CALGARY - Having been subjected to a historic milestone Monday, the Toronto Argonauts defence faces another challenge Friday.
Not only do the Argos need to shake off Monday’s loss to the Montreal Alouettes in which Anthony Calvillo set football’s all-time mark for passing yardage, they also must recover on a short week against the Calgary Stampeders.
And all Henry Burris needs now is 186 yards to eclipse Doug Flutie (41,170) for sixth place on the CFL’s all-time passing list.
Unless the Stamps start pushing the ball downfield, getting that yardage isn’t a given for Burris.
In the past four games, the Stamps pivot has crawled towards the former Stamps and Argos great’s numbers. Burris hasn’t topped the 200-yard mark in the past four outings, although in two of them he didn’t play the fourth quarter — once resting in a big win and once yanked in a loss.
“We will get back to it,” Burris said about the deep passing game. “We talked about it.
“We have tried to mix things up, and our running game is coming along. It’s doing a lot better. There are things in our arsenal we will get back together. When teams just start to jump stuff, we will get back to going deep.
“As a quarterback, you always want to take shots. I just want wins, and I’m happy if we get them. If we have to be more aggressive, then so be it.”
In Saturday’s 33-31 loss to the B.C. Lions, Burris had just 193 yards passing. The Stamps didn’t have a scoring drive longer than 32 yards outside of the 81-yard bomb to receiver Landan Talley.
“We have to create the opportunities for him,” said Stamps receiver Nik Lewis, who hit the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth straight season during the loss.
“We need to block better. We need to run better routes and have the faith Hank can throw it down the field. It will be a thing where we will continue to push the ball down the field.”
The Stamps were in a unique position Monday. Before their practice, they were watching the Alouettes beat the Argos 29-19, as Calvillo passed Allen.
Before the Argos could even get home and recover, the Stamps hit the practice field to start the work week.
Certainly, the Stamps don’t feel sorry for the Argos, who were officially eliminated from the playoffs with the Thanksgiving Day loss.
A year ago, the Stamps played on a Saturday in Hamilton before going to Toronto for a Thursday night outing. They lost on the short week.
Considering how the Stamps have lost three of the past four outings, they could use the extra practise time.
Still, head coach John Hufnagel said Burris is doing enough to win, with the exception of a few plays. The biggest problem the Saturday in Vancouver was a fumble on a ball he pulled from the arms of running back Jon Cornish.
“Henry played well in this last game,” Hufnagel said. “He did have the mishap on the second fumble, but he’s managing the game. When you run the zone read as much as you do, the ball will go on the ground on occasion. The better thing would have to been just fall on it.”
Burris realizes he will never get to Calvillo’s numbers, and he certainly is impressed at the achievement, but he would like to catch up in Grey Cup wins. Burris has two championship victories, while Calvillo has three, Allen has five and Flutie has three.
Still, putting himself above Flutie’s on the all-time yardage list will be a feather in Burris’ cap.
“Doug did a lot of great things,” Burris added. “To be mentioned in the same breath, it’s remarkable.”
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