'Time to right the ship'

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

A potentially pivotal date with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers looms in less than two weeks, but it might not matter much if the Argonauts don't beat the B.C. Lions at home on Friday.

"All it takes is one win, and it has to happen (against B.C.)," running back Jeff Johnson said. "If we are going to salvage anything, we have to do it. Winnipeg has turned things around, and it's time for us to right this ship."

The Blue Bombers have won three in a row and are in Edmonton to face the Eskimos on Saturday. Gone is the Argos' hold on second place in the East Division and a playoff spot, taken when the Bombers won on Friday and the Argos lost the next night.

At 4-9 with five games left, the Argos almost are guaranteed of finishing with a sub-.500 record for the first time since 2002, when they were 8-10 under Garry Etcheverry and Michael (Pinball) Clemons.

Never mind that, it's conceivable the Argos won't win again in 2008, especially with Dominique Dorsey nursing ankle and knee injuries. If the Argos go 4-14, it would equal a record they have not seen since they dipped that low in 1995 with Mike Faragalli, followed by Bob O'Billovich, roaming the sideline.

Making the situation even more dire is the Argos' record against the Lions, the lone CFL club they have not met this season. The Argos are 0-6 in the past three years against the Lions, with one win in their past eight versus B.C.

Head coach Don Matthews said earlier last week that he didn't buy the idea that his players can't or don't trust each other on the field simply because they don't know the guy next to them that well. With the moves that have come on defence, and to a lesser extent when the Argos have the ball, it's obvious the players need more time to get comfortable with each other. But even if they do, it does not necessarily mean they will be good enough to overtake the Bombers for the post-season berth and the right to play host to a semi-final.

"It's very hard, especially when it's rookies," defensive end Jonathan Brown said. "Rookies have never seen the whole game, but they are learning, and getting better each week. When you come up here from the United States, you're not used to all the motions and other stuff. It's different than having a veteran team."

On top of Dorsey, the Argos also lost offensive tackle Jonta Woodard to an undisclosed injury. With Dorsey out, expect Jamal Robertson to be reinstated, and some more playing time on offence should open up for Andre Durie, Johnson and Bryan Crawford.

"When we turn this around, it's going to make it that much more special because we have gone through a lot of controversy," Johnson said. "We win a few games, get that second place, we are in the playoffs. Guys have not lost vision of that yet. We just have to flush everything else down the toilet."


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