Sports

Argos need to keep QB upright against pass rush of desperate Lions on Saturday

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A wounded B.C. Lions crew versus an Argonauts squad that was served humble pie in Montreal final week, one thing should give when the 2 collide on Saturday at BMO Area.

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B.C. enters the day having misplaced 4 in a row, whereas the Argos have received all 4 of their residence video games this season.

And but the Argos aren’t precisely enjoying successful soccer, at the least not primarily based on their dreadful efficiency in opposition to the Als final Friday.

With a lot on the road and a lot at stake, the Argos had been putrid. The Lions, in the meantime, suffered their first shutout loss in 51 years after they had been embarrassed by the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Mixed, the Leos and Boatmen had been on the dropping finish of an 82-16 scoreline.

“We’ve to play higher,’’ mentioned Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, who’s nicely conscious of B.C.’s plight.

“We haven’t performed nicely by any means the previous few weeks, particularly on offence. It’s necessary for us to get again heading in the right direction.”

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B.C. is determined because it makes a last, frantic push for a playoff spot, which might probably contain crossing over into the East Division with Saskatchewan and Calgary dueling it out for second place within the West and a house playoff sport.

Winnipeg has already wrapped up first place within the West and a bye into the divisional last. Its solely loss got here in opposition to the Argos at BMO Area when Nick Arbuckle made his beginning debut for Toronto.

Arbuckle was dealt to Edmonton earlier this week, that means the Argos will journey it out with McLeod Bethel-Thompson as their starter.

Antonio Pipkin is the backup and can proceed to be featured in short-yardage packages.

The most effective quarterback in Saturday’s sport is Mike Reilly, a Gray Cup champion.

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“He’s robust,’’ mentioned Dinwiddie of the Lions QB. “He’s mentally and bodily robust. He’s a frontrunner of that crew. While you hear him speak, it means one thing. Like every chief, he leads by instance.

“He’s not asking anyone to do what he’s not prepared to do. An amazing chief with excessive toughness.”

Saturday marks the primary time Bethel-Thompson will enter a sport this season because the Boatmen’s undisputed chief.

Turnovers have by no means been a problem for MBT, however he did fumble the ball in Montreal and was picked off 4 occasions.

Rain is predicted on Saturday, which is able to put a good higher emphasis on ball safety.
In some ways, MBT leaves himself weak by taking so many hits.

Dinwiddie noticed it first-hand when he began for the Argos within the season opener at Calgary, an evening that may see MBT main the crew to 10 fourth-quarter factors in a 23-20 win.

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“He’s not afraid to get hit,’’ mentioned Dinwiddie. “We’ve to restrict the quantity of hits he does take. Final week was robust. He was stepping in there and taking them on the chin.

“We form of requested him to try this scheme-wise, however probably not take it on the chin. We had been holding the ball to hit these second home windows. We didn’t do job of defending him. He stood in there and stood tall within the pocket.”

The Argos haven’t performed a post-season sport since 2017, MBT’s first yr in Toronto.
The crew’s quarterback depth chart again then featured Ricky Ray and Cody Fajardo, the Argos’ short-yardage quarterback who additionally held on discipline targets.

MBT holds for present placekicker Boris Bede.

The QB generally known as Mac can now grow to be the primary Argos pivot since Ray to steer the crew into the post-season.

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Dinwiddie mentioned he spoke as soon as to his crew in regards to the reward that follows if a win is produced in opposition to B.C.

“Our guys have greater targets in thoughts, however it begins with successful this soccer sport,’’ mentioned Dinwiddie.

Coming off a troublesome loss corresponding to final week’s abysmal play in Montreal ought to add to the urgency.

“We’re not going to dwell on the previous,’’ added Dinwiddie. “We’ve discovered from it. Our focus is on B.C., and a win can be nice for us to construct that confidence within the locker room.
“I’m all the time telling these guys: ‘How do you spell enjoyable? W-I-N.’ It’s enjoyable successful, there’s no enjoyable in dropping. We win a soccer sport and it’ll form of get our mojo again.”

The Argos should battle the rain in addition to the Leos.

Linebacker Chris Edwards, who has performed in Edmonton and B.C. earlier than becoming a member of the Argos, sees a bonus on defence when climate performs an element.

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“It’s tougher on the quarterback to throw it,’’ mentioned Edwards. “You may get extra tipped passes, extra tipped interceptions, it’s simpler to fumble the soccer.

“Rather a lot may occur and I really feel it is a bonus for a defence.”

BMO Area is the league’s solely grass discipline, however the floor in the long run zone has synthetic turf, which has brought on many opponents to slide.

Edwards plans on sporting his similar cleats.

“No distinction,’’ he mentioned when requested about his foot attire. “The one distinction is we’ll be enjoying within the rain.”

Prior to now, snow video games have compelled Edwards to change his choice in cleats.

Defensively, the Argos are nonetheless studying the Chris Jones system, with Saturday being the fifth sport the place he’ll name the performs.

The Argos are 3-1 since Jones joined the crew.

“We’re nonetheless coming collectively,’’ mentioned Edwards. “We’ve new coach who joined us half-way by means of the season and we’re nonetheless adjusting. I’m loving it. We’ve a whole lot of nice athletes right here, we’ve got an amazing system, coach has an amazing plan.

“We’re simply getting higher each week attempting to execute.”

fzicarelli@postmedia.com

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