskimos, QB wise, would opt for that route; but most teams in that situation aren't in the thick of a playoff chase.

Despite being tied for the worst record in the West Division with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-6), Edmonton holds a playoff spot by virtue of the cross-over.

That could plausibly tip the scales towards the veteran Joseph, who has previous playoff experience when he led the Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory in 2007.

Or, the Eskimos could do their best to stay the course with Jyles. Despite his inconsistencies, Jyles leads the team in passing this season. After coming over in the Ray trade, it appeared Edmonton's spot under centre was the 29-year-old's to lose.

Of course, with Joseph out this week after the pounding he took in Hamilton, the answer to the question may simply to go with the player who is healthiest.

The Rouge asks: With the playoffs still very much in grasp, who should the Eskimos start at quarterback?

Kerry Joseph (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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