Argos finding way, despite loss

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

Bart Andrus can't help but get a sense of deja vu.

With his Argonauts sitting on an ugly 2-5 record and their bye week upon them, the head coach yesterday recalled the situation he was in 11 years ago when he was an offensive assistant with the Tennessee Oilers, who became the Titans a year later.

"We would come in after games and my boss, (head coach) Jeff Fisher, would have his head in his hands," Andrus said. "Shaking his head and wondering how many more ways we were going to mess up. We played the (Chicago) Bears at home and we just totally messed up (and lost).

"But we learned from it, we moved on and the next year we were in the Super Bowl. That's how quickly you can turn it around and get it put together. We're on the right path, but we just have to keep moving around boulders on the path."

Tennessee started 1-3 in 1998 and finished 8-8. Argos fans might recall Toronto's 2-5 start in 2006. The Argos turned it around in mid-August and went 8-3 in their final 11 games to head into the playoffs at 10-8 before losing the East final.

Now, no one should be tabbing the Argos for a spot in the Grey Cup a year from November, and a playoff spot this fall remains questionable. They have been improving in some areas -- the turnovers have dropped drastically, penalties are not as big a problem as they have been and the offence came to life under the guidance of quarterback Cody Pickett against the B.C. Lions on Friday night.

But what will eat at the players until they report for practice on Thursday is that a lot has been left on the table. A one-point loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers two weeks ago was ensured when Justin Medlock, on his lone field-goal miss so far, hit the upright in the dying seconds; a horrible quarter against Saskatchewan resulted in 30 points for the Roughriders last month; and then there was Friday against the Lions, when Jarious Jackson picked apart the Argos defence after looking lost in the first half to give B.C. a 36-28 victory.

Reverse some of the mistakes and the Argos probably would have walked away last night with a plus-.500 record.

TOUGH GAME

"Toughest game of the year," linebacker Kevin Eiben said of the loss to B.C. "We have to think about it all bye week. We really needed to win and it's a game we should have won. But we took steps and we will keep trying to improve."

The Argos will get an offensive boost in their next outing, on Aug. 28 at home against the Calgary Stampeders, as receiver P.K. Sam is expected to play. It's also possible cornerback Byron Parker, who was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, could be in the lineup.

Parker likely will join the Argos by the end of the bye week, but management is happy with cornerbacks Willie Middlebrooks and Jordan Younger.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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