Lemon game to learn

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:30 PM ET

A work in progress best describes quarterback Cleo Lemon, who continues to learn on the fly in his new surroundings.

Three regular-season games into his three-down indoctrination and Lemon sees on film the aggressive approach each opposing defence has thrown at him.

Admittedly, Lemon feels his decision-making is quicker, he’s moving his feet better and while there have been moments of miscommunication on certain route combinations, he’s happy about the inroads he’s made.

“I clean up things in terms of accuracy, but so far, so good,’’ Lemon said on Tuesday as the Argos continued their preparations for Friday’s visit by the B.C. Lions. “Just making baby steps and you can see it on film.

“The biggest adjustment has been the tempo of the game, but as the season progresses I’ll get a better handle on controlling the tempo in and out of the huddle.”

The way the Argos have been able to run the ball, make plays on defence and win the battle of field position on special teams, Lemon doesn’t have to feel any pressure of making plays, as long he avoids not turning the ball over.

Eventually, though, Lemon is going to have to make a play, something he sees on film when defences come with blitz packages and areas on the field get exposed for big plays.

“Because I’m new to the league, you can tell watching film that defences are more aggressive. I’m ready for it, but when an opportunity presents itself we need to make a big play.

“We’re getting first downs, but we need big chunks. We have to look for that big play — but I can’t force it.”

Numbers wise, Lemon looks more pedestrian than practician, having thrown for one touchdown pass and been intercepted twice.

But the Argos are 2-1, Lemon’s leadership and composure more than compensating for his CFL inexperience.

“I’m a team guy and individual numbers mean nothing,’’ Lemon said.

When he speaks, you believe him.

With much to learn, it’s little wonder why Lemon concentrates on the play that’s called and doesn’t even bother with making any audibles at the line of scrimmage.

It’s all part of getting Lemon better acclimated, comfortable and productive, which doesn’t happen overnight.

Lemon has some input in play calling when the team gathers during its film session to prepare for that week’s opponent.

“There’s no need to change,’’ he said.

Head coach Jim Barker also sees no need to change because it gives Lemon one less issue to worry about.

During Tuesday’s practice, Barker noticed Lemon completing a sidearm pass, this after watching his QB complete an underhand completion last week against Calgary.

“In this league, you have to find different ways and Cleo is learning, he’s learning every day,’’ Barker said.

“He’s getting better and he’s going to get better.”

When Lemon was late on an out-cut last week, it got picked off.

“And Cleo will learn from that because he wants to be good.”

With a chance to improve to 3-1, that’s awfully good.


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