Argonaut's Game Day

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:34 PM ET

5 THINGS TO WATCH

1. The Stampeders secondary. You don't replace cornerbacks Dwight Anderson (who signed with Montreal) and Brandon Browner (who signed with the Seattle Seahawks) overnight. New guys Geoff Tisdale and Greg Fassitt will be in tough.

2. Argos DT Claude Wroten. Not many guys start just over a week after joining a team. Jim Barker hopes fans will soon be saying "Adriano who?"

3. Cleo Lemon's ability to stretch the defence. The Argos quarterback was doing it more in the pre-season, and you can bet he will be tempted to go downfield.

4. Calgary's determination. The Stamps lost in the playoffs to Saskatchewan after compiling a league-best 13-5 record. Quarterback Henry Burris said this team is a lot more focused than the group was last year.

5. The Argos' combo of Cory Boyd and Chad Owens. There's no way the Stamps will be successful in shutting down both, is there?

BIG MATCHUP: Argonauts WR Chad Owens vs. Stampeders CB Greg Fassitt

The plan is to use the speedy Owens more in the offence this season, and he will get a chance to shine against Fassitt. The latter was a member of the 2010 New Orleans Saints Super Bowl team, but now, he is a rookie cornerback in the CFL, and look for Owens and others to expose him.

BIG MATCHUP2: Stampeders LT Gerald Cadogan vs. Argonauts DE Ricky Foley

Foley was talking a month ago about how important it was for him to regain his sack crown, and he will have his work cut out for him in the regular-season opener. The Stamps allowed just 30 sacks last year, but this is new to Cadogan, who takes over from the departed Ben Archibald.

COACH FACEOFF: Jim Barker was saying how he was so excited about the Argos' 2011 quest starting against his most recent employer, the Stampeders. The outgoing Barker would love nothing more than to stick it to Stamps boss John Hufnagel, his former colleague. It seems like Hufnagel has been with the Stamps longer, but it is just three seasons, and in that time he has compiled the best winning percentage (.667) in team history. Barker will stop at nothing short of the Grey Cup this year.

CHALK TALK: The Argos might not have torn up the offensive playbook in the off-season, but they left big chunks out. Barker and offensive co-ordinator Jaime Elizondo have simplified the offence for Cleo Lemon and their other quarterbacks. Now, reads should be easier to make. "It's not all over the yard," Barker said. "Basically, we can take a play and know exactly who is running what where and get a sense of where the opening is on defence and take advantage of it."

TURF BITS: With 9,382 career receiving yards, Argos SB Jeremaine Copeland needs 92 yards to pass Hall of Famer Hal Patterson for 21st on the CFL list ... Argos QB Steven Jyles has been put on the nine-game injured list to start the season, but could be activated sooner. "We want him to come back under a non-pressurized situation," coach Barker said ... How different were the Stamps and Argos offences last year? Calgary had 445 first downs, tops in the CFL, while Toronto 327, fewest in the league ... Though the Argos allowed the fewest points in 2010, opponents had a 48.2% success rate on second down conversions, the highest in the CFL ... The game will mark the first time in three head-coaching tenures that Barker has started a second season with the same team.

STAMPEDERS PLAYMAKER: Running back Joffrey Reynolds has the potential to give the Argos fits. The Argos defence was in the middle of the pack last season in terms of defending against the rush, giving up 116 yards a game on the ground, and Reynolds was third in the CFL with 1,200 yards on the ground.

THE QBS: Stampeders QB Henry Burris

True to form, the man they call Smilin' Hank was it again on Thursday, flashing his megawatt grin with reporters and later when he met with some fans at McMahon Stadium. The 36-year-old is coming off his second-best CFL season, throwing for 4,945 yards in 2010 with 38 touchdowns. Burris will be looking to erase his mistakes, though, as the 20 interceptions he threw were the most he gave up since tossing 25 in 2000.

Argonauts QB Cleo Lemon

Lemon's mental strength is something that might have been overlooked in the past month. He was the Argos' bona fide starter a year ago, but did not make a negative peep when the club traded for Steven Jyles. Lesser men would have whined about it, but Lemon did not. Now, he has earned the No. 1 job through merit in training camp and the pre-season, and the Argos don't view him as a project anymore.

TRASH TALK: "We went in last year not knowing what to expect. The whole mentality this year is totally different. We expect to come out (Friday) and win." -- Argos offensive tackle Rob Murphy

GOOD STAT OF THE DAY: Linebacker Kevin Eiben, whose name popped up in trade whispers involving the Edmonton Eskimos in the off-season, will play in his 160th game for the Argos on Friday, tying him with Hank Ilesic for 13th on the franchise list.

BAD STAT OF THE DAY: Remember the night that Robert Baker punched Noel Prefontaine on the sideline? It was July 1, 2005, and also happened to be the Argos' most recent win in Calgary. Since, the Argos have lost five in a row in Cowtown.


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