Pivot gets Pickett apart

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Don Matthews would love to have a good read on Cody Pickett at quarterback after his pivot's first career CFL start for the Toronto Argonauts.

But the Argos head coach would be hard-pressed to decipher exactly what was achieved by the controversial decision to put Pickett action against the Calgary Stampeders last night.

Or what Pickett accomplished.

Pickett, who Matthews opted for over reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player Kerry Joseph, was OK in his first CFL start. It's just the rest of the Argos -- outside of running back Dominique Dorsey -- did a whole lot of nothing.

"Cody was victimized by some of his supporting cast from time to time," Matthews said in the wake of Calgary's 34-4 thrashing of his team at McMahon Stadium. "Other times, he got a little hurried. All in all, for a first game, he was pretty poised and did a fair job."

The numbers bear out Matthews' take. Pickett completed 21 of 36 passes for 193 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

The disturbing numbers were from those around him. Three times, his teammates fumbled the ball. Twice the Stampeders grabbed the pigskin.

Both times, threatening drives were quashed.

"Giving too many chances to a good football team," Matthews said. "We had enough chances to make that a very competitive game, but we didn't do it. That's what we've got to accomplish."

Realistically, the Argos had no chance to make last night's game "competitive."

When the final gun sounded, it was obvious the Stampeders are the superior team in all areas and were full marks for the one-sided score.It's why Calgary boasts an 8-4 record, while Toronto sits at 4-8.

But the Boatmen believe they can eventually rebuild out of the ashes. Eventually.

"There are some positive things that we can build on," Matthews said. "I can build some better schemes, and that's my job. I've got to make sure I figure out the talent level of these players and make schemes available for them to succeed.

"I see us getting better. I see good players on our football team. I see some chinks in our armour, but I see some good players, and yes it's a work in progress."

Pickett would fall into that category, although Matthews wouldn't divulge who he planned to start at QB when these teams meet again Saturday in Toronto for the second half of this home-and-home series.

"I felt relaxed and felt fine," Pickett said. "We just got to find a way to play better. The score was a lot worse than it should have been and we kinda let it get away from us.

"I'd go out there right now if I could, but there's a lot of things we've got to correct, things to look at on film and hopefully we correct them and play better next weekend."

Toronto would have to be light years better to earn a win when the Stampeders visit the Big Smoke.

About the only player who could say he reached his potential was Dorsey, who had a career-best 342 all-purpose yards. Not that Dorsey would say his teammates weren't pulling their weight.

"I've got to be the bigger man and not let this all bring us down," he explained. "It's important to stay positive in every aspect because all we can do is build off each week.

"It seems like other teams are growing stronger, and we're growing stronger, too, but it's those mistakes that are key. At this stage of our season and with everybody getting better, it's hard to continue making mistakes and come out with a victory."


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