The facts according to Argos' Talbot: 'We suck'

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

Andre Talbot has been an Argonaut since 2001 and he never has been a part of something so bad.

The Argos' record of 4-7 is one thing, but for Talbot, it's about a lot more than what the standings say. It's the malaise and me-first attitude that has settled into the corners of the Argos locker room that brings shivers to the receiver's spine.

"It's an atmosphere that has been created up to this point, some how, some way," Talbot said in a mostly empty Argos room after the horrible loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night at the Rogers Centre.

"We're not playing together. We are all playing as individuals. If we mess up a couple of times, that does not mean it should set the tone for the rest of the game. We need guys with heart and character.

"We suck. That's my take on things right now, is that we suck."

Other than Dominique Dorsey, no Argo has been consistently good in 2008. The mistakes have come to the point where there are too many to count, and off the field, the optics have been just as terrible.

Whether it has been a quarterback controversy (which might be welcomed again with the way Kerry Joseph has been playing), players blasting the team on their way out of town or the firing of head coach Rich Stubler last week, this likely won't be a season that will have provided many highlights when it ends this fall.

The room was divided when Joseph and the now-traded Michael Bishop were trying to co-exist, and the once-strong defence is no more. Changes already have been made -- Orlondo Steinauer is gone, Chuck Winters is on the nine-game injured reserve, and some think Michael Fletcher, once he recovers from a foot injury, could be the next to go. But more could be coming.

Offensively, receiver Bethel Johnson has missed two catchable balls in the end zone since coming back from injury. Joseph has no confidence, and each time out, it's like he and the receivers were introduced just before game time. There's zero chemistry.

New coach Don Matthews arrived just in time to witness the Argos suffer their worst loss of the season when Winnipeg beat them by 30 points. Despite Matthews' resume that includes the most wins by any CFL coach in the league's history, Talbot sees no quick fix.

"Don is not going to come in and turn the switch," Talbot said. "It takes more than one man to change the funk we are in. Different things have happened over the past two or three months that got us into this environment where we are not a good team."

The Argos are clinging to second place in the East Division, and have a home-and-home with the Calgary Stampeders that begins out west on Saturday. Can the good ship Argonaut set sail again, or is it time for everyone to jump ship?

"It's frustrating to be this deep into the season and have to go through this," Talbot said. "But we have the athletes to get out of it. All it takes is some soul-searching. We need to step up, we need to be men."


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