Barker has long-term strategy at QB

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

Some random thoughts and observations following the Argonauts' 17-13 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, a result that put the end to the Argos' three-game losing streak. And, we should add, it was a win that gave Toronto six in 2010, or one less than it had in the past two seasons combined:

If you're clamouring for a change at quarterback -- and judging by some of the e-mails we received on Monday, many Argonauts fans are -- don't hold your breath.

Cleo Lemon struggled mightily against the Bombers, passing for a season-low 90 yards, but head coach Jim Barker is prepared to stick with Lemon and not call on Dalton Bell. Barker said he considered a change at halftime with the Argos losing 6-0, but only because finger trouble on Lemon's throwing hand was becoming a factor.

For the second game in a row, the football popped out of Lemon's hand when he tried to make a pass, and Lemon said afterward that he is working through some issues with his throwing hand.

One wonders if it was a factor in the second quarter, when a half-decent Argos drive stalled after Lemon underthrew two receivers.

PEAK LATER, NOT NOW

Part of Barker's willingness to keep going with Lemon is the coach believes there will be dry areas, and that he wants his team playing its best football in November when the playoffs roll around.

Of course, this could all backfire if Lemon doesn't show some resiliency and fails to pick up his game.

Barker's view is of the long term, and switching to Bell after 11 games would fly in the face of what he has been saying all season.

And the Argos offence should get a boost on Sunday in Moncton against the Edmonton Eskimos, as receiver Reggie McNeal is slated to play in his first game of the year.

NO BOYD, NO PROBLEM

The absence of Cory Boyd, who could be out again this week as he recovers from a concussion, didn't spell doom for the Argos after all.

The three Argos backs who carried the ball when Boyd normally would have-- Canadians Jeff Johnson and Bryan Crawford and import Anthony Alridge, in his first CFL game--combined for 135 yards on 20 carries. That's an average of 6.8 yards a carry. Boyd has averaged 5.8 yards a rush this season.

And Boyd lost his hold as the league's leading rusher, as Winnipeg's Fred Reid now has 906 yards after running for 100 against the Argos. Boyd is second with 903. Andre Durie, incidentally, did not rush once against the Bombers.

DYNAMIC DUO

Interesting that defensive ends Alex Buzbee and Ronald Flemons combined to stop Bombers running back Andre Sadeghian when the visitors tried to convert third-and-two at the Argos' 27-yard line with less than two minutes remaining.

One of Buzbee or Flemons eventually will lose his starting job to Ricky Foley, who had a quarterback sack in his first game with Toronto. Flemons has been nothing short of excellent in the past two weeks, other than the fumble against B.C. that killed a sure touchdown. Flemons also had a sack versus the Bombers and led the Argos with nine defensive tackles a week after he was named the CFL defensive player of the week. Neither Buzbee nor Flemons will lose his job without a fight, which is all Barker can ask for.

WRONG NUMBER

Give Bombers rookie head coach Paul LaPolice an A for out-thinking himself on the Sadeghian play. It was the first time this season that Sadeghian's number was called, and LaPolice figured it would be a surprise to the Argos defence, as it has been force-fed a steady diet of Reid all afternoon. "We felt we'd be able to pop him, give an element of surprise...they slanted in and they stuffed us," LaPolice said.

It surprised the Argos, but only because they had figured backup Alex Brink was going for the quarterback sneak. Buzbee said later the Argos had an idea that Reid would not be getting the ball.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Justin Medlock's field-goal percentage after his first game back in an Argos uniform reads 50%, but it's entirely acceptable. After hitting a 50-yarder in the third quarter, Medlock was wide right on a 56-yard attempt early in the fourth.

But Barker made a smart call to send Medlock out for the kick, having the confidence in special teams to hem the Bombers deep if Medlock missed. And that's what happened, as Buzbee tackled Jovon Johnson at the 15-yard line.

A few plays later, the Bombers punted after gaining just five yards, and Toronto started at Winnipeg's 50-yard line.

Lemon then completed the only Argos touchdown drive of the afternoon, eventually finding Jeremaine Copeland from eight yards for the major.

HOME COOKING

One of the goals the Argos had this season was to reestablish a presence in the Rogers Centre, and they're well on the way to doing that with a 4-1 mark at home. That can improve to 5-1 if the Argos beat the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday. Of course, there would have to be an asterisk somewhere, as the game is in Moncton as the focal piece of Touchdown Atlantic.

SAY GOODBYE

The Argos on Monday released defensive tackle Walter Curry, whose return lasted a handful of days, and running back Mike Ford, who wasn't going to get a sniff after the signing of Alridge.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca

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