Argos' McCune never rests

Argonauts linebacker Robert McCune (centre) brings down Edmonton's Calvin McCarty in a game earlier...

Argonauts linebacker Robert McCune (centre) brings down Edmonton's Calvin McCarty in a game earlier this year. McCune, who had six tackles against Calgary on Saturday, leads Toronto with 36 tackles this season. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI AGENCY)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:09 AM ET

Robert McCune doesn’t take a single play off.

Not surprising then that taking off a whole day would be a foreign concept to him.

“I’ve learned through the years to do something after the game,” McCune said in a telephone interview Monday, after working out on what was otherwise on off-day for the Argonauts following their 22-14 win in Calgary.

“When I was in the NFL I’d sit around the day after and get stiff. Then it would be really hard to get the muscles moving again the next day at practice. I keep ’em fired up now.”

The Toronto linebacker has been firing them up at an impressive rate, leading the team in tackles with 36, a total that also leaves him sixth in the CFL.

“That was one of my goals. I didn’t know where I ranked in the league but my goal was to lead the team (in tackles) ... If you can do that you know you’ve had a pretty good season.”

And, he had to admit, that after spending two seasons with the Stampeders it was, shall we say satisfying, to go back and beat the team that let him go as free agent.

“Going back to Calgary brought back a lot of memories. I know a lot of those guys and it was where I started my CFL career. There’s no hard feelings and we just needed a win but it does feel really good to be able to go back, play good and beat guys I used to play with,” he said.

The Argonauts’ defence had a big game, particularly the linebacking crew of rookie Marcus Ball, who led the team with eight tackles, and the two former Stampeders Brandon Isaac and McCune, who had six tackles. The defence limited Calgary to 61 yards rushing as a team and running back Jon Cornish to just 43 yards on 12 carries.

Toronto also seemed to win the game within a game goading the Stampeders into penalties at several key points — a fact not lost on McCune.

“That’s something we do every game,” McCune said of the Argos’ trash talking (for lack of a better description). “I talked a bit. It was just a lot of laughing around. Mostly it was Ahmad (Carrol) and (Brandon) Isaac that got into some guys heads. They got two flags for us in the red zone. That was big for us. They turned what could’ve been touchdowns into field goals.”

On one play, Isaac blasted Cornish with a late hit as Lewis made a great grab through double-coverage, getting to the five-yard line. But Lewis came up barking at Isaac and the team was pushed back 10 yards because of an unsportsmanlike penalty to Lewis. Because of it, the Stamps were forced to settle for a field goal.

In the first quarter, after he was knocked the ground, Jon Cornish headbutted Marcus Ball to push the Stamps from 21-yard line to the 38.

“I was kind of away from the play. I didn’t know really what was going on. I just saw the flag fly and knew it was against them. so I just yelled, ‘Yes!’ All I knew is it was good for us,” McCune said.

While the offence has sputtered, the defence has limited Montreal, Calgary and B.C. to an average of just 17 points the past three games. The most it has allowed was 20 points against Anthony Calvillo, pretty impressive considering the way Calvillo tore apart Edmonton this past weekend.

“We can still get better. We’re just using our talents, being physical and running to the football. And it’s not just the linebackers because we have D-lineman that are athletic, who make plays when we can’t get there. It’s just a good group.

“We have bunch of dedicated guys. When we got back off the plane (Sunday morning), we watched the game film.”

It wasn’t so much to celebrate what went right, as it was to see what went wrong. Mostly McCune & Co. were irritated at allowing Calgary a touchdown on their final drive.

“There was a lot of mistakes left out there even though we won the game. Lots of room to improve ... with that last drive they marched down the field on us. We have to correct those mistakes this week,” said McCune.

Glenn connected on 22 of 33 passes for 292 yards and had a pass picked off by safety Jordan Younger, his third interception of the season, that pretty much sealed Toronto’s win.

So, now they work, and wait, for the Eskimos and Cory Boyd to come to town.

“I have no hard feelings against Cory. He knows as well as I do that sometimes things happen. It happened with me in Calgary. I have no hard feelings against the Stampeders. They moved on. I moved on. We know what type of back he is, a physical back, who runs downhill. We have to prepare to play hard-nosed football.”

WILL THE REAL ARGOS PLEASE STAND UP

Barely halfway into the season, the Argonauts remain a team that has played Jekyll and Hyde, hovering somewhere around the great expectations mark, yet always with disaster just a play away.

Now 4-3, Toronto’s four wins have come by a total of just 17 points. By that yardstick, the eight-point win over Calgary was of blowout proportions.

The defence can play with anyone and the offence is ... well, it’s improving. The Argos moved the ball well at times in their last game against Calgary, but numerous drives stalled either in the red zone or just beyond the 20-yard line as they continued to be the league’s worst red-zone scorers.

While first in the East Division, and while they played their most complete game of the season in Calgary, the Stampeders could also be viewed as having committed suicide.

In their previous game, the Argonauts spoke afterwards of victimizing themselves with penalties and turnovers. Ditto, the Stampeders in this one.

The usually reliable Keon Raymond got the dunce cap for two key penalties that opened the door to 10 Toronto points. On an amazing one-handed catch by Argos receiver Dontrelle Inman, Raymond was dinged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, giving the Argos a chance to set up a 48-yard Swayze Waters’ field goal.

On the Argos next possession, the Stamps looked to be coming off the field after forcing a 46-yard field goal attempt, but Raymond was flagged for pass interference on Chad Owens.

Ricky Ray hit Andre Durie on the next play for a TD.

When they got into scoring range again, quarterback Kevin Glenn had a pass picked off by Jordan Younger.

So, question is: Who shows up against Edmonton? The team that had to eat crow against the Lions, or the one that crowed against the Stampeders?


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