Joseph clears the air with Argo coach

A day after he criticized Toronto Argonauts coach Bart Andrus for not naming a starter for their upcoming game, quarterback Kerry Joseph cleared the air and explained his comments to reporters.

The CFL’s Most Outstanding Player from 2007 hasn’t started since the Argos were shutout 25-0 at Montreal on Aug. 7. On Monday, Joseph said his two-year stint with the team has been “a fiasco.”

But by Tuesday he had changed his tune.

“I made the comments,” Joseph said. “It wasn’t to take shots towards anybody, it’s just I felt it was my opinion about some things.

“It wasn’t to bring any type of distraction to this team or the quarterback position. We have a great group in that room and we have to continue to communicate.”

Joseph was the third Argo to openly express his frustrations about Andrus to the media.

Receiver Arland Bruce III (now with Hamilton) and cornerback Byron Parker (now with Edmonton) had disputes with their coach earlier this season and were traded away just days after their concerns were made public.

Andrus, also the team’s offensive coordinator, said everything is fine now between him and Joseph.

“I think he just got caught off-guard [by the media]. It’s something that’s in the past now.” Andrus said. “I understand the frustration, that’s something that’s going to go hand in hand with where we’re at right now.”

During Joseph’s time in Toronto, the Argos have won only seven games. They went 4-14 last year and are 3-10 heading into Saturday’s tilt against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (7-6) at Mosaic Stadium.

Joseph was the starting QB for the first six games of the season, but after the Argos went 2-4 during that stretch, Andrus gave the job to Cody Pickett.

The second year pivot hasn’t performed any better, losing all but one of his seven games behind centre. He has not thrown a touchdown pass since Aug. 28 against Calgary.

He was replaced by Joseph in both of the last two games, but the Argo pivots continue to split reps in practice with no idea of who will start on Saturday.

“I want to make sure they’re both ready just like every week we prepare both guys to play,” Andrus said. “They know they’re paid to get ready to play and when they go out, they play as well as they can.”

Argos general manager Adam Rita wasn’t angered by Joseph’s comments. In fact, he appreciated the veteran’s honesty and the passion that came along with it.

“He said what he said from his heart and that’s cool, so let’s go out and win one now,” Rita said.

“I’m glad there’s a little fire [there] in a good way. I don’t think if you talk to a guy who has been in and out of the lineup he’s going to be real happy.

“I don’t think he meant it maliciously, I think he meant it out of frustration.”

Andrus and Joseph may have resolved their differences, but the coach will look closely at both QBs, and decide whether Pickett starts in his eighth straight game, or Joseph takes the snaps against the team he lead to Grey Cup glory in 2007.