MISSISSAUGA – A banged up team is looking to get one of their primary weapons back sooner than later.
Already without Ricky Ray until October at the earliest and with Chad Owens doubtful for the second straight week, Chad Kackert is looking to make his way back into the lineup.
Kackert, out since Week 5, is on the nine-game injured list and not eligible to come off until October 4th unless the Argonauts decide to exercise one of their two team exemptions.
Last year’s Grey Cup MVP took part in practice for the first time Wednesday.
“It feels good, it was nice to get reps in today,” Kackert said. “Today was the first day I had some reaction to the defenders and it held up really well.”
Before his injury Kackert had registered 189 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries while adding 15 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown through the air.
His status is still up in the air for both this week and perhaps those to come but head coach Scott Milanovich is encouraged with his tailback’s progress.
“(Kackert) looked pretty good, I watched him on film and kind of diagnosed it a little bit further to see how he responds afterwards. His status would still be day-to-day and if he is ready to go he will go, if not we will go with one of the other guys.”
The ‘other guys’ he mentions is likely one of Curtis Steele or Jerious Norwood who have both filled in at times for Kackert but the Argos have significantly steered their playbook more to the passing game since their starting ball-carrier’s departure.
“(These weeks) have all been work weeks, so it’s just different. The last couple weeks I have been approaching as if I was going on the field, nothing has really changed over the last couple weeks.”
“Kackert is cleared, it is just a matter of – he hasn’t fully practiced really in about 6/9 weeks, however long it’s been”, Milanovich continued. “We need to make sure he can withstand the piling that comes with playing - last week we had sixty-something plays, so just have to make sure he is healthy enough to do that.
“Everybody’s status is relative to Kackert at this point, Curtis (Steele)’s knee is starting to look better, I don’t know if he would be 100%. If Kackert is ready to go he will go, I think everybody else is waiting to see what will happen with him.”
For now, the decision remains up in the air as the Boatmen sit three days out from their next matchup.
It won’t be an easy one despite coming off a win as they travel to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders who experienced just their second of two losses last week in Winnipeg.
“The decision has not been made on who is playing this week so I will keep taking my reps and If I get the go I will be happy to and if I get rested it won’t matter,” Kackert said.
“Anytime you have a team that is not used to losing and they lose a game before they play you, you know they are going to be focused. Just like we have our weeks where sometimes we will even play well and get the win and we think we could have played better and be upset about it. I know Saskatchewan is not in a great mood, they are going to be focused the whole week and they are going to bring their best; that’s our chance for us to show them that we can be the best.”
Kackert or not, the Argos no one thing for sure and that is that Zach Collaros will once again be at the helm in Regina.
It was a tale of two halves for the young pivot who seemed lost in the first half before finding his way and engineering a comeback win over the Alouettes. It may not have been the start the Argos were looking for but even Milanovich could admit that it was a character-builder for a team that has had to make more than a few audibles due to injury.
“I was really proud of Zach and the whole team because they didn’t lose composure with their coach and they just trusted in what they were taught and then finally the dam broke and he got hot and we were basically able to win the game.”
“It felt like we needed a win. No matter who we play this week, certainly we need a little bit of momentum because this is a good football team we are playing. I don’t think Montreal’s defence gets enough credit for how they are; it’s not like Zach was playing against a team that didn’t have a good defence. We know what we are up against for Saskatchewan and we will have to play well again.”