Joseph deals with demotion

Cody Pickett (right) and Kerry Joseph run during Argo's practice on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

Cody Pickett (right) and Kerry Joseph run during Argo's practice on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

Originally shocked with the news that he was going to be benched, Argonauts quarterback Kerry Joseph yesterday called his demotion "a part of life."

"You don't hang your head, you just keep moving on and be a great teammate," Joseph said in his first media scrum since Argos head coach announced the change on Monday.

"It's a little frustrating. Sometimes you try to not think that everything is your fault. Sometimes I have felt that way."

Not even a week on the job, Matthews told Joseph on Sunday afternoon that he will sit Saturday in Calgary when Cody Pickett starts against the Stampeders.

Where Joseph and Michael Bishop, who was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders last month, were not enamoured with each other, don't expect a quarterback controversy this time around. When Joseph finished talking to reporters, he embraced Pickett, who was standing nearby. Pickett later said Joseph is his closest friend on the team, and the two room together on the road.

Joseph, the 2007 CFL most outstanding player with the Roughriders and winner of the Grey Cup before a trade in March brought him to Toronto, has endured a horrible season.

His 55.1% completion rate is near the bottom of the league and he has thrown for just six touchdowns against 11 interceptions. There has been zero chemistry with the receivers, a fact receiver Andre Talbot acknowledged in an interview with Sun Media after a 39-9 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.

"(This year) has been strange," Joseph said. "It's hard to put a finger on it.

"Emotionally, it has been a tough year. Nobody has been more frustrated than I have in trying to help get this team to the point where we need it to be."

The 28-year-old Pickett, who saw his first CFL action as a quarterback last Friday, was not expecting to get the call. At this point, it's not clear whether the move simply will be a stop-gap measure or will result in a long run by Pickett.

A LOT TO LEARN

"I am comfortable, but I know I have a lot to learn," said Pickett, who started two games for the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.

Matthews said the change was based on Joseph's play since the start of the season, not just on the dismal outing against Winnipeg.

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto and Matthews had lunch in May in Oregon and Buratto, who coached Pickett's father, Dee, in college, dropped Pickett's name.

"Steve said, 'I have this Pickett kid and we really think he is going to be good down the road,' " Matthews said.

The Argos are ready for the change.

"Guys would be open and not getting the ball, or there were times when we were not in the right place," Talbot said. "We were not on the same page. We worked at it, but not hard enough and it showed on the field."

The demotion of Joseph is vintage Matthews, as he often drops a bomb not long after he has taken over in a new town.

"I often represent the other side of the ball in practice, and (Pickett) has been the best in terms of trying to pick apart our defence," running back Jeff Johnson said. "He seems to know the game well and has a certain confidence. It's time to make positive headlines."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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