EDMONTON — Edmonton Eskimos GM Ed Hervey could barely contain his excitement.
Meeting with the media for the first time since acquiring QB Mike Reilly from the BC Lions, Hervey let it be known that under his watch, the Eskimos plan on being a much better team under centre in 2013.
“I’d like to put it in these words, the quarterback competition is officially on,” said Hervey
“We needed to solidify that position, we needed to get depth at the position and moving forward we want elite talent at that position. And we feel we got that by acquiring Mike Reilly today,” he said with a smile.
Prior to making the deal on Thursday, Hervey made no secret of his intentions to improve the Eskimos passing game. It all started two weeks ago when the Eskimos released veteran QB Steven Jyles, which was explained by Hervey as an opportunity to find a new quarterback, while establishing room on the roster for him.
While Reilly has just two career CFL starts under his belt, Hervey clearly believes that his new addition will drastically improve his club’s efforts in the air.
“I like his demeanor, on the field he’s a pro,” said Hervey.
“In the games that he has played he’s shown poise, plenty of athleticism and he’s a typical CFL quarterback. He gets the ball down the field; he’s got the personality that you want. He’s everything that you want in an Eskimo quarterback,” he added.
Reilly, 28, arrives in Edmonton looking to take over the starting job under centre. The Central Washington product started two games for the Lions in 2012, completing 53 of 77 passes for 694 yards and four touchdowns.
His first start saw him earn a 39-19 win over the Esks, while his second saw him drop a 41-21 decision to the Stampeders.
However, is he the right person to lead the Esks back towards the top of the West Division?
Hervey thinks that there’s no reason to believe he isn’t.
“He has everything that you want, potential, he’s been in the CFL long enough to know the game,” he explained.
“You’re not going to get an opportunity out there in BC with (Travis Lulay) and he feels that he is ready, we feel that he’s ready but it’s a competition.”
The competition at quarterback in Edmonton will likely feature Reilly and incumbent Matt Nichols, who sustained an ankle injury during the Eskimos’ loss to the Argonauts in the Eastern Semi-Final back in November that required him to get surgery.
Hervey, however, doesn’t want Reilly’s presence to shed any negative light on Nichols, who according to Hervey is still very much in the mix to start at QB for the Green and Gold in 2013.
“If Matt Nichols comes into camp ready and healthy it’s going to be a really good competition between both quarterbacks,” he said.
“We’re excited about the opportunity; and we believe our fans will be excited about the new wave of quarterbacks as well.”