Special teams not so special

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

It may happen this game, the game after that or sometime later in the season.

But Argos special teams co-ordinator Marcello Simmons is convinced his team will score a touchdown on a punt or kickoff return. Toronto is one of the few teams in the league without a touchdown in either category thus far this season.

That's uncharacteristic for the Argos, who routinely have scored touchdowns on returns the past two seasons with Bashir Levingston and Arland Bruce.

"Obviously, special teams across the league have gotten better, but it hasn't posed a problem for us because basically our problem has been execution," Simmons said yesterday. "If we execute like we're supposed to, then we would be right up there (among touchdown returns), but that's not a worry of ours. Once we get around to later on in the season we'll be on the other end of this.

"Schedule a follow-up interview and we'll see how it goes. I guarantee you it will be different. We've had opportunities, but we've gotten stopped on a lot of those. We are one block away here and there, but even though we haven't scored touchdowns on our special teams, we've played the game of field position and we've won it.

"Technically, we've represented as we're supposed to. We haven't had the success we've had in the last couple of years, but we've contributed and given our team a chance to win and that's all we have to do. Every time we step out on the field, we're about winning the game of field position."

In some cases, teams have deliberately kicked the ball out of bounds to prevent Levingston or Bruce from even attempting a return, but in other cases the schemes are the equivalent of a prevent defence, with players placed in different areas of the field to ensure there's no long returns.

"They're covering good, so I'm not going to take anything away from these teams," Levingston said.

"They're just being smarter."

Edmonton rookie Tony Tompkins is leading the league in punt return yards and has taken two back for touchdowns by gaining the wide side of the field. That's something Levingston, for one, hasn't been able to do.

"Some of it has been my fault, some of it has been the aggressiveness on the teams," he said. "I'm not being aggressive enough and we're not been aggressive enough on kick and punt returns like we used to be.

"Maybe I should hit it more up the middle, trust my blocks and be more aggressive that way."

Simmons said the team will tweak its game plan as the season goes on and is assured it will work out.

"We're going to going to keep trying to put players in the right position to get that level of success back to the way it was," he said. "It's not a worry or a concern right now."


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