Bad news for Ticats: Boyd's back
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
|Argos quarterback Cleo Lemon hands off to running back Cory Boyd during practice. Boyd, who missed the past four games with an injury, returns to the lineup Saturday against Hamilton. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - If there’s a lifesaver for an Argonauts team that has run aground, the club hopes it’s Cory Boyd carrying the football.
The Argos’ dynamic leader on offence will be back in uniform on Saturday night at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton after missing four games and most of a fifth with a knee injury.
Chad Kackert has been fine, but the Argos couldn’t have asked for a stronger boost than the return of Boyd as they try to put the end to a five-game losing streak when they meet the Tiger-Cats in the Aug. 13 Classic on Saturday.
“Cory Boyd was what our team offensively was built around,” Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker said on Tuesday after an indoor practice at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
“The whole thing seems to click easier (when Boyd is playing). There are certain guys who mean a lot to your football team and Cory is one of those.”
No argument here. In the season opener in Calgary against the Stampeders, Boyd received the game ball after rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. He was injured the following week in Winnipeg and the Argos have not won since.
Of course, the story goes that if you can stop Boyd, you stop the Argos’ offence. The passing game remains a project, to put it nicely, and Boyd wants to see a difference in some of his teammates this weekend. Wouldn’t it be nice if Boyd had an average game and was bailed out by a passing attack?
“Let the playmakers make plays,” Boyd said following the Argos’ loud and boisterous workout. “That’s what I have been saying to the playmakers — if you are not getting the ball, it is not a conceited thing or a cocky thing, it is a confidence thing (to say) ‘Get me the ball, I need the ball now.’
“I’m looking forward to seeing the receivers do that, get in the quarterback’s face. And for the first time today I heard Cleo (Lemon) run his mouth, get mad and take control. That’s what you want to see out of the quarterback, that fire.”
As he watched his team find new ways to lose, Boyd was as perplexed as others. This Argos team is one that has started strong in games and built leads, only to come up empty in the second half. It’s different from a year ago, when the 9-9 Boatmen won more than their fair share by clawing back.
“We have to be a four-quarters team,” Boyd said. “We have to play exceptionally well in all three phases of the game and we have to give our defensive guys some rest. We just can’t have two-and-outs every time and think our defence is going to hold us.
“We are built on defence and special teams, and I think it’s time for the offence to take that next step.”
Whether it’s because he is a man of faith or has endured things off the field in his past that make a five-game losing streak seem like a minor nuisance, but Boyd usually is in a positive frame of mind. That’s not to say losing does not bother him, because he hates it like any other professional athlete who has heart, but it doesn’t weigh him down.
The Argos could benefit simply from having the gregarious Boyd among them again.
“Gotta bring energy to everything,” Boyd said. “I’m going to have my play be up-tempo as always, just go out there and have fun. That’s the thing we have to do in this game, is have fun. When you are coming in here and you are angry, and everybody is on each other’s backs and butts are too tight because of losses, you can’t play like that.
“I am angry (for missing four games), and most of the time when I play angry, it is not good for the other teams.”