The Argos banged-up gang

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Dominic Picard is known, among other handles, as the Dominator, an offensive lineman who plays on the edge, brings a swagger and an attitude to every snap and occasionally gets flagged for an act of aggression.

Picard has been forced to tackle many challenges during his CFL career, but this week's predicament is one that is as unique as the game of three-down football itself.

A short week brings its own set of issues when preparing for an opponent, but the Argos' O-line, once the strength of the team, has suddenly become weaker in the wake of injuries.

At Wednesday's workout, Picard and Taylor Robertson, who lines up next to Picard at right guard, were the only incumbents practising in their familiar spots.

Rob Murphy, who protects Cleo Lemon's blindside at left tackle, is nursing a sore left foot, but it's not expected to keep this former Lion from playing against B.C. this Saturday when the Argos play in Vancouver.

Chris Van Zeyl (back) and Cedric Gagne-Marcoux (calf) don't appear ready, opening the door for Shannon Boatman to line up at right tackle and Jeff Keeping to slide into Gagne-Marcoux's hole at left guard.

"It's important we develop chemistry," Picard said.

"And quickly because there isn't much time to prep for B.C."

That's the predicament the Argos find themselves after hitting the mid-way point of the season on the heels of back-to-back losses to Hamilton.

A team will only go as far as its O-line takes it, whether it's moving in a forward direction or going backward.

Right now, the Argos are in neutral, unsure of which piece will fit into what hole, but adversity provides opportunity and both Boatman and Keeping have been asked to step in this season.

Continuity is one of those buzz words around any team, but moreso in football where you're only as good as the next guy who lines up next to you.

Picard is the O-line's quarterback because it's his job, as the team's starting centre, to make reads on the line of scrimmage and change blocking responsibilities based on what he sees from the defence.

It's almost like Picard is cramming for an exam, quickly turning the page from Hamilton and now focusing on the Lions.

"It seems like everything is against us this week," Picard added.

"We've got to fly out to Vancouver, we've got guys banged up and we've got a short week.

"It's challenging, but all great players want challenges."

Given his position, the only time anyone pays any attention to Picard or any of his blocking brethren is when a penalty gets called.

But no mistake: Picard is an elite player, a Canadian whose job is misunderstood and under-appreciated.

"As a group, we all have to respond to this challenge and step up. I know this sounds like a cliche, but when someone goes down, someone has to step up.

"As a group, we have to be the leaders out there and we got to respond to this challenge."

There's the newness of playing at Empire Field and a new defensive style B.C. has adopted since Toronto last played the Leos earlier this season.

"It's exotic," Picard said in describing B.C.'s defence. "They're doing some funky stuff, going with more twists and turns to confuse us.

"I have to be alert. And it's why I've been studying a lot more this week because it is a short week.

"We're going to Vancouver two days before kickoff and it's not for some vacation. It's business."

And Picard is hoping to take care of business as it relates to the O-line play.


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