Joseph wants to get better

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Kerry Joseph respects the opinion of Charlie Taaffe, but ...

"I am nowhere near where I want to be," Joseph said yesterday at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

"The main focus is to get our team in the end zone and we have not been able to do that the past couple of games. I am not satisfied with it. As a team we still have a lot of improving to do."

No one will argue with Joseph on that point. The Argos, 3-3, would move to a game over .500 for the first time in six weeks if they emerge victorious tonight in an East Division tilt, while the Ticats, 1-5, are in familiar barrel-bottom territory. Though the clubs boast one of the longest rivalries in professional sports, the matchup is the kind that drives scalpers to drink.

Despite that, Taaffe was full of compliments for Joseph, who has not yet put a stamp on the Argos offence after a stellar 2007 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But Taaffe, whose job as Ticats head coach might be hanging in the balance, saw some things in watching film of Joseph this week that made him sit up.

"I think Kerry was learning a new offence and maybe was not really comfortable early on, but now he is back to being Kerry Joseph," Taaffe said. "He feels those seams open, pulls the ball down and takes off. When you have a quarterback who has the ability to do that, it creates another set of problems (for the Hamilton defence).

"He is not waiting around and hesitating."

Joseph will have a new weapon, potentially. Fourth-string quarterback Reggie McNeal will start at wide receiver as James Robinson recovers from a foot injury.

The Argos offence has not been great, but it would not trade its production for that of the Ticats.

Casey Printers, Jesse Lumsden and Tony Miles are injured, and the Hamilton offence is just plain hurting. In a league where offence rules the day and excitement is based on big plays, the Ticats have not had one passing touchdown in 2008.

It's up to Richie Williams to get the Tiger-Cats into the end zone via the air, but he was not going to lie awake last night thinking about it.

"We did not talk about having to throw a touchdown pass," said Williams, who could win Will Smith look-a-like contests without trying. "(But) I am not going to go out and try to run. Only if I have to. I am not going to drop back, act like I am looking and just run. That is not in the game plan at all."

The Argos were killed by the Ticats' run in Week 2, but Lumsden's idleness should be a bonus. Still, the members of the Argos defence have not lost sight of things that went wrong in that game. There have been changes since -- the Argos are utilizing four along the front with more regularity -- but the Tiger-Cats know they have to be patient.

The Argos figure they had a statement game last week, holding the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 11 points. Defensive end Jonathan Brown was a unanimous choice as the CFL's defensive player of the week, and linebacker Kevin Eiben will return after missing two games with a knee injury. Dominique Dorsey, meanwhile, was named special teams player of the week.

But Joseph is the man the Ticats will be hunting.

"If you get Joseph rattled, that's when things come apart," linebacker Zeke Moreno said. "The key thing is trying to contain Joseph."


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