Bombers wary of Joseph

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Doug Brown has been watching film of the Argonauts this past week and might have caught something that's not evident to the naked eye.

"His potential, his ability has not gone anywhere," the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle said, referring to Argos quarterback Kerry Joseph. "He is a big-game player and this is a big game. It's one of those deals where we have to make sure he is not a multi-dimensional threat. He is one of their most formidable weapons and we have to take that into account."

So much for in-your-face opinions on the eve of the biggest CFL game of the season for the Argos and the Blue Bombers. Rather than make any bold declarations, players on both sides kept it neat and tidy yesterday, refusing to put their names on bulletin-board material.

Of the importance of this one, however, there is no doubt. Argos lose, they have to win their remaining three games and Winnipeg would have to lose its final three for Toronto to go to the playoffs. Argos win, they move into second place in the East Division and suddenly a season that seemingly has been lost for weeks gets a shot in the heart.

And there probably is no one on either side who wants to win more than Joseph, a player who would rather forget most of what he has done in an Argos uniform. He concurred that he has not played in a more crucial game since the 2007 Grey Cup, when his Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Blue Bombers in Toronto.

"It would help to win, it would really help," Joseph said. "There's a lot involved. At this point, I would say it is the biggest and it just happens to be against Winnipeg."

As they did during a Bombers rout in Toronto on Sept. 12, the clubs will wear retro uniforms in recognition of the 1950s CFL. The Argos will try to conjure a more recent time, such as the two wins they recorded against the Bombers earlier this season. Receiver P.K. Sam, who hurt a groin more than a week ago, has been added to the roster and should give Joseph a solid option. But in what could be another sign that the defence is changing into something much different, linebacker Kevin Eiben, who started as late as last week against the B.C. Lions, did not make the trip, despite being listed on the starting roster.

The forecast was calling for light rain, wind, and a high of 6C, and if it holds true, expect both sides to rely more on their running backs.

The Argos' defence was better versus B.C., holding the Lions to 371 yards, the lowest total against Toronto in more than two months. Head coach Don Matthews picked up the 4-3 defence that former coach Rich Stubler had began to use, and the new approach is sinking in.

"The great thing about our guys is their spirit is really remarkable," Matthews said. "They bought into this knowing it's a project that is going to turn around on a moment's notice. As we do every week, we hope it is this week."

Bombers receiver Milt Stegall has been around for years and knows that Matthews, like most coaches, want to make life hellish for the quarterback. Kevin Glenn has had a topsy-turvy year, and the Argos want to keep him off-guard.

"The outcome is going to come down to the end," Stegall said. "Whoever is in the stands, don't leave. Stay all 60 minutes because it is going to be a nail-biter."


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