It could get worse for Argos

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

As bad as it is for the Argonauts now, it could get worse.

If there was any doubt the Argos are in a rebuilding phase, head coach Bart Andrus erased it yesterday.

"We are not a real experienced team overall, and I think before it is said and done, we will end up being more youthful," Andrus said. "This was an old team when we took it over. These are not easy fixes. We have a good plan and are working it through."

The next part of the plan involves receiver Jason Carter, who will make his debut for the Argos tonight at the Rogers Centre against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a retro game that will honour the 1960s.

The Argos are 2-7 and in last place in the Canadian Football League, and all that might stand between them and a second consecutive season without participation in the playoffs -- something that hasn't happened since 2000-01 -- is the remainder of the schedule.

Carter and running back Amos Allen, who was has been signed to off-set the release on Wednesday of Jarrett Payton, are the two newest pieces Andrus will try to make fit. Carter will start at wide receiver in place of the injured Reggie McNeal (knee).

Andrus said he found it interesting that the Argos will start the second half of the season with three import receivers -- Carter, Lucas and P.K. Sam -- who were not around in training camp.

Others might find it problematic. By the midway point, the offence should be fluid, with the quarterback in synch with the guys to whom he is throwing the ball. But Cody Pickett, 0-5 as a CFL starter, does not have that luxury. Injuries have been part of the problem, but of the three import receivers when camp broke -- Arland Bruce, James Robinson and McNeal -- only the latter is hurt.

"This is my third year with the Argonauts and it has kind of been like that," Pickett said. "Guys getting hurt for whatever reason (the roster has been in flux). It has been tough, but it is part of the business and you have to adapt."

Carter was cut by the National Football League's Carolina Panthers last month. His younger brother, Matthew, is a sargeant with the U.S. Army and is on his fifth tour of duty in Iraq. Witnessing his brother's experiences has given Jason Carter a better handle on life, including football.

"There is no perfect game or no perfect play," Carter, 26, said. "It's tough ... he was such a comedian before he left, and now he is mild-mannered. Football is not as important when someone you grow up with has those experiences."

That doesn't mean Carter wants to go easy on the Ticats.

"I go 100 miles an hour and if it's in sight, I can catch it," Carter said. "I'm definitely looking forward to making something happen."

Whether Carter becomes just another discarded piece or can entrench himself on the Argos roster remains to be seen. But Andrus doesn't see a correlation between losing and roster turnover.

"We own the record because of what we have done as a team," Andrus said. "It has nothing to do with who is starting at receiver."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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