Expect the Argos to rise in fall

FRANK ZICARELLI, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

It has been said that the CFL season doesn't really kick off until Labour Day, the unofficial start for three-down football when the road to the Grey Cup begins to be forged.

It bears repeating as the Argos enter their bye week after losing to the Montreal Alouettes 32-14 last night in what amounted to a matchup of the East's top two teams.

As much as people want to dissect and second-guess the goings on with the Argos, heap praise or ridicule on rookie head coach Rich Stubler, the true measuring stick won't arrive until a fortnight.

And only then can one begin to properly judge the Argos.

Eight weeks into the season and the Argos are neither bad nor good.

In the CFL, being in that grey area actually helps the team in double blue.

More than regroup from a mental standpoint, the next two weeks will provide the Argos with an opportunity to re-assess their roster.

Barring a major trade or the release of a veteran -- as of last night neither scenario appeared likely -- the Argos are hopeful that their walking wounded will return.

Offensively, the Argos remain a work in progress, due in part to an inconsistent roster.

Kerry Joseph's greatest asset is his athleticism.

When the offence breaks down, when no receiver is able to create separation, Joseph's running ability moves the chains and puts the Argos in a position to score.

And the Argos have two running quarterbacks.

Without Bethel Johnson, there has been no consistent deep threat.

Arland Bruce III finally was able to break free in the opening half against the Als, producing his longest play of the season, a 36-yard completion.

Johnson, who continues to nurse an ankle injury, is expected to return for the Labour Day tussle in Hamilton.

Johnson's presence can only help Bruce, who has been double-and-triple-teamed, and in turn help the Argos score touchdowns.

Fourth-string quarterback-turned first-string receiver Reggie McNeal makes for a nice story on a slow news week, but good teams don't resort to such schemes, unless faced with an emergency.

There is plenty of time for the Argos to find their offensive rhythm. Now is not the time to panic.

They have struggled, at times have looked downright inept, but it should be expected given the newness on offence.

CFL offences begin to hit their stride in the fall.

If there is one glaring need for an upgrade, it is found on the offensive line.

Ross Weaver played his final game last night and will return to his duties with the U.S. Air Force.

The Argos can use a few bodies and chances are reinforcements will be brought in by the time the team reconvenes.

No matter who lines up, the O-line has to clean up its pass protection, which has stalled drives and forced field goals.

Dominique Dorsey has to get more touches, and not just on special teams.

He doesn't have the size to run in between the tackle spots and he isn't effective in picking up blitz packages when lining up in the backfield, but Dorsey makes defenders miss, especially in the open field.

More than anything, the Argos need to clean up their game on defence, which has been the team's identity in recent years when it would often compensate for an ineffective offence.

They have looked vulnerable against the run, but perhaps the most telling aspect has been their penchant for yielding the big play.

The team decided not to make any wholesale changes on defence because it knew what it had in a group dotted with experience.

Veterans know how to elevate their game when the stakes get higher.

It says here the Argos will be fine once they begin to fine-tune their game and develop a consistent roster.

And it begins on Sept. 1 and a date with the Ticats.


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