Argos' Rideau hitting his stride

Argos wide receiver Brandon Rideau stretches out his legs at practice yesterday. (Jack Boland / QMI...

Argos wide receiver Brandon Rideau stretches out his legs at practice yesterday. (Jack Boland / QMI Agency)

Bill Lankhof, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

Unlike the controversial Keyshawn Johnson, Toronto Argonauts receiver Brandon Rideau isn’t about to scream “Give Me The Damn Ball.”

But the second-year receiver does believe he can be a consistent deep threat for quarterback Cleo Lemon and the Argo offence.

“I like to think I can do that. I think we have opportunities to make good deep plays. We just have to take them more often,” Rideau said on Monday.

Rideau may not yet be an accomplished CFL receiver, but at least he’s on the radar screen. Rideau has been a work in progress since joining the club last season.

Mostly the 28-year-old from Texas has been long on potential and short on delivering. Until now, perhaps.

Rideau had a breakout performance against the Ticats, six catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

“I really don’t know what to call it. As far as a coming out party? Well, I had fun. It’s the best game I’ve had in the CFL,” Rideau said. “Lets just say I feel like I had a good game. I felt I did my job to the best of my ability that day.”

At 28, Rideau is no kid. Before arriving in Toronto last year, the native of Beaumont, Tex., had stopovers with the Bears and Browns as an undrafted NFL free agent. He never caught an NFL pass with either team and this season was probably his last look with the Argos.

“I knew this was my last year on my contract and I had to do something. I had to prove to myself and the coaches that I belong,” he said.

Rideau is 6-foot-3 and a gifted athlete. He played quarterback in high school, came within two catches of tying the receiving record at Kansas in college. His high school basketball team won the Texas 4A championship with a 36-0 record and he lettered in track.

And, now, quietly he has taken the Argos’ club lead with 338 yards receiving.

He has a club best average of 16.1 yards a catch and for the first time there are hints he could become someone who can stretch the field for the Argos.

He admits he thought he’d make a bigger impact when he arrived two springs ago.

“You expect the best of yourself,” he said.

So what took so long?

“Just the chemistry with the quarterback, with the spacing on the field, being able to read what the defenders are doing and react off that,” he said.

Rideau beat Hamilton cornerback Marcel Young for a 21-yard TD catch to open the scoring; then stepped by him again down the right sideline for a 69-yard pass and run.

“He had good position,” said Rideau, “but I was able to get outside of him on one play. On another I was able to get inside him. That happens in every football game but it’s a matter of seeing it and taking a shot.”

Lemon has been taking some shots. Rideau has 10 catches the past two games, giving him 21 on the season after he had just 24 all of last year.

“He played outstanding. It’s the second game he’s had like that,” said head coach Jim Barker. “He made some nice catches, used his size and body well. He did some nice things.”

Rideau has three touchdowns this season after managing just one last year. He has deceptive speed.

“He’s learned the game,” said Barker, “He doesn’t seem real fast but he eats up yards. When (the Ticats) were chasing him they weren’t closing on him. He looks slow but ... he has big, long strides. He’s learning how to make plays where last year he had trouble making plays on balls in the air.”


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