Ailing Argos need to wake up quickly

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Mike (Pinball) Clemons made all the tough decisions immediately following Thursday night's 26-13 loss to Montreal.

But that didn't make the morning after much better.

Clemons' Argonauts, at one time a promising 2-1, are now 2-3 and looking to right the ship, so to speak, heading into Montreal next Thursday .

So it wasn't entirely unexpected when Clemons, an admitted non-morning type of guy, revealed he was in the trailers at the Argonauts practise facility at Erindale College yesterday morning at 6 a.m. poring over game tape.

Having named his starting quarterback -- Damon Allen over a struggling Mike McMahon and decided John Avery will get another start at running back after a 105-yard game on the ground in the loss -- Clemons dissected the game play by play.

The following is some of what he found.

- On why he believes McMahon has struggled so much with the CFL game and his future with the Argos: "Because football is a tough game and specifically the quarterback position may be the toughest to play in sports. He's only been here a short while.

"He's probably much more familiar with a system that has him taking the ball from under centre. It really is hard to be able to step in and balance all those things. By no means does this mean Mike can't play quarterback at this level."

- On the status of Canadian fullback Jeff Johnson, who was taken off the field on a stretcher Thursday night and taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays after feeling some tingling in his hands following a collision on special teams: "The X-rays came back great and it looks like he'll be ready to go. He has been cleared but we don't know about his playing status until we get back on the field. We believe he'll be ready to play.

- On a few positives he saw in his early morning tape viewing: "I'm excited that our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage more than they have since I've been here.

"Our defence was put in some tough positions and did a great job minimizing the number of points we gave up.

- On why his special teams broke down at such inopportune times in the game: "Jeff Johnson is a big part of our punt team and when he went down we had John Williams also hurt but couldn't come out because J.J. was already out.

"We didn't have Leron Mitchell, who had been our best special teams player and he was nicked up. Playing on five days, you get to the end of the game and that's when it shows.''


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