Gut-check time

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

The sense of urgency has been palpable in Argoland all week in the prelude to today's game.

At 1-2 and with the Argos entering their bye week, a win over the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers has suddenly and shockingly turned into one of those must-win backdrops.

Practices have been longer than normal as the Argos try to re-establish themselves on both sides of the ball.

While the CFL season often is referred to as a marathon, the magnitude of today's game hasn't been lost on a team that enters the contest on a two-game losing streak.

"You can feel the sense of urgency," Argos defensive back Khalil Carter said. "Coach Pinball (Clemons) has asked us to raise our passion.

"Going into the bye week, all we can accomplish is being a .500 team. That's all we can focus on right now."

A loss today wouldn't be devastating with so many more games on the horizon, but the potential repercussions of a defeat are nonetheless far reaching.

A Winnipeg win would give the emerging Bombers their second over the Argos in the past three weeks and further credibility.

An Argos loss would drop the team to 1-3 and serve as a painful reminder as they embark on a bye week with future foes such as the Saskatchewan Roughriders, B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes on tap.

There also is a feeling of redemption among the Argos, whose offence produced the grand total of 72 yards and six first downs in a 16-9 loss in Winnipeg.

Injured quarterback Damon Allen (finger) is eyeing the July 22 game in Regina as a possible return date, meaning today might represent the final start for Spergon Wynn, an ex-Bomber who was sacked six times by his former team.

CAN'T STOP THE RUN

Defensively, the Argos aren't known for yielding big plays and yet they've been vulnerable in successive losses to Winnipeg and B.C. -- both on the road.

Charles Roberts ran roughshod over the Argos, rushing 32 times for 133 yards on June 23. The electrifying back produced the game's only touchdown, capping off an opening-drive series with a three-yard plunge.

"Roberts is going to get his yards," Argos defensive back Jermaine Mays said. "The key for us is to stop the deep ball. We do that and we'll be able to win."

The Bombers are coming off a 46-point game and feature playmakers in Roberts and slotback Milt Stegall.

"For us to stop a player like Charles Roberts or a Milt Stegall, we have to stop them as a unit," Carter said. "Our defence is designed in a way where not one individual is asked to stop a player. We have to rely on each other."


Photos