Week 6 is no time to start talking about must-win games, but the Argos have put themselves in a position where a loss tonight to the Montreal Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium would make the rest of the season rather difficult.
Tied for second in the East Division with Montreal with four points and with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats four points back in the basement but showing signs of coming out of an early season funk, the Argos head into Montreal needing a positive result.
It won't come easy with injuries to starting quarterback Michael Bishop and both starting wide receivers in Tony Miles and Andre Talbot.
"The fact is everyone has injuries," coach Mike Clemons said.
"You don't want them in those key positions because it makes it more difficult sometimes."
Clemons didn't waste any time after last Thursday's loss to Montreal, immediately naming Damon Allen his starting quarterback until Bishop returns from a broken wrist. The previous week, Clemons would not declare his starter and had Allen and Mike McMahon sharing first-team reps in practice. McMahon started the game and lasted a mere three series before Allen took over.
"I was pleased the way he came in, especially not being able to prepare as the starter," Clemons said. "He is the guy who got hurt in 2004 when we won a championship and Michael Bishop had to come off the bench for him. Now the roles have reversed a little bit and maybe he can help Michael out a little bit while Michael is trying to get back to health. I think in (Damon's) mind, with any luck he can even challenge our thinking that maybe we should stay with him, but Michael is going to get his opportunity when he gets healthy again."
With Talbot out with a torn muscle in his thigh, Obed Cetoute makes his second start of the season at wide receiver. Newcomer Rashaun Woods, now with more than 10 days of study with the Argos playbook, will make his second start as the other wide receiver.
However, yesterday's practice before the team took the train to Montreal, was dominated by special teams work, an area the Boatmen have rarely had to concern themselves with, but one that has been showing holes for much of the season.
Dominique Dorsey is expected to handle the bulk of the return duties, supplanting Bashir Levingston who has not been productive.
"The numbers may be down and our averages may not be what they once were, but what I always tell people is: 'Stay tuned," special teams coach Marcello Simmons said. "It is early in the season."