Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Quarterback Kerry Joseph Looks to Use Experience at Eskimos' Helm

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Quarterback Kerry Joseph Looks to Use Experience at Eskimos' Helm

Article excerpt

Joseph looks to use experience at Esks' helm

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TORONTO - Edmonton's practice at the Rogers Centre ended in cheers Saturday as all three quarterbacks managed to bang balls off the crossbar with throws from the 55-yard line.

Veteran Kerry Joseph walked off the field with a wide grin, telling teammates it was a sign.

Whatever the portents, the 39-year-old Joseph enters Sunday's CFL Eastern Conference semifinal against the Argonauts with plenty of history.

Joseph's career path reads McNeese State, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, London Monarchs, Rhein Fire, Seattle Seahawks, Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos.

As a pro, he has played quarterback, slotback and safety. He has been celebrated, traded and ignored.

Joseph has been the toast of the CFL, winning the Grey Cup and league's most outstanding player award in 2007. And he has spent an entire season on the outside looking in.

It's no wonder that younger players like linebacker J.C. Sherritt turn to Joseph for advice.

"There's a lot of things I go to Kerry with that aren't even football-related," said the undersized Sherritt, a finalist for defensive player of the year who at five foot nine looks up to average-sized reporters.

"He's been through it all ... If I have any questions about the game, about contracts, finances, life in general, that's the guy you go to."

Joseph gets the start Sunday over 25-year-old Matt Nicholls, who earned praise for his performances against Montreal and Calgary in the final run of the regular season.

Nicholls is the future. But Joseph has the past.

"Kerry's experience with playing against this defence and also post-season experience were probably the biggest factor," said Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed. "We really need to start fast.

"This football team, in the last few weeks, has obviously started off slow and we've been behind the eight-ball and fighting our way back."

Edmonton has yet to score a touchdown on an opening drive this season. But Reed says if the Esks win the toss, they will ask for the ball.

"If we get that opportunity to hit them in the mouth first, we have to take advantage of it," Joseph said.

Like Edmonton, Toronto has found itself in arrears too often early on in games -- giving up points on the back of costly mistakes.

While Joseph gets the start Sunday, Reed says he won't hesitate to go to Nichols if needed.

"We are prepared to make a quarterback change if necessary," he said. "And hopefully it's not."

Reed praised Joseph for his attitude, saying he has remained a mentor to Nichols even while they joust for the starter's position.

"Their relationship is phenomenal."

The Eskimos (7-11) beat Toronto (9-9) in both meetings this season but lost five straight after their 26-17 win over the Argos on Aug. 27 and finished out the season 2-8. …

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