Bart Andrus is confident that Kerry Joseph can be the guy to right the Argonauts’ listing offensive ship.
The quarterback and the rest of the Argos offence has run aground, but Andrus, five games into his tenure as head coach, is not about to give up on the 35-year-old Joseph.
“I am not in a mode where I think he is the reason everything is going sour when things go sour, because that is not the case at all,” Andrus said yesterday. “He is getting hit a lot. That needs to be improved.
“We need to protect him better. Sometimes errors occur because he is hurried or hit. The average fan does not see that because they follow the flight of the ball.”
Joseph’s numbers heading into a potentially scary game against the Alouettes in Montreal on Friday night aren’t great. Though he is third in the Canadian Football League with 1,243 passing yards, he has completed just 57% of his passes, lowest among regular starters. Joseph has thrown nine interceptions, five fewer than he threw all of last season.
Joseph is tied with Montreal’s Anthony Calvillo and Saskatchewan’s Darian Durant with a league-high seven touchdown passes, but six of Joseph’s were in the first two games.
The Argos have two touchdowns in their past three games, one on the ground and on in the air.
What’s worrisome is that while Joseph has been able to move the team down the field at times, scoring a major after getting into the red zone has become rare. On too many occasions Joseph has thrown an interception or the Argos have had to settle for a Justin Medlock field goal.
There’s a growing sense among observers of the Argos that Joseph has little hope of re-discovering the overall performance that saw him named the CFL’s most outstanding player in 2007.
But Andrus’ concerns are with all of his players, not just Joseph.
“I have concerns with him, I have concerns with our offensive line, I have concerns with how our defensive backs are catching the ball (for interceptions),” Andrus said. “I have concerns with receivers volleyball-setting the ball up for interceptions. There are a lot of concerns.
“This organization is in a transitional stage. I always liken it to Dalmatian puppies. They are born with no spots and all of a sudden the spots start showing up. That’s what happens. We learn things about guys and what they can and can’t do.”
Meanwhile, receiver P.K. Sam is expected to report tomorrow. Waived by the Buffalo Bills after suffering a quad injury in camp, Sam played in six games for Toronto last year and had 499 receiving yards (good for fourth on the team) and three touchdowns. Sam’s injury would keep him out this Friday, but Andrus said he has “definite interest” in the 26-year-old.
Receiver Matt Lambros (knee) has been added to the nine-week injury list, while receiver Andre Talbot (ankle), if he has not been put on the nine-week yet, will be soon, Andrus said.