Argos skip knows Stamps best

Toronto Argos head coach Jim Barker barks out some commands to players on the field during practice...

Toronto Argos head coach Jim Barker barks out some commands to players on the field during practice at their Mississauga, Ont. complex. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:25 AM ET

Argonauts head coach Jim Barker is better aware than most of the challenges that await the Double Blue in Calgary on Thursday night.

Having worn the Stampeders colours for most of the past seven years, he knows the organization as well or better than many of the team’s current employees.

In fact, the majority of players there he had a direct hand in bringing to Calgary.

So when Barker starts talking about Henry Burris and the pivotal role he will play, it’s wise to take notice.

“You just slow him down, you never stop Henry,” Barker said.

“He’s going to be able to move out of the pocket, he runs very well, he’s got an arm that can throw the ball the complete field. What you hope to do is keep him contained and not give up too many big plays. But you’re not going to stop Henry Burris.

“He is one of the tops in the league and it will be a tall order for our defence.”

Linebacker Jordan Younger has seen plenty of Burris in his seven years in the league and while there aren’t many ways to defend a guy with a full arsenal of tools that Burris has, he does believe there is one way to limit Burris’ effectiveness.

“Henry Burris to me is a rhythm quarterback and if you let him get hot he’s as good as any QB we’ve seen here the last decade,” Younger said.

“Like every quarterback though, if you don’t let him get in that rhythm, it’s real hard for him to play.”

Barker said every defensive game plan begins with stopping the run and that’s not going to be a picnic with Calgary where Joffrey Reynolds combines with the ever-elusive Burris to provide all kinds of headaches for opposing defensive co-ordinators.

Calgary returns most of its defence intact — but it does have some question marks on its offensive line where there has been plenty of turnover.

Thirteen-year CFL vet Dan Comiskey is one of the newer faces on the line. He’s joined on the left side of the line by Tim O’Neill.

While neither has been around very long in Calgary, Comiskey at 37 has seen just about every stunt an opposing lineman can throw at him and O’Neill got enough reps in Calgary last year that Barker doesn’t consider him raw by any means.

The right side of the line might be exploitable.

“(Steve) Myddelton is a good young player we drafted last year and Edwin Harrison is a guy we scouted,” Barker said.

“It’s going to be the first CFL game for both of those guys, so there’s a learning curve there for them as there is for a lot of our own young guys.”

The Stamps receiving corps will be without six-year vet Ken-Yon Rambo, but they will have the likes of Romby Bryant, veteran Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland-understudy, Jermaine Jackson.

“When you look at (Jackson) on tape, it’s like seeing Cope because they run routes so similar,” Barker said.

The Argonauts have not won in Calgary since July 1, 2005, a mark that will hit its four-year anniversary on Thursday.

Barker knows there’s still plenty he has to learn about his team.

There will probably be some tough times to go through, but starting against Calgary — even with Burris to worry about — has to be an advantage given Barker’s thorough knowledge of his first opponent.


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