Glass half full for O'Shea

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Mike O'Shea didn't sign up for a 15th CFL season to punish his body in the pursuit of mediocrity.

So as the Argos (4-6) prepare to face the B.C. Lions (6-3-1) tonight in Vancouver (10 p.m., CBC), the veteran linebacker and defensive captain is thinking big.

"I firmly believe we are going to win the Grey Cup, no doubt in my mind," O'Shea said before the team headed west to face the reigning champs. "Especially with (quarterback Michael Bishop) back. We are a different team.

"The old cliche holds true -- you can't look past the next play or the next game or you mess up. But you have one goal when you come to training camp and that's to win the Grey Cup."

The glass half full analysis as the season moves into the home stretch is that the Argos have had so many injuries that even getting four wins is an accomplishment.

On the other hand, where would the Double Blue be without the lowly Hamilton Tiger-Cats? Three quarters of those victories have come against the owners of the league's worst record.

Still, O'Shea believes that with the spark Bishop brings, the Argos are a new and thus more dangerous team, one that can compete with anyone in the league.

"I know defensively we feel that the offence played well enough to win some games and we let them down," the North Bay native said. "That's very disappointing, especially since the last bunch of seasons those close games we would win defensively."

O'Shea admitted that the revolving door at quarterback has limited offensive coordinator Steve Buratto's creativity. The veteran playmakers on defence entered the season licking their lips at the prospect of playing with a lead more often to force opponents to play with aggression.

"It affects the way you think and the way you play," O'Shea said. "The picture in training camp was that we were going to score a lot of points and as a defence we didn't react quick enough when that wasn't happening."

If the offence continues to progress under Bishop and gets some healthy bodies back, O'Shea believes the entire dynamic changes as playmakers on defence can switch into attack mode.

To his credit, coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons hasn't used injuries as an excuse.

"I can't go there, I can't allow my mind to say 'what if,' " said Clemons, who will be forced to start an offence without his two go-to receivers, Arland Bruce and Tony Miles, again tonight. "I have to deal with the reality."

Even against a Lions squad that has had its own injury woes, the Argos face a tall task tonight, however. Toronto hasn't won in B.C. since 2002.

But in a season where the Argos have been in every game, win or lose, O'Shea believes that last home date on Grey Cup Sunday is achievable.


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