Argos admit short yardage confusion

Blue Bombers' Marcellus Bowman and Toronto Argonauts' Cleo Lemon fight for a loose ball during...

Blue Bombers' Marcellus Bowman and Toronto Argonauts' Cleo Lemon fight for a loose ball during Friday's CFL game in Winnipeg. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:34 PM ET

No words need mincing when no explanation makes sense.

 

As far as Dominic Picard is concerned, there’s no time to fret over last week’s wretched performance in Winnipeg when the Montreal Alouettes loom as this week’s challenge.

But the veteran centre, a pillar on the offensive line who serves as the unit’s quarterback, is at a complete loss for words to describe how futile and how woefully inept the Argos were in executing their short yardage offence.

Schemes, execution, call it what you want, but when the routine becomes an adventure, extra possessions can’t be earned and turnovers are created.

Bad exchanges, lining up deep in the backfield in a shotgun no less, a myriad of plays all conspired to render the Argos completely ineffective.

“It was bad,’’ said Picard, a proud vet who wasn’t proud of the last week’s effort and outcome. “We had some confusion.

“All I’m prepared to say is we’ll correct it and it won’t happen again. It was really, really tough to accept. It was unacceptable. We talked about it and we’ll be prepared to execute well.”

Without the benefit of the video evidence and without the benefit of a player or coach expressing honest appraisals without compromising an individual, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went awry.

But it did look odd, even for the uneducated fan, to see the Argos line up in a shotgun formation in short yardage when the more prudent course of action required Cleo Lemon lining up under centre.

Why Cory Boyd is seven yards behind the line of scrimmage and attacks the hole with a Bomber defender basically unblocked speaks to a breakdown that simply cannot be repeated.

The Argos were humbled last week because one of the team’s strongest areas played soft and sloppy.

“It was pretty bad,’’ head coach Jim Barker said of his short yardage offence. “I didn’t like anything about it.

“That’s my responsibility and we’ll rectify it.”

WROTEN DRAWS A CROWD

It was inevitable as it was unavoidable, as predictable as it was obvious.

Having emerged as a dominating force on the line of scrimmage in his CFL debut, Claude Wroten knew the opposition would make changes to nullify his effectiveness.

He was far from rotten, but Wroten didn’t exactly fill the stats in Winnipeg last week as he did in Calgary, where the CFL first saw the damage he could produce.

Stats will not define the Argos front four when push from the interior and disruption leading to quick throws in the backfield are of greater significance.

Numbers-wise, though, Wroten went from a two-sack game in Calgary where he also recorded one tackle for a loss to a zero-sack game in Winnipeg with no tackles for a loss.

“I did notice it,’’ Wroten said of the added attention by the Blue Bombers. “But football is football and you can do so many different things as far as blocking schemes.

“I adjusted accordingly. My goal is to try to execute the play the coach calls.”

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca

 


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