Offensive critics bug Pinball

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:51 PM ET

Michael (Pinball) Clemons can't figure out why everybody is down on his team's offence.

After all, the Argos coach said, when he looks at Canadian Football League statistics he sees the Argos averaging more than 26 points in the past five games.

"In fact since the (40-7) loss against B.C. back in September, there have been only (two games) that we have scored (fewer than) 30 points," he said yesterday, referring to a 16-9 win Saturday in Montreal, and an 18-11 win over Winnipeg on Sept. 28.

There had been concern expressed in some quarters that the Argos were heading in a similar direction to last season when the defence held up its end of the bargain but the offence couldn't get the ball into the end zone.

Clemons said the comparison to last year's team doesn't ring true.

"I compare this team more with 2004 when we won the Grey Cup," Clemons said at the team's Mississauga training site. "(Then) we had a first-year quarterback who missed part of the season, a first-year offensive coach and a stout defence. We did pretty well. I see a lot of similarities to this year's team."

That doesn't mean, however, that Clemons thinks the offence is without flaws.

"The offence needs to get a better rhythm going, especially at this point in the season as the games get bigger and the opposition gets tougher," Clemons said. "We can't just play well in two phases of the game (defence and special teams), we need to play well in all phases of the game."

Clemons said that while there were only 16 points put up on the board against the Alouettes there were positives to come out of that game.

"On some levels on offence we did what we needed to do (against Montreal)," Clemons said. "We didn't turn the football over and that was huge for us.

"We did enough to win the football game."

Defensive team co-captain Mike O'Shea said he is not at all concerned about the play of the offence.

"We are on top of our game right now," O'Shea said. "Everybody on defence knows that we can control every game we play. I don't think the offence is playing poorly. I just concentrate on what we are doing on our side of the ball."

Running back Robert Edwards, who was excused from practice yesterday because of a sore knee, said in spite of the team's string of seven wins in the past eight games, he does feel the offence needs to get better.

"We know we are not playing as well as we are capable of," Edwards said.

Clemons, meanwhile, said Edwards is questionable for Saturday's game at the Rogers Centre against Winnipeg and that the team has released fullback Sean Millington, who was attempting a comeback with the Argos.

"I am a big Sean Millington fan," Clemons said.

"But it was felt there was a danger he might re-injure a hamstring, and (GM) Adam (Rita) decided not signing Sean was the best thing for the player."


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