Argos tweak defensive front

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- How's this for a statistic?

The last time the Argos won a game against the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg, Pinball Clemons recorded his first victory as a head coach.

It happened on Sept. 9, 2000, and while Clemons has gone on to win many more games and a Grey Cup, Winnipeg has been the equivalent of Death Valley.

The Argos, who have lost three of their past five games, will be looking today to end their current malaise and their drought in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers.

"I think it representative of how they play in their own stadium," Clemons said. "They play great at home. This is a football team that we've got a lot of respect for."

The Blue Bombers are playing only for pride after they were eliminated from playoff contention by virtue of Calgary's win on Friday night.

The Argos will do something different, implementing a four-man defensive line on first-down situations. It has been predicated by the loss of linebacker Antonious Bonner, who has been sidelined for the season because of a knee injury.

EX-FALCON ON END

Newcomer Karon Riley is expected to line up on one of the ends, which could move either Jonathan Brown or Eric England or Riall Johnson to the inside, depending on the rotation and flow of the game.

"It's going to be a little trial by error getting into football shape," Riley, a former Atlanta Falcon, said. "The biggest thing is 20 seconds between plays (compared to 45 in the National Football League). You get a lot less time (than in American football) to recover. Hopefully our defence will get them out in two downs. The one yard off the ball is the biggest discrepancy for me."

At the request of its co-ordinator Rich Stubler, the defence collectively walked the length of the field yesterday holding hands in a sign of unity. The team as a whole has done the same thing on occasion leading up to the Eastern final.

"Stube just said this is our final push (to the playoffs) and every game from here on in that's what we've got to do," cornerback Adrion Smith said. "Stube is the type of guy that just feels every game is going to be on our shoulder. No matter what the offence does, if they turn the ball over or don't turn the ball over, the game ultimately relies on us."


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