It’s time for Argos to walk the walk

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:23 PM ET

Jim Barker recently was talking about adversity, and about how people’s true colours come through when they’re up against it.

Well, for the first time in 2010, the Argonauts have met a wall. How they respond after a spanking administered by the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night will go a long way in telling observers what they’re all about.

Next up are the suddenly happy Edmonton Eskimos, who got up off the mat on Friday night, beating the visiting B.C. Lions for their first win of the season.

There were lessons to be learned in the loss to Montreal. The Alouettes, solid on both sides of the football, have started to remind the other seven teams in the Canadian Football League that they’re going to contend for the Grey Cup again after winning it last year.

The Argos, youthful in some areas and inexperienced in others, still are trying to put a face on the team as a whole.

“It was a great test for us and we know where we need to get to,” free safety Willie Pile said. “They exposed our weaknesses, and credit to them for doing it. It’s a great thing when you know your identity. They know who they are.”

If the Argos want to be taken seriously, and demonstrate that their three-game winning streak that was snapped by the Als was not an aberration, they have no choice but to beat the Eskimos on Friday night in Edmonton.

In the locker room after they lost to the Alouettes — the Argos will return to practice on Monday after getting the weekend off — the players were adamant that they could put the large defeat behind them.

We used to hear the same things a year ago, but now there is conviction in their voices. Many of the players are the same, but the listlessness that came in 2009 as the losses mounted is gone.

“We’re a hungry team,” offensive tackle Rob Murphy said. “Jim came in (after the game) and said, ‘Remember this feeling,’ like he did in Calgary (after a season-opening loss). We get them again in two weeks, so it is a quick turnaround.”

The Argos beat the Stampeders at home two weeks after losing on the road.

Barker, the head coach who has done a commendable job, scoffed at any idea that the Argos won’t rebound. “Our team is going to bounce back,” Barker said. “There is no doubt in my mind. We have a character group of guys. This game (against Montreal) got out of hand, and it’s just one of those games.”

The respect for Barker among the players is clear. There were some penalty problems against the Als, but overall, the discipline has helped the Argos be successful.

“We were so sick of losing that we would buy into anything that would promise to get us out of it,” Murphy said. “Everyone is eager and hungry. Am I surprised (with the winning record)? On the surface, yeah. But at the same time, no, because I know the quality of guys we have in our locker room.”

It’s important for the Argos to understand, and they do, that there should be parity in the CFL this season. The Alouettes likely will be off by themselves when November comes, but the gaps between the other seven teams might not be as big. Some clubs have struggled out of the gate, but most have the ability to move up in the standings.

When it comes to rebounding this week, it’s paramount for the Argos to walk the walk. Anything less, and their words become hollow.


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