Back-to-back tilt for Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

It’s the game within the game, the potential to be a game of second-guessing if the one-time featured back comes back to haunt the Argonauts.

Cory Boyd has never met Jamal Robertson, but he now walks in his shadow, two running backs whose skill set is tailor-made for the CFL.

Both can run, both can be used as receivers out of the backfield, both can turn a two-yard gain into a long run.

Friday night, the two will be on the same field for the first time, opposing tailbacks with an obvious connection to the Argonauts.

“I’ve heard of Jamal and I’ve watched film of him when he played here,’’ Boyd began Wednesday following Toronto’s gathering at U of T’s Erindale campus. “I know he did great things for this team for the time he played here and I certainly wish him the best of luck.

“I certainly hope he has as much success there as he had here, even more. He’s a great player and you tip your hat off to him.”

For now, Boyd has done his share to erase Robertson’s memory as an Argo.

Whether Robertson was used properly in his two-year stint in Toronto, whether he got enough touches, whether he ultimately proves to be a better player than Boyd, it’s all the stuff of conjecture heading into Friday’s game.

The Boyd-Robertson matchup is one of many sidebars dotted with intrigue.

Friday marks the return of one-time Argos head coach Rich Stubler to Toronto since his release two years ago and it also marks the first of two regular-season meetings between two teams owned by David Braley.

In his first season, Boyd enters Week 4 as the CFL’s second-leading rusher.

Robertson is fourth, but he has attempted 21 fewer carries than Boyd.

In simple terms, the Argos are trying to get quarterback Cleo Lemon comfortable, which is best achieved by featuring a running game and by playing with the lead.

When you watch Boyd and Robertson, their styles are contrasting, Robertson very good in short space and Boyd a lot more physical and up-right in his approach.

No one, at least not yet, is making a big deal out of it, but Boyd basically was unable to take part in any contact drills this week after getting hit to the side of his head in last week’s win over Calgary.

He suffered a concussion in the pre-season.

Boyd says he’s fully prepared to go on Friday and handle whatever load the Argos throw at him.

“It’s a blessing to play a game you love,’’ Boyd said.

“I won’t say I’m better than anyone because we all bring different abilities and skills to a team.”

The Argos made Robertson a contract offer in the off-season when Toronto was undergoing its makeover.

“Jamal Robertson is a great back and we liked him,’’ head coach Jim Barker said. “At the time, it was in his best interest to move on and we’re very happy with Cory.

“It’s going to be a great matchup and a good test for our defence.

‘Very high level’

“I know Jamal is looking to come back here and play at a very high level.”

Released by Tampa Bay and Denver following injury-riddled NFL training camps, Boyd thought his career was over.

The Argos gave him a shot, won the starting job during a breakthrough performance in Montreal in the pre-season and better things appear to be on the horizon.

His ability to pass protect limits Boyd as a receiving threat out of the backfield, but you can see the possibilities that await once Lemon establishes himself.

Much like a quarterback has to learn the nuances of three-down football, a running back accustomed to American rules and field dimensions must get acquainted in seeing cuts and how cuts are developed in the CFL.

“Cory’s one of the first to watch film and you just love watching a guy as appreciative as Cory,’’ added Barker.

“Cory’s been through a lot in his life. He’s thankful and grateful to be able to step out here every day and do what he loves doing for a living.”

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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