Argos must be Kerry blue

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

There is nothing wrong with Kerry Joseph that a change in philosophy won't help.

You don't win the Grey Cup one year and be this terrible the next without something else going wrong around you.

You don't win the Most Outstanding Player award one year and play the part of equal opportunity quarterback the next -- overthrowing and underthrowing, take your pick -- without there being a reason of significance.

But there was Joseph last night, before the largest opening-night Argos crowd in 16 years, in this the year the Buffalo Bills come calling, providing little to cheer about.

There was Joseph, out of sync and playing the part of square peg trying to fit into round hole in Steve Buratto's dubious offence, in this awful 32-13 trouncing by the previously awful Hamilton Tiger Cats. Two games into Rich Stubler's first season as a head coach , the Argos have all of two real offensive touchdowns in what used to be the wild and woolly Canadian Football League. There wasn't much wild and not a lot of woolly from the Argos last night. But there were no shortage of questions.

Beginning with Joseph, who was brought to Toronto to give the Argos something to sell.

Like, why pick up a running quarterback and then try and turn him into a pocket passer?

Like, why take Joseph's greatest asset -- his legs -- almost entirely out of the offence?

Like, why, if you're going to play this old-school, old-style traditional offence, why not put the quarterback with the large arm, Michael Bishop, in the game.

It's hard to figure what the Argos have in mind after two games of this most irregular season. In the once offensive happy CFL, the Argos have managed two offensive touchdowns in two games thus far.

SPUTTERING OFFENCE

One came from a Michael Bishop drive in Winnipeg.

The other came from a Joseph run last night after the only decent drive of the night by the Argos.

The only other touchdown the Argos have scored this season came courtesy of a blocked punt.

And that's it.

That from a team that changed starting quarterbacks, running backs and about half its receivers coming into the season. That from a team that had such a division between offence and defence late last season that there was almost an uncivil war in the Argos dressing room.

At least last night, the Argos defence sunk to some of the offence's depths so there can be no finger pointing after this defeat. There were problems just about everywhere that Dominique Dorsey wasn't. The little return man was terrific last night but he was also very much alone.

Away from him, the Argos defence took a couple of crushing undisciplined penalties that basically prevented them from having any chance of coming back. The defence is and has to be better than this.

But this is and always has been a quarterback's league and that has to start with building an offence around Joseph.

He was the big pickup of the off-season, the championship quarterback coming off the greatest year of his life.

But at least one thing is missing from this season other than an offence that suits his skill set. Kent Austin is missing. His coach from a year ago is now at Ole Miss and it isn't hard to determine that Joseph Ole Miss's him.

AUSTIN POWER

The two best seasons Joseph has had in the CFL came with Austin coaching him: The best season Damon Allen had as an Argo -- and maybe in his career -- came with Austin coaching him.

We pass the baton to Buratto, the offensive coordinator of a team without offence for the second season of his two-year tenure here. Last year, injuries messed up everything. This year, with the MOP quarterback, was supposed to be different.

It wasn't like the Argos didn't have great field position, especially in the first half when they managed all of no touchdowns. Their average starting position was the 43 yard line. You start with that kind of field position, you have to score points.

So for now, there is no real Argos quartebacking controversy: But there should be controversy with their offensive scheming. If Joseph is to be the quarterback he was sold to be, the Argos play calling needs to change.

And fast.


Photos