Posted by: Jeremy | October 2, 2009

Argos home to face CFL-best Als Saturday

Kevin Eiben and the Argos' D is looking to keep Anthony Calvillo in check

Kevin Eiben and the Argos' D is looking to keep Anthony Calvillo in check Saturday

Facing the Montreal Alouettes is never an enviable task, especially when you’re in dire need of a win to keep the season afloat. Coming off a disappointing loss in Winnipeg, the Argos are home Saturday to face a red-hot Montreal team looking to extend its stranglehold on the league .

Toronto lost a 29-24 decision to the Blue Bombers last Saturday, dropping their record to a CFL-worst 3-9. They face a tall task in bouncing back against Montreal, owners of a 10-2 mark and to whom they lost 25-0 at Percival Molson Stadium Aug. 7.

“We’re going to measure ourselves against the number one team in the league,” Argos head coach Bart Andrus said after Friday’s walk-through. “You look at the experience they have on their roster, and that’s where we want to be.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he added. “We’ll have a better idea where we’re at after a game like this.”

Andrus will have a new-look defensive backfield to assess, as well. After trading Byron Parker to Edmonton for a fourth-round draft pick Monday, Andrus learned he’ll be without starting cornerbacks Willie Middlebrooks and Jordan Younger. Though Younger is listed as starting on the team’s depth chart, he’s expected to be removed prior to game-time when rosters have to be finalized. Dovonte Edwards and Sammy Joseph are expected to start in place of the pair.

“We feel good about the crew we have on the field this week,” Andrus said. “They’re good players. They’re young, fast and quick, and we’re looking forward to seeing them here a long time.”

Wille Pile knows the Argos need to execute

Execution is key, according to linebacker Willie Pile

Regardless of the personnel, any team would find itself in tough against Montreal’s offense, which ranks first in most categories. The Alouettes, led by quarterback Anthony Calvillo, have scored a league-high 386 points. Calvillo leads the league in passing yards (3,597), completion percentage (72.1) and quarteback rating (105.7), while tossing 17 touchdowns (second in the CFL) to just five interceptions. Meanwhile, Montreal bosts the league’s top rusher in Avon Cobourne (1,043 yards and 11 touchdowns) and its top receiver in Kerry Watkins (61 receptions, 898 yards).

“We have to go out and execute our gameplan,” linebacker Willie Pile said Friday in regards to stopping Montreal attack. “It comes down to who executes best and does what’s asked of them. In our case, that means tackling and not getting penalties. All the things we can control, we need to do.”

Beating the Alouettes isn’t just a matter of stopping their offense. Their defense has given up a CFL-low 196 points — 94 less than the next closest team in the league. In an attempt to spark the offense, Andrus intends to give special teams standout Dominique Dorsey, who joined the team just over two weeks ago after an NFL stint, an extended look in the backfield.

“I’m looking forward to going in and contributing as a running back,” said Dorsey, who’s expected to spell starter Jamal Robertson and provide a change of pace. “I’m definitely more involved than in the past two weeks and I’ve got the playbook down.”

Andrus also opted to go back to quarterback Cody Pickett, who was pulled in the second half of last week’s loss to Winnipeg. Pickett saw his first action of the season in relief of Kerry Joseph the first time out against Montreal, completing 7-of-11 attempts for 83 yards.

The Argos and Alouettes kickoff Saturday at one.


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