Last stand for Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Manhandled at times during their three-game season series, the Argos hope to tur n the tables this week against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their post-season matchup.

For veteran offensive guard Jude St. John, it all begins by being physical and taking the initiative against a Blue Bombers defence that is both aggressive and athletic.

Winnipeg won the season series 2-1 against the Argos, who averaged 15 points and were simply overmatched on the line of scrimmage, unable to create rushing lanes or provide enough pocket time for their quarterback.

"Winnipeg is big and strong and we believe we're big and strong," St. John said yesterday. "The key for us is to take it to them. We have to get them off the line of scrimmage and give our guys some room."

Under defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, the Bombers evolved into one of the CFL's most dominant units.

The Bombers line up in a 4-3 defence and are anchored by the likes of Ron Warner, Doug Brown and Barrin Simpson.

Both Spergon Wynn and Damon Allen lined up under centre for the Argos, who couldn't generate much of anything against the Bombers, on the road or at home.

The teams, curiously, played all three of their regular-season matchups in a one-month span and haven't opposed each other since Aug. 25.

St. John has been around the game long enough to know the key to playoff success is controlling the line of scrimmage.

He also knows the Argos enter the post-season on a two-game losing streak, setbacks that were produced at home.

"You don't want to go into the playoffs having lost in a row, but each game (losses to Saskatchewan and Montreal) were close games and tough games," St. John said.

"It's the playoffs now and you throw everything out the window. There is no added incentive. It's do or die."

With so many ageing players dotting the Argos roster, St. John is well aware Sunday's game may be the final for many, a scenario that has crossed his mind.

"The older you get, the more you appreciate opportunities such as this one," he said. "You can't allow these opportunities to pass you by.

"You must have the attitude that this could be your last game. If you win your last game, you've won a championship."

FINDING THEIR GROOVE?

For the Argos, the road to the Grey Cup begins on Sunday, when they somehow have to find a way to move the football, score points and keep their defence off the field.

Head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons insists his offence and special teams are beginning to find their rhythm, despite the Argos' two-game home losing streak.

"For us, the more we keep playing, the better we get,'' Clemons said.

And perhaps no unit has to step up more than the Argos' offensive line, which is expecting the return of starting right tackle Jerome Davis from an injury.


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