Argos hoping to play spoilers vs. Eskimos

Coach Bart Andrus and his Toronto Argonauts head west on Friday, to meet quarterback Ricky Ray and the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium (9 p.m. ET).

The Boatmen, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention, look to prevent the Eskimos (7-9) from entering post-season play as well.

Edmonton currently sits fourth in the CFL West, and is in a fight with the third-place B.C. Lions (8-8), the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9) and the surging Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-9) to last beyond the regular season.

“We’ve run out of time. We’ve used up more mulligans than we were entitled to,” Eskimo head coach Richie Hall said on Thursday.

“Our window [of opportunity] is like this,” he said, holding his hands several inches apart.

Hall’s team has had a poor second-half of the season, and is in danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in four years.

It has won only three of its past 10 games and its defence is the worst in the CFL allowing almost 30 points per game.

The Esks are somewhat fortunate to be facing the league’s worst offensive team in the Argonauts (3-13), but Hall thinks that Toronto will not be an easy opponent.

“I expect them to be very aggressive both offensively and defensively,” he told the team’s website.

“They are a dangerous team right now, not because of all the athletic ability they have over there, but they have nothing to lose and we have everything to lose.  To me their mindset may be more relaxed, more at ease.”

Ray agrees with his coach’s assessment.

“We’ve got to expect they’re going to bring it,” he told the Canadian Press.

“They didn’t show very much [blitz] against us the first time we played. They pretty much said, ‘We’re going to drop off and play zone and make it tough on you guys.’

“Their one adjustment will be to come after us a little bit more.”

Eskimo fans can take solace in the fact, however, that the Argos are in the midst of a six-game losing streak and are not looking to get better any time soon.

Toronto is dead last in points scored (18.8 a game), in touchdowns (24), and passing TDs (13). Quarterback Kerry Joseph is third-last in passing ratings (10 TDs against 15 interceptions).

Ray, meanwhile, is having another stellar year leading the league in passing with 4,336 yards and 20 TDs.

One of his receivers, Freddie Stamps, has recorded 1,161 yards in just his third-year in the CFL. He is the only player in the league to catch for 1,000 yards or more so far this season.

In their last meeting on Oct. 16, the Eskimos hung on to beat the Argos 22-19, but Joseph expects his team to improve on that effort.

“It would be easy to pack it in, but we don’t have the guys on this team who are going to do that,” he said.

“The situation we’re in, it is what it is. We just have to finish the season on a good note.”

About this article

By: Domenic Gratta
Posted: Oct 29 2009 10:00 pm
Filed under: Football Sports