Injuries have hampered offence

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

The architect of the Argo offence has an idea why his blueprint for success has had trouble working consistently.

First-year offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin said his squad hasn't been able to function fully because it has been re-jigged due to injuries, notably the cracked left tibia suffered by quarterback Damon Allen in the eighth game of the season. Heading into that game, Allen had completed 63% of his passes and had 10 touchdowns and only one interception.

Austin also noted the injury that removed feature receiver Tony Miles for several games and led to the signing of Andre Rison, whose spot was subsequently taken by the arrival of Arland Bruce.

"All of those are not excuses. All of those are reasons that lend itself to a lack of consistency," Austin said yesterday. "If you keep your guys in the same position for a period of time where they can grow into that position -- meaning more than one year and keep the core guys where you don't lose them -- then you've got a better chance."

There is a possibility the Argos offence will be the same for Sunday's game in Montreal as last Friday's Eastern semi-final against Hamilton, which would be one of the few times this season the unit has stayed the same for two consecutive games.

"It would be better if we could have had the core in there for 18 straight games, including the quarterback," Austin added. "But that's part of it. We deal with it. I'm looking forward to keeping the same group as time goes on and going into next year where we're not starting from ground zero."

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

Running back John Avery, who has had his share of quips this year, added another when asked about the Argos' inability to beat the Als this season and the past two Eastern finals.

"It's just like (George W.) Bush. He's going two terms, but it has to come to an end eventually," Avery said.

RUN, DAMON, RUN

Allen rejected any suggestion that he has been hampered by a knee brace he has been forced to wear for the first time in his 20-year career to help protect his left knee.

"Probably because of the brace people are saying he's not running at all or that much, but that's what our offence calls for me to do," he said. "I'm distributing the ball and that's what I'm trying to do."


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