Argo defence can't rest

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

Potent and pop-gun.

Both words can be used to describe the Argonauts -- one for the team's defence, one for the offence -- but thanks to the poor play of the latter, a playoff spot won't be had until next year at the earliest.

That's a harsh reality for members of the Argos defensive unit, who know they've held up their end.

"We have a good enough defence to win a championship," defensive end Jonathan Brown said yesterday. "But in football, one out of three is not good. You have to be three-for-three -- offence, defence and special teams. It's just not happening. It has been very frustrating, but we're just going to keep playing for each other."

The Argos have three shots at equalling their 4-14 record of a year ago, but with an offence that has as much pizzazz as a cup of tea, it's not a safe bet. The Argos, 3-12, play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats tonight at the Rogers Centre, and the Ticats, at 6-9 and in a playoff dogfight with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, know they're going to be up against a solid defence.

"I told the players that we played the best defence last week (in a 41-38 loss to Montreal) and the second-best this week," Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said. "It's not going to get any easier. This week is a new challenge."

With a career game from quarterback Kevin Glenn, who passed for 506 yards and three touchdowns, the Tiger-Cats had a field day with the Als, who lead most defensive categories in the CFL, with the Argos not far behind. If the crafty Glenn can work the same magic, the Boatmen will be sunk early.

But in a season that has made little sense, the Argos have beaten the Ticats twice. And all the Argos want is another victory, somehow, before they disperse in a couple of weeks.

"We could care less if they make the playoffs," defensive tackle Adriano Belli said. "(Having some late-season success) would mean a lot going into the off-season for us. Players worry about their jobs."

Toronto has lost five in a row since beating former Argo Arland Bruce and the Ticats in overtime on Sept. 11. Bruce was at the Argos' practice facility yesterday for a news conference, but pretended to not know who Argos head coach Bart Andrus was, saying "Who?" when asked about his relationship with his former coach.

Bruce's reaction came a day after he indicated to Sun Media he no longer had any hard feelings about the trade. Bruce and Andrus did not cross paths yesterday.

Brown will start in place of Claude Harriott, who is out with torn knee ligaments. Despite a diminished role, Brown has managed three sacks and has been a presence when has been rotated in.

"When we were good, we used to laugh at the bad teams who could not win because the ball was bouncing the other way," Brown said.

"Now, we're that team. It's pathetic and pitiful, because we have a good group of guys."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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