Argos D gets an earful
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
|Ejiro Kuale of the Toronto Argonauts walks off the field at the end of their CFL football game, which they lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in Toronto October 19, 2012. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
TORONTO - There have been times this season when Chris Jones has chewed out his defence, often when the opponent's offence has been chewing up yards.
Given the nature of pro football, the best time to voice displeasure is at halftime when adjustments are made, when challenging players becomes more pronounced.
This week, though, the Argos were given an earful in the wake of a porous performance against the Blue Bombers, who racked up the mind-blowing total of 260 rushing yards in a game Toronto could have won had its defence not wilted.
"He spoke to us about intensity," said Ejiro Kuale, a defensive end who, in certain packages, drops into coverage. "We need to pick it up. We're not playing like the defence we need to be."
Clearly, the Argos need to rebound this Saturday in Regina.
And clearly, changes are afoot, scheme-wise and personnel-wise.
At one point, the Argos defence, which does not lend itself to individual numbers, was ranked second in the league in yielding rushing yards. Entering this week's action, it is second last.
"I was not aware of that," head coach Scott Milanovich said of his run defence's slippage, at least in terms of league rankings.
"I think it starts when you give up 260 in one game," he said. "Defensive football always begins by stopping the run. We've addressed the mistakes we've made. There are other things we've done, but I'm not going to discuss them."
No coach is going to tip his hand, but it's obvious the Argos must be more assignment sound against the Riders, a team that controlled the clock for 34 minutes and 36 minutes when they beat the Argos 36-10 two weeks ago. In that game, rookie tailback Kory Sheets rushed for 113 yards to eclipse 1,000 for the season.
Whether it was not setting the edge, or having defenders out of their gaps, a lot went wrong last week and must be corrected for the Argos to move forward.
Meanwhile, as good as quarterback Ricky Ray looked in his return, there remain many concerns on offence.
The weather in Regina may restrict the passing game, meaning run defence and rushing the ball to control the clock will be paramount.