Argos clean house

Kerry Joseph said he was somewhat surprised he was let go by the Argos. (QMI Agency file photo)

Kerry Joseph said he was somewhat surprised he was let go by the Argos. (QMI Agency file photo)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

The inevitable has occurred in Argoland.

And anyone who is surprised that the Argonauts released quarterback Kerry Joseph on Sunday didn't pay much attention to the club the past two seasons.

There were times when Joseph was cut off at the knees. The controversy that was caused when Rich Stubler refused to say whether Joseph, coming off an MOP season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, or Michael Bishop would be his starter in 2008 was not Joseph's fault and the inability of his receivers to catch the ball with consistency plagued him. And when Bart Andrus couldn't find a way to use Joseph's strengths -- rolling out of the pocket and gaining yards on the ground -- the offence was doomed.

But Joseph also couldn't find a way to lead out of the trouble and, overall, was ineffective in Toronto. He threw 30 interceptions as an Argo and just 27 touchdown passes.

In the bigger picture, there was never the sense that the Argos were his team.

So, the big shift for the Argos continued, as the club announced, after Joseph confirmed it on his Twitter account, that it had released him. Also gone are backup quarterback Cody Pickett and linebacker Zeke Moreno, who has led the CFL in tackles in two of his three seasons.

"(Joseph) was just not the right fit for us," head coach Jim Barker said. "It's about the type of offence we want to run, and that maybe it would not be his strength. We needed to go in a different direction."

Joseph said he was somewhat surprised he was let go.

"But I had a funny feeling because of all the changes going on and because I hadn't spoken to anybody," the quarterback told TSN. "As players it is not what you want to hear, but at the same time it is part of this business."

Barker wants to use a risk-taking, high-octane offence that presents plenty of options for the quarterback. He also wants a guy who can read defences better.

And though the releasing of Joseph and Pickett would lead one to assume that a deal to land a quarterback is just around the corner, Barker refused to say as much.

"We have our plans and we're looking at guys with some CFL experience and some without," Barker said. "Now, we're open to exploring. It's still early."

The speculation started a few weeks ago when general manager Adam Rita was non-committal about Joseph.

The CFL options for the Argos would appear to be obvious. The B.C. Lions are expected to sign Casey Printers to a new deal that will pay him starter's money, something in the range of $300,000 a year. If that happens, the Lions won't need both of Jarious Jackson and Buck Pierce. We probably don't have to remind you that David Braley owns both the Lions and Argos.

WHO'S NEXT?

Adrian McPherson wants to start, but he will not get that chance playing behind Anthony Calvillo in Montreal. Still, that does not mean Als GM Jim Popp simply will hand over McPherson to Toronto.

There is Barrick Nealy with the Calgary Stampeders, who won't be getting many snaps as long as Henry Burris is in town.

The Argos have expressed an interest in Gibran Hamdan, and Andrus had him in for a meeting. But Hamdan remains property of the Buffalo Bills, though that could change. Steven Jyles, the only quarterback on the CFL's free-agent market, is expected to sign with Winnipeg.

And speaking of change? Well, true Argos fans who were clamouring for it at the end of last season. It's here, in spades. The old owners are gone, head coach Bart Andrus is gone, assistant GM Greg Mohns is gone, and one-time integral players Joseph, Moreno, Dominique Dorsey and Andre Talbot are gone.

Whether the changes add up to something tangible on the field remains to be seen.


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