Argos pair goes back to Lions den

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:34 AM ET

TORONTO - Andrew Jones will get to embrace the past and the present when he returns to B.C. for the first time since his off-season move to Toronto.

For Jones, returning to B.C. Place will bring back memories of winning a Grey Cup and allow him to reflect on a time when he learned the ropes of pro football.

At the same time, returning to B.C. will also allow him to leave his mark as an Argo.

“It’s certainly going to be different,’’ said Jones. “It’s special, but different going back to that stadium and being on the visitors side.

“I have a lot of good memories. It’ll be fun to back and whoop their (behinds). Being on that field for the first since the Grey Cup will be fun, but I’m making new memories.”

Jones was weaned on Dan Dorazio’s teachings in B.C., a noted offensive line coach who is among the best in the business.

Argos assistant Stephen McAdoo is no slouch himself, but techniques are taught differently and schemes change from one team to the next.

Jones, by his own admission, had a rough start to his days in Argoland, but he has made strides and is getting much more comfortable in his new surroundings.

In a passing offence such as the Argos, with Ricky Ray lining up in the shotgun, patience is key on the offensive line.

Jones said the system in B.C. asked its O-linemen to be more aggressive.

“You can’t jump on a guy (defender) like we did in B.C.,’’ Jones said of the Argos approach. “Here, we’re not quite doing that. I’ve learned a lot more, I’m still learning and I’m tuning up more. I’m getting my hands going with my feet and I’m definitely doing a lot better.”

In sizing up the opposition, Jones believes B.C.’s front seven is among the best in the CFL.

“All the things you want, they have,’’ he said. “They’re fast and they’re aggressive. They have good linebackers and they have good defensive linemen who can wrap up blockers and allow linebackers to be free and flow to the ball.

“What we need to do is get up on them to ensure no one is unblocked. That’s where technique plays a role.”

Jones’ return to B.C. has forced him into a potential fashion change.

It’s very rare for Jones to wear his Grey Cup ring, but he may for this trip.

“I haven’t decided,’’ he said. “I only take it out for special occasions. I might wear it.”

Another ex-Lion making his return is backup quarterback Jarious Jackson, who wore his Grey Cup ring last week for the first time as an Argo.

Jackson won two titles in B.C., married a Vancouver native and raised a family.

“My wife and kids are flying today,’’ said Jackson, who was planning to drive his loved ones to Pearson following Wednesday’s workout. “My time in Vancouver was great, personally and professionally.

“In five of the seven years I was there, we were always on the doorsteps of the Grey Cup. I have nothing to complain about my time in B.C.”

When he looks at his Grey Cup rings, Jackson is always reminded of the road required and the sacrifices that are necessary to reach such lofty heights.

“To me, it’s a sign of commitment, the blood and sweat all that’s poured into a team coming together, gelling at the right time and accomplishing the main goal.”

The Argos have shown flashes of being Grey Cup worthy.

Jackson knows the challenge that awaits on Saturday.

“We’re carrying big guns to the fight,’’ he said.

FAST FRIENDS

Both grew up in Western Pennsylvania, attended the same college and later reunited in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While their paths have since taken different routes, Scott Milanovich has always been fond of Geroy Simon, who turned 37 this past Tuesday.

“I wasn’t aware of that,’’ said Milanovich, himself 37, when informed of Simon’s birthday. “I have to apologize to him.”

Chances are Milanovich will do just that when the Argos play in B.C. this Saturday, one of two occasions for these two Maryland products to catch up and reminisce.

During their NCAA days, it was Milanovich who tossed Simon his first touchdown.

When Milanovich was walking the sidelines in Tampa with a clipboard as the third-string quarterback, Simon was on the practice roster, unable to showcase his talents before three-down ball beckoned.

“He started as a true freshman,’’ said Milanovich of their collegiate days. “I always thought he’d be playing down south. When we were in Tampa together, he just didn’t get his break.

“You don’t expect anyone to have the type of career Geroy has had, but he had all the talent and the will to do it.”

A number of phones calls have been made over the years, one congratulating the other when a milestone was achieved or when a Grey Cup was won.

“He’s always been a great athlete,’’ said Milanovich. “We had a relationship right from the start. Football’s important to him and he loves the game.

“He’s a friend. I don’t look at him as just another player.”

FLAG DAY

Despite the eye-popping 257 penalty yards his team got flagged for in Saturday’s win over the Tiger-Cats, Argos head coach Scott Milanovich wasn’t going to get too upset.

“Believe it or not, it actually wasn’t as bad as it seems,’’ he said.

Upon further review, it’s easy to see why the coach would make such a comment even though it was a team-record for penalties.

In a game that featured some questionable officiating, two late-game flags that resulted in two pass interference calls got called for a total of 65 yards.

One-and-done punter Eric Wilbur was flagged for a late hit and had two kickoffs go out of bounds.

While dismissing a record no team wants to set, Milanovich understands playing mistake-free football is the only way his team can beat the Lions.

“Games like this one, those mistakes will come back and you end up losing by three.”


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