The future is friendly

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Out of the mountain of mistakes for the Argonauts on Friday night came, apparently, a sliver of hope.

With three games remaining on their 2008 schedule, the Argos have started to look to '09, and not all of them are discouraged by what they see when they peer into the future.

"We're on the right track as a team," defensive tackle Adriano Belli, dripping blood off a cut finger, said following their 25-16 loss in Winnipeg on Friday night. "We are going to get it worked out. If it happens this year, who knows. But you feel it in the locker room. I know the average fan can't see it, but we are getting it together."

Based on what co-owner David Cynamon told Sun Media on Friday, the Argos players and their fans probably should expect to see the management tandem of general manager Adam Rita and assistant GM Greg Mohns assembling the team that will take the field next year.

Even Don Matthews, 0-5 in his latest incarnation as Argos coach, could be back. Cynamon indicated he would like to have Matthews, who turns 70 next June, on the sidelines again.

Undoubtedly, more changes will be coming. Linebacker Mike O'Shea and offensive lineman Jude St. John could be finishing long careers. Linebacker Michael Fletcher is still around, but he has been phased out. Special teams captain Chris Hardy no longer is in Matthews' plans.

Of those on defence who have been mainstays, Brown, nose tackle Adriano Belli, cornerback Byron Parker and linebackers Willie Pile (the Argos' most consistent defensive player) and Kevin Eiben should be okay for next season.

Offensively, two men who were supposed to help spearhead the attack, quarterback Kerry Joseph and receiver Arland Bruce, will have to put mediocre seasons behind them if they return. Receiver P.K. Sam has acquitted himself well and no one is more dependable than Andre Talbot.

Dominique Dorsey is excellent on special teams, but there will have to be an upgrade at running back from Dorsey and Jamal Robertson.

Mike Vanderjagt hasn't been lights-out in his kicking return to the CFL, but he has not been a waste, either.

Most importantly, if the Argos are going to have success again, it would be wise to stop reminding the players that professional sport can be a cold, hard business. Many became disillusioned, starting when Noel Prefontaine was traded to the Edmonton Eskimos to make room for Vanderjagt. After that, it was clear to all that no one truly was safe.

"A lot of guys have left, but we will have a core group of guys who can get it done and we'll see what happens," Brown said.


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