Belli plans to mete out punishment

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Given the nature of his family's business, Adriano Belli is always in the mood for a heaping helping of fresh meat.

With that in mind, the Argos nose tackle is licking his considerable chops at the prospect of facing Edmonton quarterback Stefan LeFors today at the Rogers Centre.

And if the rookie becomes dead meat in his first CFL start, all the better.

"Our object is to hit him fair and put him out of the game," said Belli, who last week watched teammate Willie Pile inflict a season-ending shoulder injury on Eskimo starter Ricky Ray in the Argos' 18-11 win.

"We're going to be coming after that rookie quarterback and trying to do the same with him.

"They're all the same with me, quarterbacks. They're good for (two) things: Cheerleaders and they're good to put their head in the dirt."

Belli's bluster aside, the loss of Ray is one big reason why the Argos (6-7) are whopping 11-point favourites in their bid for a season-high three-game win streak.

LeFors, a mobile lefty who had a prolific college career at Louisville, is charged with resuscitating an Edmonton playoff push that is on life support.

Belli, whose family runs Mariposa Meats in Mississauga, isn't the only Argo talking big as the team appears to be hitting its top form at the best time.

"If we just play our game, we should come out and dominate this team," said linebacker Kevin Eiben, the team's leading tackler with 68.

"LeFors doesn't have the experience that our defence has. We're going to bring pressure and we're going to drop back. The hardest thing is they don't know what we are going to do."

On paper, LeFors wouldn't seem to have much of a shot going against the CFL's top defence.

The Eskimos, who are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, haven't scored an offensive touchdown in their past two games.

Even normally reserved Argos head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons acknowledged that it is a game defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler's unit should control.

"This is a game where our defence should have the upper hand," Clemons said. "They have been one of the best defences in the league over the last four or five years and this is a game in which ... the understanding is we should see a yeomen's effort."

Meanwhile, the Argos also are starting to see an improved effort from an offence that is getting healthier by the week.

Quarterback Michael Bishop, who is 6-1 as a starter and 3-0 at home, is playing behind an improving offensive line.

And for the first time, all three of Bishop and go-to receivers Arland Bruce and Tony Miles will be in the lineup at the same time.

"(Bishop) is a guy who does get comfortable with certain players and I think all the great quarterbacks do," Clemons said. "(Miles and Bruce) put a lot of confidence in Michael."


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