So many questions

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Every year when the CFL season ends, Argos coach Mike Clemons sits down with his wife Diane to ponder his future.

A devout family man, Pinball discusses whether Mrs. Clemons and their daughters are on board for another year with him at the helm of the Boatmen.

This off-season, perhaps more than in recent years, Clemons has plenty to factor into his decision, one he said yesterday has yet to be made.

Like, for starters, who will be the Argos' No. 1 quarterback? Damon Allen, now a free agent and yanked for the second consecutive week in Sunday's loss to the Montreal Alouettes, certainly doesn't sound like a sure thing.

Who will be Clemons' offensive co-ordinator? Since the firing of Kent Austin in the summer, president Adam Rita added the duties to his portfolio but the team plans to end that interim arrangement soon.

And what to do about a club that, following Clemons' lead, preaches togetherness on and off the field but had some serious meltdowns the past two weeks?

Of paramount concern, few would argue, is to create an offence that can produce.

"The bottom line is that we need to be better offensively," Argos kicker Noel Prefontaine said yesterday, careful to include himself in that group. "We've been relying on our defence for the last number of years, but that's something that needs to be addressed.

"We can't expect to win a Grey Cup when we are ranked seventh or eighth in the league in every offensive category."

Whether Allen is the man to lead that renaissance is in serious question. The 43-year-old veteran maintained yesterday that physically and mentally he feels he has more.

But as a free agent in February, Allen admitted frankly that the Argos will have the most say in that call.

"I have to have a greater understanding of where the organization is going and some of the decisions they have to make," Allen said. "But if I decided to play another year, I would go into training camp fighting for the No. 1 job. That's the only way I know how to do it."

The performance of Michael Bishop in relief the past two weeks was an eye-opener. Bishop is committed to returning to Chicago of the Arena League for now but has made no secret that he would like to be Allen's heir.

But even if Bishop isn't the guy, it is clear the Argos need someone to spark an offence. The way they played under the understudy the past two weeks proved it.

Business-wise, as host of the 2007 Grey Cup, the team has a lot riding on next season. Attendance suffered a small decline in '06 and the team must be embarrassed at the 26,214 who showed up for the East semi-final, just two more than the lowest attendance of the season.

Clemons, meanwhile, has to be troubled by some of the blowups he has seen the past two weeks.

The on-field dustup between receiver Arland Bruce and linebacker Mike O'Shea on Sunday hinted at self-destruction.

O'Shea became incensed when Bruce walked off the field rather than trying to run down Montreal's Mark Estelle, who was returning an Allen interception for a touchdown.

UPSET

There was some suggestion that Bruce was upset at Allen as well. Clemons and other players had to physically separate Bruce and O'Shea on the Olympic Stadium field.

A week earlier, an animated Clemons had to get in the face of running back John Avery, who was upset at the play calling and let it show on the field.

As troubling as they were, those incidents can be dismissed as heat of the moment bursts. The bottom line on another disappointing end to a season cannot.

"As a group we've underachieved the past two years," linebacker Michael Fletcher said yesterday. "We've been the best team in the East the past two years and to not be playing in the final game of the year is upsetting."


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