Argos execs under the gun

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

Three years in a row the Argos saw themselves as a Grey Cup team -- and three years in a row they came up one win short.

Twice at home. Once in Montreal.

Now change will happen and must happen. A new team president needs to be found. Quite likely, Rich Stubler will replace the outgoing Pinball Clemons as head coach. But where change is required most will not come from a president or coach -- it must come from the current management team that includes general manager Adam Rita and personnel man Greg Mohns.

You can argue, quite soundly, that a lack of imagination from management, a lack of aggression and decisions that bordered on taking the easy way out, hindered the chances of the Argos turning a Toronto Grey Cup week into their own.

It begins with Rita, a terrific man with a fine record overall. But this season, knowing him, he would be the first to admit he came up short.

He thought Mike McMahon would wind up as the starting quarterback, or at worst, a credible backup. It didn't happen.

He hoped there was still life left in Damon Allen. There wasn't.

And when Clemons looked to the bench Sunday afternoon to consider pulling Michael Bishop from the game, the alternatives were Allen or Rocky Butler, neither of whom encouraged confidence.

Rita and Mohns need to find another quarterback to pair with Bishop, who still has the ability to be a great CFL pivot but has yet to establish any kind of consistency. In a quarterback's league, it's no secret that the two best players in the CFL this season, Kerry Joseph and Kevin Glenn, led their teams to the Grey Cup, even though poor Glenn is now watching from the sidelines.

The Argos need to upgrade at backup quarterback, providing that whomever coaches this team will consider an alternative when Bishop is as erratic as he was on Sunday.

And Bishop needs some help, starting at running back.

For four years, the Argos have waited for John Avery to be the John Avery from Edmonton. The wait should be over now. Avery can't stay healthy and even when he is healthy he is more dancer than runner, more publicist than player. He can't be relied on anymore.

And again, this is where Argos management faltered this season. When it looked for a running back, the Argos didn't come up with young and fresh, they came up with old and experienced and slow. Robert Edwards and Troy Davis were cut by teams worse than the Argos and ended up playing here.

The managerial strategy of bringing in leftovers from lesser teams -- even if they were once all-stars -- left the Argos all too thin.

That was evident at receiver, where the team was beaten up a lot of the season and Arland Bruce and Tony Miles didn't produce the way they had in the past. But when they needed bodies, the Argos brought in Marc Boerigter from Calgary. He used to be a star. And they brought in Mookie Mitchell from Edmonton. He used to be star. And neither did much of anything for the team.

Experience, on occasion, can be a wonderful addition to some football teams. But bringing in old players who play like old players doesn't help at all.

Now, with a new president coming and likely a new head coach, the Argos need to find some new players in skill positions. The defence, with the possible exception of middle linebacker Michael O'Shea, is all but set for next season. You can invite everybody back and have the best defence in the league.

But they need a quarterback, a running back, at least one import receiver, and an offensive lineman or three to get back to championship level.

They need all-stars on offence, not old stars like Avery, Mitchell, Davis, Boerigter, maybe even Miles, who can't stay healthy himself. The Argos do have the benefit of having an excellent pair of Canadian receivers in Andre Talbot and Obed Cetoute. But one more import receiver of consequence is necessary.

This could be and should be a very competitive team next season.

But Rita and Mohns can't sit still and rely on names from the past.

It's time to be creative and proactive.

With the right kind of changes, Grey Cup 2008 isn't just a possibility, it's a probability.


Videos

Photos