Pottinger getting close

Tiger-Cats wide receiver Dave Stala is tackled by Argonauts defenders Willie Pile and Jason...

Tiger-Cats wide receiver Dave Stala is tackled by Argonauts defenders Willie Pile and Jason Pottinger last season. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters file photo)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:43 PM ET

TORONTO - If only the Argos’ fortunes can turn as quickly as Jason Pottinger’s pigskin fate.

Perhaps then, and only then, will the struggling club be able to reverse its season from hell.

Only in the CFL does the loss of a starting Canadian carry so much significance when balancing the delicate tight rope that is the ratio is as important as scoring points.

When a starting non-import becomes unavailable for any stretch, changes get initiated, often to the detriment of the team.

There’s no guarantee Pottinger’s remarkable comeback will allow him to resume his role at starting middle linebacker this week in Regina, but each rep he takes in practice provides him with hope that a return at some point is all but certain.

The way the Argos have found innovative ways to lose games this season, most self-induced but at times the victims of shoddy officiating, there’s no telling what impact Pottinger may or may not have on a snake-bitten team.

“Pot allows us to do some things, but until he comes back we’re not sure,” head coach Jim Barker said following Wednesday’s practice.

For what it’s worth, Pottinger confided that he’ll be added to the 46-man roster after completing his stint on the nine-game injured list following his mishap in the season-opening win to the Stamps in Calgary, which now seems like a game played in another lifetime.

When he hurt his left knee, the worst was feared, the spectre of knee surgery was raised and the possibility of a lost season contemplated.

It speaks to Pottinger’s will that he refused to buy into the talk of surgery, slowly building strength to the point where he doesn’t look out of place in a practice setting.

No excuses can ever be cited in explaining a year where everything that could possibly go wrong has gone awry for an Argos team coming off a season where everything that could possibly go right when their way.

In retrospect, Pottinger’s injury in Week 1 served as a harbinger for things to come because it has been down hill for the Argos since that win.

In the ensuing weeks, the team, among other issues, would release its defensive co-ordinator, lose another Canadian linebacker in Kevin Eiben, the calming presence of veteran defensive back turned linebacker Jordan Younger, and be forced to adjust on the fly offensively following a mid-season change at quarterback.

“It feels amazing,’’ Pottinger said of his improved condition and his likely return. “I feel great. I couldn’t feel better.”

Whether it’s as early as Thursday, when the Argos practise at the club’s facility before departing for Regina, or in the hours leading up to Saturday’s kickoff against the Roughriders, a lot more should be made clearer.

“We’ll see at the end of the week,” Barker added. “He brings a lot and he had a great training camp. He’s moving well, but a lot will depend on how he feels.”

The repercussions of Pottinger’s return can’t be pin-pointed given how many areas need upgrading, but it does underscore the importance of a starting Canadian and the profound impact when a starting Canadian no longer becomes available.

What is clear is the message Barker delivered to his defensive line, a unit that has been able to impose its will only to be exposed at times.

Specifically, Barker has challenged his two interior linemen — Kevin Huntley and Claude Wroten, who combined for one tackle in last week’s loss in Vancouver.

When gaps are filled, which allows linebackers such as Pottinger to make tackles on run plays, and when pressure is applied in the offensive backfield, it’s of little importance whether a sack gets registered.

“Do they need to play better?” Barker said of his defensive line. “Sure. They were challenged (Wednesday). As a group they need to do a better job, both against the run and pressuring the passer.”


Videos

Photos