Argos look to right ship

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

REGINA -- Radiant blue skies and a gentle prairie breeze greeted the Argos when they arrived in the CFL heartland yesterday.

Despite the picture-perfect backdrop, dark clouds hover over the beleaguered Boatmen.

Losers of three in succession, the Argos are in danger of losing sights of the front-running Montreal Alouettes, of perhaps losing team morale and even jobs.

Somehow, the Argos have to play with better team discipline, mental toughness and make plays on offence or they risk getting a rough ride by the hometown Roughriders.

The Argos say they are refreshed after their bye week, but they lost two more players -- Eric England and R. Jay Soward -- to injuries without playing a single game.

Two players -- Ronald Flowers and Jeff Jorga -- have been summoned back after being training-camp cuts.

Incumbent quarterback Damon Allen made the trip, but as expected he won't dress and he likely isn't back until an Aug. 3 game in Montreal.

"We're doing the right things, but guys are taking turns screwing things up," veteran offensive tackle Bernard Williams said. "We haven't made any big personnel changes or changes to our schemes.

"We just need to do better."

In time, the Argos may reflect on these troubling times as a moment when backups gained valuable experience, when unsung players were asked to assume more responsibility.

The Argos haven't been blown out, but they've blown opportunities and they desperately need a win to stay close to the unbeaten Als and the emerging Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Based on matchups and performance, no one is giving the Argos much of a chance tonight against a very explosive Saskatchewan team.

"We have to play aggressively and with our hearts," Williams said in sizing up tonight's tilt.

Veteran linebacker Mike O'Shea knows what's at stake when the Argos take to the field formerly known as Taylor Field.

"However you want to say it," O'Shea began, "there's a number of reasons why we need a win. Montreal is 5-0 and that team is getting away from us.

"The other is we're tied with Hamilton for the basement in the league. I don't know if we need a win to prove something to ourselves. We need a win to keep pace in the standings.

"We've got to keep pace and get going. To me, that's why we need a win. We have playoff and Grey Cup aspirations."

As head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons likes to remind his players, the 18-game CFL season is a marathon and not a sprint.

There is time to get the injured healthy and execute better, but time is of the essence to produce a win of any kind because the immediate future looks bleak.


Videos

Photos