The situation is getting so dire for Argonauts head coach Don Matthews that his secondary plans are falling through before he has a chance to implement them.
When he released under-achieving receiver Bethel Johnson earlier this week, Matthews wanted to give P.K. Sam a prime shot tonight against the B.C. Lions. But Sam pulled up lame with a groin injury Wednesday in practice, and James Robinson, who was being groomed to become a safety, was listed as a starter at receiver for tonight.
"We would rather have Sam," Matthews said. "He has been working there, but we can't really throw up our hands and say uncle. We have some good players, we have to put them in and that would be our only choice."
There was a fraction of good news, as returner/running back Dominique Dorsey, the Argos' most productive player in 2008, loosely is targeting Oct. 18 against Montreal as his return to the lineup. Dorsey was playing on a bad ankle and then suffered a sprained knee against the Calgary Stampeders last week.
"It's coming along better than I thought it would," said Dorsey, who was named CFL special teams player of the month for September. "I've been riding the bike and the next step is getting on the field. We'll see."
Argos nose tackle Adriano Belli, who will sing the national anthem tonight, referred to the match against the Lions as "do or die." Toronto is two points behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for second place in the East Division, a spot which would secure a playoff berth.
The Argos have been bad under Matthews, losing by wide margins in all three games, but the winningest coach in CFL history has been looking under every rock for positives.
And he is keeping his fingers crossed that Kerry Joseph finally starts to resemble the man who was the CFL's most outstanding player in 2007.
"We're in a dilemma at quarterback," Matthews said. "We don't have a solid answer one way or the other. This is Kerry's game and I am hopeful it will also be his game next week."
The Lions are preparing for the Argos as if the Double Blue will be competitive. That might be asking for too much.
"I look at the Argos like an animal that has been backed into a corner and you don't know what it is going to do," Lions defensive end Brent Johnson said. "You have to be careful with an animal like that. They're not a bad team. They have had some bad breaks."