Argos need turnaround ... and fast

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:07 PM ET

With problems aplenty, there are precious few answers for the Argos to ponder, let alone put into action.

The team has become a personnel puzzle with pieces that either won't fit or are injured, an organization that has remained complacent following its 2004 Grey Cup championship.

As it is, the Argos find themselves at 2-5 and facing a do-or-die scenario next Saturday when they travel to Hamilton to face the Tiger-Cats.

The Argos boarded an early morning train yesterday following Thursday's 31-7 debacle in Montreal, where the much-maligned offence failed to cross midfield, couldn't score and managed 34 plays from scrimmage.

The team's only points were produced by defensive back Khalil Carter on an 84-yard interception return.

At this stage, the Argos are exploring all possibilities on both sides of the border. But with few options, it's hard to identify what they can do.

They can shock the CFL by releasing head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons, but that would be tantamount to sacrilege. But a more prudent move would be to alter the team's offensive philosophy, an area Clemons discussed in the aftermath of the Montreal loss, or at least get more input from general manager Adam Rita, whom some feel is poised to replace embattled co-ordinator Kent Austin.

With few Canadian offensive linemen available, one area the Argos can explore is to upgrade that unit by using more imports, and by starting Canadian tailback Jeff Johnson, who is expected back this week from injury.

Trade-wise, the only piece that may fetch anything appears to be receiver Robert Baker, who was benched Thursday night in the first half for disciplinary reasons.

The Argos are hoping quarterback Damon Allen can play through the pain in his finger, but it's anyone's guess as to how the veteran will react. He was forced to pull himself out in Montreal when he experienced soreness during the pre-game warmup.

"There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves,'' Clemons said. "This is a time for us to refocus as a football team."

Clearly, though, time and options are running out.

The Argos have been given the weekend off. When they resume practise on Monday, they expect to have a better handle on their list of injured players.

The Argos will have to address this myriad of problems quickly, or they may be out of the playoff picture by Labour Day.

Remember also that the CFL uses a crossover format and the 2-4 Edmonton Eskimos are too good a football team to founder much longer in the competitive West.


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