Argos should handle limping Lions

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

The betting line still suggests the Argos are underdogs, but common sense suggests otherwise.

The B.C. Lions arrive in Toronto dragging back-to-back losses with them and perhaps most crucial, a change in their starting quarterback that was dictated by injury.

Casey Printers finally gave in to his injuries and will sit out at the suggestion of team doctors. His absence leaves the Lions offence in the hands of a rather green Travis Lulay.

The fact the line didnt move when the change was made probably speaks more to the lack of attention Vegas and the offshore lines pay to the CFL than it does to the expected impact such a key change can have.

In any event, this is the first weekend the Argos head into a game with the majority of on-lookers actually expecting them to win.

A few of the Argo veterans who were around for those winning years before the team went in the dumper in 2008 and 2009 when wins were expected from both inside and outside the dressing room, said yesterdays its a nice feeling to have again, but nothing that will affect them in any adverse way.

In fact it wont change them in any way.

It doesnt change anything, fullback Jeff Johnson said. Sure its a great feeling, but at the beginning of the year they said we were the worst team and wed be lucky if we won one game. We have proved those naysayers wrong. We are the favourites now, but it doesnt change the mentality. We know what we have in the locker room and we just want to win every game. Its a good feeling because its something we have missed the past two years. We just have to continue to build on it.

As for any chance of coming in over-confident or some of the younger Argos needing a reminder that 2-1 is a long way from a successful season, Johnson said thats not even a possibility.

We made enough mistakes last week that showed us we were fortunate to end up with that win, Johnson said of the three-point victory over Calgary. The game film spoke for itself. If we had dominated them then maybe we would have to say something.

Johnsons message is the veterans on this team realize they are still a work in progress and the rookies know it too.

Kevin Eiben, a veteran from the Argos defensive side of the ball, said it is way too early to make any assessment of what the Argos are or what they are not.

We havent really earned anything yet, Eiben said. Weve won two games. Its still early. We have to make sure we are prepared.

And on that count, the Argos to a man are singing the same tune.

Head coach Jim Barker has eliminated the possibility of another teams move even being able to impact the Argos because he refuses to let anything the opposition does, affect his players.

We dont put any added pressure on ourselves because we understand its all about us, quarterback Cleo Lemon said. Weve done a good job of coming in this week, being mentally focussed and prepared to play and paying attention to all the detail we have to.

These Argos believe whatever the other team does, if they take care of themselves, they can prevail.

A change in the starting quarterback of the opposition has no more meaning to them than had half the team come down with a case of the swine flu and were unable to play.

Worry about yourself. Control what you can control. Ignore what you cant.

That is Barkers philosophy and four games into the season its already ingrained in every one of his players.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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