Argo defence under fire

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

His quarterback situation not as muddied as it was a few weeks ago, Argos head coach Rich Stubler now will turn his attention to his defence.

The inconsistent Argos will be back at practice today, less than two days after they failed to stop third-string Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Steven Jyles from beating them in Regina.

And Stubler knew in the minutes after a 28-22 loss in Regina on Sunday night what lay in wait this week. The Argos won't have much time to digest the setback in Saskatchewan, given a home date Friday night with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that kicks off a stretch of six games versus East Division rivals.

"I have to get in the defence's ears like I got in the offence," Stubler said after the loss. "This is one of those years where it is not 12-11 games. It's going to be 30-29 games, and we have to figure out a way to score the 30."

And stop the opposition from scoring a pile as well, but that won't happen easily. Through the first five weeks of the regular season in he CFL, no team has scored less than 10 points in any game.

What has got under the skin of the Argos so far is the team's inability to put everything together at the same time. Simply, not a lot is clicking right now.

The defence has allowed a league-high average of 166 yards on the ground, but the 246 passing yards allowed per game is lowest in the CFL.

Toronto is 2-3, which is good enough for a first-place tie in the East with the Montreal Alouettes, but not much else.

The Argos could have put some ground between themselves and the Blue Bombers, who stumbled to an 0-4 start before winning last week, but the clubs will have the same records if Winnipeg wins at the Rogers Centre.

"It's frustrating because we can't get it right," defensive end Jonathan Brown said. "You hear a lot that it's early, but at 2-3, we're not happy right now. We have to get some things together and hopefully next week against Winnipeg we will turn it around."

Though Stubler does not appear to overly concerned with the offence, there have to be little alarm bells ringing in the back of his mind. The Argos, in the first quarter against the Roughriders, repeatedly had good field position as punter Jamie Boreham was stymied by the wind. But Toronto had just a 4-0 lead after 15 minutes, and outside of engineering two touchdown drives in the second quarter, Joseph was not effective. It didn't help his receivers conspired against him at times.

The Argos earlier in the week spoke of building off the last-minute, game-winning drive in Week 4 against Edmonton. But the words turned out to be hollow, as the carry over did not unfold.

And though there might have been some grumbling about a couple of late calls that did not go in the Argos' favour, a better-prepared team would not have needed breaks against a team that had a third-stringer taking snaps.

"Offensively we moved the ball, but there were some lulls," running back Jeff Johnson said. "I think there were four passes in a row that we dropped, starting with me, and that is unacceptable. We just have to catch the damn ball.

"The bottom line is we are getting close, but we have to get everything together in all three phases (offence, defence and special teams.)"


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