Bishop to lead quartet

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

MONTREAL -- For one quarter tonight, Michael Bishop will be the Argos' starting quarterback.

But before fans of the Boatmen get into a tizzy about the status of Kerry Joseph, head coach Rich Stubler made it clear yesterday that he is not prepared to declare one man over the other as his first-stringer.

"I know this -- it's going to take both of those guys to get us through the season," Stubler said after the team's afternoon walkthrough at Molson Stadium. "I feel comfortable with what we are doing. If it gets to a point where that is not true, then I need to address it. It's more of a media thing than a team thing. The team does not care (who starts)."

Bishop, who started 12 games for the Argos in 2007, will take the snaps in the first quarter of the Argos' pre-season opener against the Montreal Alouettes. Joseph will go in the third, with Cody Pickett and Reggie McNeal playing in the second and fourth.

Stubler responded: "Absolutely not" when asked whether anything could be read into starting Bishop ahead of Joseph. He would not say whether one has impressed him more than the other.

Though the attention on the Argos' quarterbacking situation -- calling it a controversy would be a stretch at this point, but that description should not be put in mothballs yet -- might be seen as a media creation, it really is not. Joseph, who led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Grey Cup last fall and was named the CFL's most outstanding player for his excellence in the regular season, was acquired in March to be the Argos' No. 1 man. It's hard to see how he won't be the starter unless he gets injured, but Bishop, who could have sulked through the first 11 days of camp, refused to do so.

Some bitterness might return if Bishop spends the majority of the early regular season watching from the sideline, but that's not part of his thinking with the opener two weeks away.

"The only thing I know is what I did in camp, and I feel I have had a great camp so far," said Bishop, who talked to reporters before he knew he would start tonight. "I'm hitting the guys, moving the ball, making the right reads. I've been having fun. I just came in and did not worry about anything, and you can tell from watching film from camp."

Joseph and Bishop will play exclusively next Thursday when the Argos play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their second and last pre-season game. Given the status he brings, Joseph knows he will be under the gun to try to guide the Argos to what would be their first Grey Cup title since 2004. But that's fine with the 34-year-old.

"I mean, shoot, being the quarterback in Regina is hard as hell," said Joseph, who passed for 4,002 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. "In Toronto, you are in the biggest city, but you have to stay humble. You are a human being and football is what you do. But you look in the mirror and say you did your best and that is all you can do."


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