Posted by: Jeremy | July 16, 2009

Argos look to bounce back in Calgary


Arland Bruce III is expected to inject some life into Toronto's return game

Arland Bruce III is expected to inject some life into Toronto's return game

Something isn’t right in Calgary, and the Argos are hoping it stays that way for at least another week. Toronto is on the road Friday night to face the defending Grey Cup champion Stampeders, who enter at 0-2 despite retaining many key pieces from last year’s team. The Argos, meanwhile, are looking for a bounce back of their own after dropping last Saturday’s home opener to Saskatchewan. Toronto gave up four touchdowns in a five minute stretch late in the second quarter, eventually losing 46-36.

“We tried to put that one to bed,” Argos head coach Bart Andrus said of the loss. “We have to move on and get the things corrected that we feel were wrong from that game and at the same time get a game-plan in for a new opponent.”

That opponent, the Stampeders, were in the same boat as the Argos last week, falling behind 28-4 before a few late touchdowns made things respectable in an eventual 42-30 loss to Winnipeg. Calgary also spotted Montreal a 20-0 lead before eventually losing 40-27 in their season opener on Canada Day, as well.

Henry Burris and the Stamps are looking for their first win

Henry Burris and the Stamps are looking for their first win

Despite looking vulnerable early in the season, the Stampeders offense features many of the same faces as that of a year ago, most notably quarterback Henry Burris. Burris passed for 5,094 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2008 and earned MVP honours in Calgary’s 22-14 win over Montreal in the Grey Cup. Burris also had plenty of help on the ground last season, as running back Joffrey Reynolds led the CFL in rushing with 1,310 yards.

The Argos had some offensive productive of their own in Saturday’s loss to Saskatchewan. Kerry Joseph threw for 348 yards — 114 to Reggie McNeal — and three touchdowns and Jamal Robertson rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Robertson, who picked up Offensive Player of the Week honours for his play in the season opener against Hamilton, has impressed Andrus thus far.

“I’m very pleased with what Jamal’s done,” Andrus said earlier this week. “He’s a good running back. He’s hard to tackle — people struggle getting a shot on his legs and that’s why he’s able to run through tacklers. I see him having a fantastic year for himself.”

Andrus and his staff had a few things to work on in practice this week, namely finding a man to carry the punt and kick return load. Toronto’s special teams unit was far from special against the Roughriders, and Andrus spent much of the week auditioning players for the role.

“We’re going to change up who’s returning and see how that goes,” Andrus said. “We plan to start this game with Arland (Bruce III) returning punts and we’re going to add Jarrett Payton back on the kick returns with Jamal (Robertson). You may see Matt Black out there too.”

Andrus also sent a serious message to his team about discipline after the loss to Saskatchewan. Toronto was penalized 17 times for 141 yards Saturday, and much of the heat fell on defensive tackle Adriano Belli, who picked up a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties in the second quarter.

“When you play on the line, one week you may be player of the game and another you may get a couple penalties,” Belli said this week. “But it’s up to me to control my aggression and be a football player.”

The Argos and Stampeders kick-off at 9:00 Eastern Time Friday at McMahon Stadium.

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