Pottinger settling into new role with Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

The bullets are no longer flying as fast and furious, the speed of the game has slowed down and Jason Pottinger is beginning to feel at home.

Until this season, the Whitby native earned a name for himself as demon on special teams, flying all over the field and throwing his body around to make tackles.

He has been asked to man the middle in the Argos' linebacking unit in his fifth CFL season, quietly evolving into a solid piece when many questioned the team's decision to put Pottinger as a starter.

"There's still a lot to learn," Pottinger said on Thursday, "but I'm improving."

A big part of Pottinger's growth can be found in the surrounding area where he normally lines up.

When he looks to the side, there's Kevin Eiben to offer insight, provide a calming presence in times of difficulty and experience.

When he looks behind him, there's Willie Pile, a converted linebacker who continues to anchor the team's defensive secondary at free safety.

Jim Barker likes to compare Pottinger's growth to that of his quarterback, Cleo Lemon.

Pottinger, acts as a quarterback on defence, calling checks and working in unison with Pile.

"Like Cleo, this is his first year and he's learning every game," Barker said of Pottinger. "He's really turning into a great run stopper."

Pottinger's closing speed is improving, he has filling the gaps and been asked to attack the opposing backfield when a blitz get called.

In Hamilton, Pottinger, who played his collegiate football at Mac, recorded his first sack of the season.

Just how good Pottinger can be isn't known because there's so much room to grow, but he's getting closer each time he plays and is able to step up and make plays.

One of the Argos' strengths is their Canadian content, which often becomes the decisive factor as teams evolve during the course of a season and over time.

It has often been said that a team will only go as far as its Canadian talent will take it, an area Barker and his staff addressed when they pointed to Pottinger.

Toronto native Tristan Black, who was acquired from Calgary for the rights to Corey Mace, will make his debut for the Argos on Saturday.

Black, who lines up at linebacker, hasn't played since last season against the Argos when he severely fractured his ankle at Rogers Centre, an injury that required a joint fusion.

Black will see duty on special teams.


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