Argos stick with Joseph

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Kerry Joseph helped get the Argonauts into this mess, and he probably is going to get a shot to help get them out of it.

Argos head coach Don Matthews yesterday answered "I think so" when he was asked if he would stick with Joseph as his starting quarterback Friday night in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers. That's despite a poor outing by Joseph last Friday against the B.C. Lions when he completed less than 50% of his passes. But Matthews has little choice, as Cody Pickett did little to merit more starts in a two-game audition against the Calgary Stampeders a few weeks ago.

The Bombers lead the Argos by two points in the East Division, where six or seven wins and a bag of candy will get a team into the playoffs.

If the Argos win Friday, they will be tied with Winnipeg at 5-9, but will move into second place based on winning the season tiebreaker. The Argos can lose and still be alive for a post-season berth, but they would have to win their remaining three games and Winnipeg would have to lose its final three for Toronto to get in.

"This is it, this is our season right here," Joseph said. "If I had to put everything on it, this is it for us to get to where we want to go in the playoffs.

"We can't afford to let them go up two games on us."

Joseph turned 35 on Saturday and spent the afternoon on the links at Glen Abbey in Oakville, and he will have plenty more time to work on his stroke at his off-season home in Louisiana if the Argos fail to get into the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Joseph has really had only one positively memorable game with the Argos, and that was on July 20, when he engineered a last-minute drive for a comeback win against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Joseph's completion rate is the worst among regular CFL starting quarterbacks at 54.7%, and he has thrown for six touchdowns. Normally, numbers such as these would have driven a club into the ground, but the Argos are alive because three-quarters of the East Division stinks.

What's more, the Argos fully are aware that the CFL is a league where crazy and unpredictable things can happen without the raising of an eyebrow. In 2000, the B.C. Lions were 8-10 but won the Grey Cup; a year later, the Stampeders won the Grey Cup after finishing the regular season 8-10.

"As long as you are in it, that's all you can ask for," offensive guard Jude St. John said. "We are fortunate this year that the East is such a weak division. We could have been done a couple of weeks ago.

"Some of us older guys have seen teams barely make the playoffs and go on to win the Grey Cup. If you can get to the playoffs, you're two wins away from playing in the Grey Cup."

Though several of his players said the game Friday is "must-win," Matthews would not use those words exactly.

"I will continue to say that I'm a game-by-game guy," Matthews said. "If you're looking at the numbers of the season, you're absolutely right (that it is Toronto's biggest game of 2008)."


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