The inevitable has become the reality for the Argonauts.
With an offence that has been mired in sputter mode for weeks, head coach Bart Andrus confirmed yesterday that Cody Pickett will start at quarterback on Friday night when the B.C. Lions visit the Rogers Centre.
Kerry Joseph has not been able to get anything done, and after a 25-0 loss to the Montreal Alouettes last week, Andrus had no choice but to make the switch, even though he and general manager Adam Rita had expressed faith in Joseph on the weekend.
“Let’s see if he can’t spark us, see if can’t move our team a little better and see where it goes from there,” Andrus said. “By no means are we gun-shy about bringing Kerry (Joseph) back. But right now, we are going to start Cody Pickett. I feel good about the decision and I think he will have a fantastic game.”
If Pickett performs well — and considering he has just two Canadian Football League starts on his resume, it’s a rather large if — there is a chance Joseph has made his last start for Toronto. The 2007 CFL most outstanding player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Joseph has not come close to that level in his time as an Argo.
In fact, most of his tenure in Double Blue has been forgettable for Joseph, who was caught in a quarterback controversy through the first half of last season before Michael Bishop was traded.
Since Bishop was dealt, what was a much calmer environment for Joseph did not help.
Joseph, who has thrown a league-high 10 interceptions with just seven touchdowns in the air, was asked whether he could see the reasoning in Andrus’ decision.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Joseph, 35, said. “Bart is the head man and as players you roll with it. It’s no reason to hang your head. This team, this game is not about Kerry Joseph. It’s about winning championships.”
Championship? How about just a touchdown or two? The Argos, at 2-4, have just two majors in their past four games. Pickett, who lost both his starts in 2008 against the Calgary Stampeders, doesn’t mind throwing out of the pocket. The 29-year-old has attempted 115 passes in the CFL and completed 70, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
At 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, Pickett will bring more of a prototypical quarterback’s body than the six-foot, 215-pound Joseph.
“We have confidence in whoever is in there,” receiver Tyler Scott said. “If (the opposing defence) brings a blitz, Cody likes to get it off quick. Kerry will move out of the pocket and Cody likes to be in it more, so it gives us a little more time to be in and out of our routes.”
Pickett looked okay when he mopped up for Joseph last week in Montreal, and said he will be a little more relaxed than he was when he was called on to make his first CFL start in Week 12 last year.
“I feel like I am a lot more mature,” Pickett said. “I felt comfortable last week.
“I’ll try to put the ball in my playmakers’ hands and make good decisions. I’ll just do the best I can.”