Lemon looking for chemistry

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 PM ET

Cleo Lemon stepped back, put the football up in the air, and watched as a speeding Jeremaine Copeland caught it in the end zone for a touchdown.

It’s the kind of play that gives Argonauts head coach Jim Barker goose bumps.

It happened during practice on Tuesday, which is fine.

But how much longer until we start seeing it in games?

And by that, we mean general chemistry with the receiving corps as a whole.

“I really don’t want to put a time frame on it,” Lemon said after another workout at Erindale in the stifling heat.

“But when it clicks, you know. I would know and definitely everybody else would know. But it’s a work in progress and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to make every play because we have a lot of talent here.

“If I can do my part and get the ball into the right guys’ hands, I think our offence will take off.”

And Lemon didn’t necessarily buy Barker’s post-game assertion in Calgary that he did not properly prepare Lemon for his initial foray into the CFL.

“I was prepared,” Lemon said. “The plays that were there to be made, I did not make them. The plays I needed at critical times, that is what I need to improve on.”

Such as?

“Points in a game, momentum swings,” Lemon said. “We should have been able to put together a couple of drives and really get us into moments where we could actually take control of the game. Because a football game is back and forth, when you can grab momentum, you have to take advantage of that.”

Lemon, in hindsight, said his time in the National Football League helped prepare him for his first Canadian Football League start. From 2006-08, Lemon dressed in 29 games for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, starting a bunch for the Dolphins.

In 2007, Lemon was behind centre for the Dolphins’ lone victory of the season.

“To have the experience of playing in professional games, knowing how to prepare, what to expect, from that standpoint, I was ready,” Lemon said.

“Getting out there, to move around and see how everything works, that was something I had to experience because it’s a new league with new challenges.”

Thing is, though, until Lemon proves himself, he knows there will be questions. And not just from reporters.

“I have always been a confident guy,” Lemon said.

“No matter who is in the huddle, there are guys who are putting in a lot of work on this field. And I know they look at me as a rookie — and I know I am. But I still feel I bring a lot of knowledge.”

There’s a chance Lemon could have some new targets on Friday night in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers.

“You have to remember, I’m not one to panic,” Barker said of possibly inserting new receivers.

“I’m not going to make snap decisions. Competition happens all year long. I know the (receivers) felt like they let down a bit (in the opener).”

What’s apparently clear is that Barker will give Lemon plenty of time to assume the Argos as his own.

There’s always the chance that could change if the Argos get hammered by the Bombers this week and come back to Toronto for their home opener at 0-2 — but Barker wants Lemon to be the guy to lead the Argos back to an acceptable level of respect.

“There is going to be a time when the game slows down for him,” Barker said.

“He has practised outstanding and you can’t ask for more. (But) you have to see it in games. React when plays break down, do the correct things and make the correct decisions.

“It’s going to happen. Hopefully, it happens on Friday.”

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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