MONTREAL - The Argos aren’t talking about it and neither are the Als, even though it’s the talk of the CFL.
And if you listen to Jordan Younger, the veteran Argos defensive back turned linebacker, had no clue of the potential for history until he arrived in Montreal Sunday afternoon.
“I told you guys (media) it was never mentioned during the week,’’ Argos head coach Jim Barker said.
The talk of the town, at least among those who follow football, is Anthony Calvillo’s march toward history, an achievement that will require another generation of quarterbacks to come even close to threaten what the classy Calvillo is about to produce.
When the Argos visited Montreal earlier in the season, it was Damon Allen’s touchdown number Calvillo would break.
By late Monday afternoon, Allen’s all-time yardage record will fall.
By their nature, football players don’t play harder when the stakes are higher and nor do they play differently when a milestone is on the cusp of being broken.
By the same token, the Argos don’t want to be known as the team that yielded two of the game’s most important records as it applies to quarterbacks.
Timing, of course, is everything, and the Argos’ timing this season has been completely amiss, which is almost fitting that Calvillo’s place in history will come at the expense of Toronto.
So focused is Calvillo at the moment at hand that he has become completely oblivious to whatever ceremony the Als will present when he does hit his yardage total.
“I even told my wife not to tell me what they’ve told her at all,’’ Calvillo said. “Just let it happen and I want to get back to the game as soon as possible.”
Admittedly, Calvillo is not a fan of any in-game celebratory moment to recognize whatever achievement.
He’s appreciative and doesn’t dismiss what he’s accomplished, but Calvillo has bigger fish to fry, namely helping Montreal keep pace with the first-place Blue Bombers, who showed plenty in manhandling Hamilton Friday night in the Hammer.
And even though the Argos don’t have much of a chance to knock off the Als, Calvillo is leaving nothing to chance.
“Once you start to under-estimate or overlook a team, you’re in trouble,’’ he said.
It’s that concentration Calvillo brought into the season when he knew many of Allen’s league records would fall, sooner rather than later.
Once his body was ready for his 18th season, Calvillo began to mentally prepare himself for the weekly grilling each time a record was within his grasp.
“I wasn’t going to be bothered week in week out being asked the questions and not get frustrated,’’ he said. “I was going to absorb and enjoy the moment and that’s why this week has been no different. My concentration, our team’s concentration, is on the game.”
Given all the obstacles, personal and professional, Calvillo has endured and overcome, he’s been able to strike a balance.
“I am enjoying the moment, but not too much,’’ he said. “After my wife took sick and after I got sick (each diagnosed with cancer), I learned not to let it go by the wayside.
“I’m trying to keep a balance of enjoying the moment and at the same time not let it distract me from the game.”
No one knows what the future holds, but it’s conceivable Monday will be the final time Calvillo will go up against the Argos.
Much like he’s done in the last three years, Calvillo will find the time in the off-season for self-evaluation and decide whether he wants to come back for another season.
Calvillo is approaching 40 and still marvels how Allen played until his mid-40s.
“I remember calling that guy a freak of nature when he was playing into his 40s and playing for 22, 23 years,’’ said Calvillo. “It was just remarkable.”
And remarkable aptly describes Calvillo.
THE ABC's OF A.C.
Barring an injury or a sublime performance by the Argos pass defence, Anthony Calvillo will become the CFL’s career leader in passing yards at some point during Monday’s game. When Toronto visited Montreal in July, Calvillo became the league’s all-time leader in touchdowns thrown. Here’s a look at the CFL’s top-five quarterbacks in league history.
Name Yards Att. Com. Int. TD
1. Damon Allen 72,381 9,138 5,158 278 394
2. CALVILLO 72,124 8,512 5,344 201 414
3. Danny McManus 53,255 6,689 3,640 281 259
4. Ron Lancaster 50,535 6,233 3,384 396 333
5. Matt Dunigan 43,857 5,476 3,057 211 306
BOATMEN LOOK FOR SPARK
Maybe the Argos can do more with less.
At this stage of the game with the Argos one loss away from post-season elimination, anything that can help a stagnant offence finds its rhythm, and more importantly the opposing end zone, must be explored and executed.
The moment arrived on the first day of practice earlier this week when it became obvious Andre Durie was unlikely to take every snap in a game.
Durie will return following last week’s absence (hip), but too will Brandon Rideau, who was demoted from the starting roster and relegated to the practice roster.
What the Argos did was line up the physically imposing Rideau at the slot receiver spot, a role he’ll assume Monday against the host Als.
And then came the idea to shorten the playbook and key on plays that would help quarterback Steven Jyles and his receivers get on the same page.
“As the week went, we executed at a high level when we shortened the playbook and we expect to execute at a high level (Monday),’’ said Jyles, who turned an ankle during last week’s loss against Hamilton when the Argos could manage 12 points off four field goals.
For Jyles, Monday’s game marks his fifth start as an Argo.
“We’re getting to know him better,’’ Barker said of Jyles.
But at the end of day, Jyles can do only so much.
When the ball leaves his hands, it’s up to the Argos’ receivers to make plays.
By inserting Rideau at slotback, the Argos want to get Rideau going downhill a little bit.
Prechae Rodriguez will get his second start at wideout as the Argos continue to look for that guy opponents can’t defend by simply having one defender on him.