Pickett or not, Argos can't score

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Brent Johnson and the other members of the B.C. Lions defence didn’t sack their game plan when they learned that Cody Pickett will start at quarterback for the Argonauts tonight.

“I would like to tell you that we redrew our playbook and had to figure out a bunch of different stuff, but no,” the Lions’ top defensive lineman said. “Their offence is their offence, whether it is Pickett running it or Kerry (Joseph).”

And as the rest of the Canadian Football League knows, it’s an offence that can’t score. The Argos are last with 106 points through six games and the decision by head coach Bart Andrus to hand the football to Pickett is one of desperation.

Andrus is keeping his fingers crossed that Pickett’s ability to put the ball in the air quicker than Joseph will give the Argos life, but the Boatmen might want to think about making running back Jamal Robertson a busy man at the Rogers Centre. The Lions defence is not good against the rush, having allowed 138.7 yards a game on the ground, the second-most in the league.

Much has been made of Pickett’s increased maturity — though judging how a player has grown when he never plays is kind of hard — but the 29-year-old former San Francisco 49er simply has to get something done on the field.

If it’s not tonight, it’s difficult to see how he gets another shot, no matter how bad Joseph has been.

Pickett was not about to give anything away.

“We’re going to do what we have been doing,” Pickett said, ignoring the fact the Argos were shut out last week in Montreal. “We will have a little bit of a mixture of everything. They’re solid on defence. We have to do a good job of taking care of the ball and getting first downs.”

Pickett reiterated that he has to get the ball into his “playmakers’ hands” but the reality is Pickett doesn’t have an array of weapons to choose from. His best option would have been receiver P.K. Sam, who has been activated from the injured list but will not play tonight as he still has too much to learn, Andrus said.

Pickett has thrown one touchdown in the CFL, and it was last year in Vancouver against the Lions when he hooked up with Sam in the penultimate game of the regular season.

It would be a stretch to say Andrus sounded convincing when he was asked if he had enough playmakers on offence.

“Yeah, those guys are capable, for sure,” Andrus said without naming names. “I believe that. We have good receivers here. We need to be concentrating on catching the ball.”

CFL games can be unpredictable, but the Lions, like the Argos struggling with a 2-4 record, appear to know that shutting down the rusty Pickett might not be taxing.

“He is a good pocket thrower,” Lions head coach Wally Buono said. “He throws on time, he has good accuracy. Are we going to be good enough on defence to alter his rhythm? If we do, we will have success.”


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