D-day for Dorsey and Argos

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Even in the leanest of Toronto Argos years, special teams have been a source of not just achievement, but pride for the Boatmen.

But in another lean Argos season, the special teams to date has not lived up to past successes.

Look no further than the loss of CFL special teams player of the year Dominique Dorsey to the NFL for the first and most obvious reason for this decline.

Dorsey, who is in a dogfight of his own for a spot on the Washington Redskins roster with second-year NFLers Anthony Alridge and Marcus Mason, will learn today at 4 p.m. whether he has made the team or not.

If not, and if a Skins practice roster spot isn't either offered or accepted by Dorsey, chances are very strong that he could be back with the double blue for the remainder of the season.

Between Dorsey and Bashir Levingston the last few years, Argos fans have come to expect not just consistent returns and good field position from their returners but points as well.

So far this year the Argos have yet to score on either a kick return, punt return or missed field goal, a dubious stat they share with four other teams in the league.

Head coach Bart Andrus has spent the season auditioning various members of the roster to find a guy or guys who can give him an edge in the all-important special teams battles but has yet to settle on any one guy.

In a 23-20 loss to Calgary at the Rogers Centre last week, Andrus turned to former York Lions standout Andre Durie, who replaced Reggie McNeal on kickoff return, and defensive back Byron Parker, himself just back from the Philadelphia Eagles camp, to return punts. Durie returned six kickoffs last week for an average of 24.8 yards a return, easily the best numbers put up by an Argos returner this year. Parker, meanwhile, returned three punts for an average of 14.7 yards, nearly double what the Argos had been getting before. Andrus isn't ready to declare his search for returners over, but he likes what he saw last week.

"I feel fairly confident in our ability to return the ball right now," Andrus said. "We're getting better field position, better starts. I thought Durie did a good job on kickoff return. I thought Byron had a couple of good punt returns, but I would like to see us even go beyond that a little more. I'm not sure if we have found guys who will carry us from here on out but I'm encouraged.

"If we had the right person that had the experience doing it, yeah we would let other people return."

And if that doesn't sound like something a guy who is watching a certain NFL team's final cuts very closely might say, you're just not paying attention.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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