Argos' Jyles learning on the fly
By Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency
|Steven Jyles rolls out against the Roughriders during Saturday's 30-20 loss in Regina. The Argos QB admits it's been tough stepping in without the benefits of training camp or pre-season games. (Reuters)
In Steven Jyles’ world, no down and distance is too daunting to overcome, no obstacle too large to tackle.
It’s commendable, but it’s a world of fantasy given all that needs to go right for the Argos in a season where so much has gone wrong.
And with seven games remaining in this lost season, even head coach Jim Barker mentioned how so much of what is left to be played will now have to serve as an evaluation tool.
This is pro football and nothing will be conceded, no player exempt from being cut or demoted if anything short of their best effort is provided.
“It’s not difficult,’’ Jyles maintains when the severity of the Argos’ plight is broached. “You have to believe in yourself and give it your all. All I can do is give my best. And as long as we’re making plays, we have a chance to win ball games.”
While improvement was shown in Saturday’s 30-20 loss in Regina from Jyles’ debut in Double Blue in B.C., a week earlier, timing issues with his receivers and feeling protection from his offensive line are areas that get corrected in training camp, and refined during pre-season play.
There’s been no time for Jyles to adapt and learn, his lessons being absorbed on the field in live action where the margin for error is next to none. When defences buckle down in the score zone, the Argos have been forced to settle for field goals. When plays need to be made in the fourth quarter of a close game, there can’t be any mistakes, but it’s virtually impossible for Jyles to play error-free when he’s basically learning on the go.
First, it was the Argos’ defence that had to learn on the fly under new co-ordinator Orlondo Steinauer, whose go-for-broke style has yielded too many big plays.
And now it’s Jyles’ turn to take an offence minus a go-to receiver and suddenly turn it into a unit capable of scoring touchdowns.
If last year’s run to the Eastern final was deemed improbable, the current lot of the Argos has to be deemed as impossible because it’s virtually inconceivable how any team facing so many issues can turn its fortunes around so quickly.
“What’s hurting me now is not having a training camp with the guys,’’ admitted Jyles. “I’m proud at how we’re competing, but we have to finish.”
In Saturday’s loss to the Roughriders, the Argos piled up 481 yards on offence (188 rushing) and had possession for close to 33 minutes, but could produce only one touchdown.
When they could have taken control of the game in the opening half, which featured the home side running only eight plays on offence, the Argos settled for four field goals.
“For us, it’s a time for evaluation,’’ Barker conceded. “Are we out to win games? Absolutely. We’re going to put the best players out on the field.”
But even their best won’t be good enough to right a ship that is sinking.
“We’re pros and our fans deserve to see top-level football,’’ Barker added. “The only way to play top-level football is to prepare during the week. And those guys who are winners are going to do that.”