Pinball trying to turn 'em around

Argos head coach Mike 'Pinball' Clemons scolded his team for its lacklustre play last week against...

Argos head coach Mike 'Pinball' Clemons scolded his team for its lacklustre play last week against the Blue Bombers. (Toronto Sun File/Dave Thomas)

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Michael (Pinball) Clemons knew something was amiss and used the occasion to hammer home his point.

In one of those rare moments when Clemons publicly reveals his anger, the Argos head coach scolded his team and asked the first-string offence to repeat a play.

"We need a sense of urgency out here," Clemons said yesterday after the Argos wrapped up one of the longest practice sessions of this young CFL season.

"We need to make sure we detail everything we do. When we don't, it carries over into games."

The Argos are coming off one of their worst offensive games in recent memory, a 16-9 setback in Winnipeg that featured as many quarterback sacks yielded as first downs -- six.

In a league where the rules favour offence, the Argos managed but 72 net yards and they still had a chance to win.

Backup quarterback Spergon Wynn has taken most of the heat, but Clemons is asking every player to step up.

If anything, the Argos' prospects look even bleaker this week with the B.C. Lions on tap and a trip to the West Coast.

"B.C. has a real good defence across the board," Wynn, an ex-Lion, said. "We're in for a tough task."

Friday's start for Wynn was his first since the 2003 cross-over playoff when he was matched up against the Argos in a B.C. uniform.

Admittedly, Wynn held on to the football too long in his starting Argo debut and says he wants to quicken his tempo.

There were missed blocking assignments on the offensive line, dropped passes and penalties that added up to a rather dreadful offensive performance.

"It's never as bad as it looks," Wynn said.

Perhaps not, but the Argos are in an early season crisis and it won't surprise anyone if changes are made.

Tony Graziani was with the team yesterday, but had to return to his home in Philadelphia for family reasons.

The Argos haven't officially signed the Arena Football League and former NFL quarterback, but the hope is the left-hander will be a credible backup for Wynn.

The Argos' offensive line needs to be upgraded and the lack of depth was exposed against the Bombers, especially with starting veteran guard Jude St. John unavailable with a knee ailment.

The onus, clearly, has fallen on the team's beleaguered offence. The one consolation from the abomination against the Bombers were the zero turnovers by Toronto.

What offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin is preaching these days is patience. At the same time, he knows the team's playmakers have to start making plays.

Rather than put added pressure on Wynn, Austin is willing to absorb the heat.

"I need to do a better job of putting our guys in better positions," Austin said. "We'll figure it out."

Of course, the Argos never figured on Damon Allen breaking his finger on the third play from scrimmage in the season opener.

BRIEFLY

Veteran DL Marc Pilon was released by the Argos yesterday. The Ottawa native was acquired in the CFL's dispersal draft following the demise of the Renegades.


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