Argos ride out wideout woes

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:45 PM ET

There was a time when the Argonauts defence regularly hid the team's offensive woes.

It happened again on Friday night in Winnipeg -- a 19-5 victory over the woeful Blue Bombers -- underlying the notion that Toronto's offence remains a major work in progress.

True, the Argos were decimated at receiver and windy conditions helped ensure that keeping the ball on the ground was the smart thing to do. But with just 244 total yards on offence, quarterback Kerry Joseph knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

"We know we can be better in the passing game," Joseph said. "The more reps the young guys get, the better all of us are going to get."

Joseph threw the ball 28 times, completed just 14 and threw two interceptions. That was eating at him in an otherwise happy Argos locker room at Canad Inns Stadium after the victory.

'TWO TOO MANY'

"I had two picks, and the first one was tipped," Joseph said. "But you now what? It's on me. Two is still too many."

With Arland Bruce presumably another day closer to either being traded or released (the latter is the safer bet), Joseph should have a veteran target back in the lineup Saturday for the rematch at the Rogers Centre as Andre Talbot, who sprained his right ankle in Week 3 against Calgary, is preparing to return. What it will come down to is how well Talbot can run.

"He seems to think so and that is half of it right there," head coach Bart Andrus said. "I think the swelling is under control and his range of motion is getting better."

With Bruce and Talbot out, the Argos' next best receiver is converted quarterback Reggie McNeal, who caught four balls for 60 yards in Winnipeg. The lack of depth can become a sore spot if the run game dries up, but the signing of former B.C. Lion Cory Rodgers to the practice roster last week could help. Cut by B.C. on July 8, Rodgers had suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 4 last season. Prior to getting hurt, the Texas Christian product had five touchdowns in 21 games over two seasons with B.C.

But the Argos could catch a break in playing Winnipeg again in their next game. The horribly disorganized Bombers offence, combined with the Argos' defensive wall, didn't come close to threatening. If that's the case again on Saturday, the Argos could get by for another week with using Jamal Robertson to run as much as possible. And why not? Robertson has a league-high 494 yards from scrimmage and already is more than halfway to improving on the 645 yards rushing he amassed in 2008.

In a surprise development, sources close to the Bombers said that the team is finalizing a deal with ex-Argos quarterback Michael Bishop, and there's a chance he will start Saturday.

As for Bruce, his agent yesterday said little has changed.

"It probably makes more sense for teams to (wait for Bruce to be released)," Angelo Wright said. "But if I'm the Argos, I try to come up with something creative. We'll see what they do. I've told Arland to report to the next practice and we will go from there."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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