QB may have to Kerry load as punter

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

They already have to count on the strength of his arm, the quickness of his feet and the sharpness of his mind.

Now the Renegades may also have to rely on Kerry Joseph's left leg.

It was revealed yesterday that punter Pat Fleming suffered a suspected broken thumb on the opening kickoff in Friday's loss to the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg. While more will be known after X-rays today, coach Joe Paopao says worst-case scenario will see the surgical insertion of a pin and Fleming missing 4-6 weeks.

With kicker Matt Kellett, who also punts, already out for nobody knows how long because of a pulled groin, Paopao is left mulling over possible options for Ottawa's next game, Sept. 2 against Montreal.

While waiting to board a flight to Ottawa yesterday, Paopao said they could include the team signing another punter or asking Mark Irvin, who's already filling in for Kellett, to double his work load.

They could also include having Joseph punt, as he did in his pre-pro days and, as he has shown in training camp and practice, he has more than enough leg strength to do now.

"If we had to play this week, Kerry could be punting," said Paopao.

The bye week comes at a good time for the Renegades, who have a variety of injury situations to consider:

Linebacker Robert Grant, who was carted off Canad Inns Stadium field in an ambulance and spent Friday night in hospital, did not suffer a serious neck injury in the third quarter. He travelled home with his teammates yesterday.

If Paopao does decide to give him a game off, Syniker Taylor could come off the practice roster to replace Grant.

The Renegades would be in good shape with Taylor, just as they will be if Crance Clemons steps in at cornerback for Greg Moss (elbow).

An ankle injury to DB Sean Weston comes just when D'Shann Austin appears ready to return from a concussion.

Their depth on defence carries over to the line, where Johnny Scott missed the second half in Winnipeg with a leg injury. Waiting in the wings is CFL sack leader Anthony Collier and veteran Ray Jacobs.

Offensively, the Renegades lost only rookie fullback Cory Hathaway to a concussion. They replaced him Friday with offensive lineman Obby Khan in a double tight end set. Against the Als, if necessary, they could go with backup FB Gilles Lezi or figure out a way to get import running back Ka'Ron Coleman back on the roster.

Argonauts 22, Eskimos 18 -- At Edmonton, Damon Allen tossed three touchdown passes last night as Toronto handed the Eskimos their first home loss of the season. After a scoreless opening quarter, Allen found SB Robert Baker, who ran untouched 90 yards down the sidelines for a touchdown on the Argonauts' first possession of the second quarter. After Allen hit Arland Bruce for an 89-yard score down the left sidelines in the third quarter, the Eskimos fumbled the kickoff and Argos WR Tony Miles scored 2:09 later off Allen's six-yard pass.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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