If he has a chance to be the starter -- and the indications are he will -- Michael Bishop is ready.
After seeing the field for the first time this season in the Argos' 34-27 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week, Bishop will likely make his first start of the season. With Damon Allen still hobbled by the bone bruise that sidelined him in the Winnipeg game, Bishop has received plenty of reps to prepare for tomorrow night's game against the Montreal Alouettes at the Rogers Centre.
"My confidence is there, it's there from my teammates and the coaching staff, so I'm definitely looking for every opportunity I can get," Bishop said yesterday.
Bishop completed six of 13 passes for 111 yards against Winnipeg and had one touchdown and might have had a second were it not for a dropped pass.
Head coach Pinball Clemons may declare Bishop as the starter today, or he could keep the Als guessing because Allen is expected to be in uniform even if he's not starting.
"It's going to feel good if I have the opportunity to go out there in the beginning, get into the flow of the game early," Bishop said. "Last game I came in and the first two series I really couldn't get into it, but after that I got rolling."
Bishop is assuming that if he starts, the Als will challenge him differently than they would Allen, specifically trying to attack him with pressure instead of dropping off into a zone. "It's not a challenge because I know what kind of pressure they're going to (bring), which side they're going to come from, so it's a matter of me and the receiver being on the same page, getting in the right gap and getting the ball off at the right time," Bishop said. "If I get the ball off quick, it could turn into some big plays. If we can beat the pressure early, then they'll back off and start playing deeper coverages."
The Argos have a two-point lead over the Als in the East and beat them 36-24 in Montreal on July 28. The two teams face one another once more this season, so a win by the Argos will clinch the series in their favour.
"If we win this game, we'll pull away from the pack," Bishop said. "If we have a setback, we'll be hanging around with the pack (which would include Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa tied at 4-3). If we can beat Montreal for the second time it would be a big plus for the team and I think it would build confidence for everybody."
Linebacker Antonious Bonner will be back in the lineup for the first time since injuring his back in the season opener. He takes the roster spot of cornerback Byron Parker ... Receiver Andre Rison will make his first start of the season, replacing R. Jay Soward, who has a rotator cuff injury ... Backup linebacker Mike Crumb, who missed the last game with an ankle injury, will be re-activated, dropping Kris Aiken to the practice roster.