Argos now a dark horse

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

MONTREAL -- There will be no quick fix for everything that ails the Argonauts.

"There is nobody out there who has a magic wand," general manager Adam Rita said yesterday. "We have no choices. There is no such thing as a white stallion in football. It's not like (another sport) where you can bring a guy in and he can come in and play that night.

"The only people who can take us to where we want to go are the ones who are here right now."

The Argos are a team in turmoil as they prepare for their final game, a home date against the B.C. Lions this Friday night, before their bye week. A humiliating 25-0 fall at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes (the first CFL shutout since July 2006 when Winnipeg blanked Hamilton) two nights ago has reverberated through the organization.

Co-owner David Cynamon, who was not at Percival Molson Stadium for the embarrassment, said in an e-mail yesterday that he was "too upset to discuss rationally" the pitiful loss and that he planned to meet with management.

Rita cancelled a scouting trip to Detroit today so he can hunker down with the coaching staff and try to come up with a way for the Argos to emerge from the mess they have become a third of the way through the 18-game Canadian Football League season.

At 2-4, a playoff spot in the East Division is little more than a dream at this point. But with growing evidence that Kerry Joseph no longer can be effective, Rita, like head coach Bart Andrus the night before, refused to pile on his 35-year-old quarterback.

"Why are we always blaming him?" Rita said. "There are 11 other people in the offence. Without having looked at the game tape yet, I would suspect there are a lot of things. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat."

PICKETT'S TIME?

Though a lifeline to Casey Printers is unlikely to happen, the Argos might have to give a hard look at starting backup QB Cody Pickett against B.C. In two starts last year, both against the Calgary Stampeders, Pickett passed for 415 yards but no touchdowns. In relief of Joseph against Montreal, he completed seven of 11 passes for 83 yards and got the Argos deeper into Als territory than Joseph did.

Joseph is not getting much protection from an offensive line that was supposed to be bolstered by the off-season additions of tackle Rob Murphy and centre Dominic Picard through free agency, but that is just part of the overall offensive problem. Arland Bruce (traded) and Andre Talbot (injured) were supposed to be big part of the offence, but instead the Argos' receiving corps generally can't get open. The idea that Joseph completes a long pass is a strange one, as it has been so rare.

"We can't keep saying we will get it (right) this week or next week," Murphy said. "We're getting into the part of the season where it is do or die."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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