Talbot leads by example

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

As difficult as it was to lose for the second time in three weeks, Andre Talbot never lost sight of the big picture.

When he lined up at slotback after making the move from wideout, Talbot saw three rookie receivers starting for the Argos last week in Edmonton.

When the offence would line up, Talbot noticed a more comfortable quarterback in Kerry Joseph.

"Even though it was a bitter, tough loss and we let a few things go, I came away with a lot of confidence and optimism,'' Talbot said yesterday as the Argos continued preparations for Sunday's home game against the Eskimos.

To the naked, untrained football eye, it would be hard to notice signs of improvement from an Argos offence that has averaged a league-low 269 yards.

Talbot, though, believes that Joseph is starting to get on the same page with his receivers, a unit that featured first-year CFL players in Tyler Scott, Johnnie Morant and James Robinson.

The more Joseph gets in sync, the more productive the Argos will become, at least that's the hope.

"I think we made great strides,'' Talbot, who hauled in a team-high eight receptions against the Esks, said. "The more we play with Kerry, the more he'll understand how we run routes and what he'll expect from us."

The Argos certainly are expecting more from Talbot, who has quietly become the longest-tenured receiver in this his eighth season in Double Blue.

Talbot isn't as explosive as Arland Bruce III, but Talbot enters Week 4 as the Argos' leading receiver, which also underlines how important it is for Bruce and Joseph to find a comfort zone.

In the wake of injuries to Bethel Johnson and David Boston, Talbot has been asked to play inside at the slot, a position to which he was first introduced in his early days in Toronto when Mookie Mitchell was the franchise's go-to guy.

ULTIMATE HONOUR

His teammates recognize Talbot's presence and elected the Wilfrid Laurier University product as an offensive captain, the ultimate honour in a team sport.

Admittedly, Talbot isn't vocal, but his work ethic and perseverance are second to none.

Outside of Jude St. John and Chad Folk, no Argo who lines up on offence has seen the changing times, changing offensive co-ordinators and quarterback carousel more than Talbot.

More than anything, that is why Talbot was unfazed when the Argos asked him to line up at slotback.

"I'm built for it,'' the 5-foot-10 Talbot said. "I'm not tall and lanky. I'm short and stocky.

"I've proven that I can take a beating and run those types of routes. I'm quite confident."

By the sheer nature of the CFL, inside receivers are more apt to be on the receiving end of passes because they line up closer to the line of scrimmage.

At the slot position, the waggle is as common as the swim move used by defensive linemen.And when the ball gets thrown Talbot's way, he often catches it.

"Every receiver on this team wants the ball on each play, but you have to know your role,'' Talbot said.

"You have to know when it's time to help get another receiver open or when it's time to make a big play."


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