Argos catch a break

Michael Souza will start at quarterback tonight for the Calgary Stampeders against the Toronto...

Michael Souza will start at quarterback tonight for the Calgary Stampeders against the Toronto Argonauts. (Calgary Sun/Jim Wells)

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

They may be playing on a limited work week, but the Argos won't have to worry about Khari Jones.

When the Argos play host to the Calgary Stampeders tonight at the SkyDome -- the third game in 11 days for Toronto and its second since Saturday -- they will be spared the problem of facing Jones. At least in uniform.

Acquired from Winnipeg in a multi-player deal last weekend, the veteran quarterback will be on the sideline, learning about his new team and its offence. He is scheduled to debut for the Stamps when they play host to the Argos on Oct. 16 at McMahon Stadium.

The Argos might have veteran quarterback Damon Allen back in uniform by then. He is still rehabbing from a cracked tibia suffered in a game Aug. 12 against Montreal.

Stamps' rookie head coach/general manager Matt Dunigan will start 22-year-old rookie Michael Souza, who has a grand total of 26 regular-season throws on his resume. The graduate of Illinois State had his most productive workload in the Stamps' past game, clicking on seven of 16 passes for 111 yards.

"The nice thing is we just have to worry about doing what we do on defence," Argo defensive tackle Noah Cantor said. "That will take care of itself and we'll learn a bit about him as we go. We don't really change for any quarterback anyway."

It was suggested to Dunigan, who played for 14 years as a quarterback, that the Argos defence, which is among the top two overall statistically in the league, is probably looking forward to giving Souza all kinds of pressure.

"I would," Dunigan said. "If you've got a rookie quarterback and an offence that is struggling, I'd go right at him. I'd bring pressure. That's not a bad plan -- attack a rookie quarterback and make him make plays."

Dunigan elected to go with Souza over Tommy Jones, who has had several starts this season, because of his greater mobility.

"I'm excited to come here to Toronto, play in this great stadium and against an unbelievable Toronto defence," Souza said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge. I'm really excited and looking forward to it."

Conversely, the Stamps defence poses an interesting challenge. It is built similarly to the Argos with three down linemen and four linebackers and it's the first time the Argos offence will face that look this season.

"From what I've studied they play hard and are not going to be a pushover," said receiver Andre Rison, who will be playing his first game at the SkyDome after three on the road.

Michael Bishop will make his fifth consecutive start at quarterback.

"He's given us a chance to win four, so let's just let him relax and play football," head coach Pinball Clemons said.


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