Argos call for patience

GM Adam Rita remains firm in his belief the Argos can right itself this season. (Sun Media/Greg...

GM Adam Rita remains firm in his belief the Argos can right itself this season. (Sun Media/Greg Henkenhaf)

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

Adam Rita had two words for a reporter when asked whether he enjoyed the break presented by the Argonauts' bye week.

"What break?" Rita, the Argos general manager, said.

With his club holding the worst record in the Canadian Football League (2-5), it wouldn't have been a shock to hear a couple of other words escape Rita's lips.

But the 61-year-old Hawaii native, now in his sixth season as Argos GM, remains firm in his belief the club can get itself righted, starting with a home game on Friday against the Calgary Stampeders. There's really no other choice for the Argos: After going 4-14 last season to miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years, another loss this week and the Argos likely will slip further out of the collective sports conscience in Toronto.

One sign it's already happening: Attendance has slipped to an average of 26,210 through three home games. The club averaged 29,189 fans at the Rogers Centre in 2008. A club-record nine home losses in a row can have that effect.

"You have to be patient," Rita said yesterday. "It doesn't happen overnight. Everyone else's opinion really does not matter until the end of the year, and then people can do whatever they have to do."

One can safely bet Rita and assistant GM Greg Mohns will come under heavy scrutiny, as they should, from owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski at season's end if the situation does not improve.

The Argos have become the CFL's version of Whac-a-Mole -- fix one problem and another arises, resulting in another loss. But that has become, in the eyes of some, a convenient cover for a team that simply is not good enough to win.

Quarterback Kerry Joseph won't start another game unless Cody Pickett stumbles, and Pickett will try to avoid going 0-4 as a CFL starter when he takes the ball on Friday. Free agents Rob Murphy and Dominic Picard have not been consistent, but few Argos have.

The Argos hope P.K. Sam will help shore up the position of receiver, but he tweaked his groin on Monday and his status for the game on Friday is unclear. Receiver Chad Lucas has looked good, yet hasn't helped the Argos win games.

"We have to get the guys healthy and playing with a little more knowledge and understanding," Rita said. "It's a two-fold thing with some young players and coaches who have not been in our league. But our guys have not lost hope.

"(Andrus) has put together a good, disciplined team and it is getting better each week that way. Sooner or later we will reap the rewards."


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