THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG -- The Toronto Argonauts minus Ricky Ray could equal a golden opportunity for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, as they try to claw their way back into the CFL playoff race this weekend.
But to walk away with their first back-to-back wins in 2012, quarterback Buck Pierce has told the Bombers they will still have to deal with a tough Argos defence.
|Ready for Jackson|
- Bombers Head Coach Tim Burke
"That defence, in my opinion, is one of the best in the league,'' he said Friday after the morning walk-through.
"They want to get up and after our receivers and meet our running backs at the line of scrimmage. I think it's a good challenge for us.''
For Pierce, making only his second start since he went down with a foot injury in July, this is what football is all about. He's had a positive return that started with a 34-12 decision over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week.
"It's a fun week for me,'' he said. "This year, it's no secret we haven't been great against man-coverage football teams.''
The Argos are relying on backup quarterback Jarious Jackson, who Pierce knows well from their days with the B.C. Lions. They even roomed together as CFL rookies.
"I expect him to play well and lead his team tomorrow,'' Toronto coach Scott Milanovich said after arriving Friday.
"Jarious does have a big arm. He can throw it a long way and he has some mobility and he's a big strong guy so he can break tackles.''
Jackson stepped in early after Ray went down with strained knee ligaments in last week's loss in Montreal.
"I think it was very, very important that he got the amount of reps he did in that game,'' said Milanovich, who added he doesn't know for certain whether Ray will start next week.
"It felt good to be live . . . because they're going to try taking my head off tomorrow, so I'm glad I'm prepared for it,'' he said.
Toronto kick returner and receiver Chad Owens, who leads the league in both categories, says the team has confidence in Jackson.
"I have trust and faith that Jarious is going to get me the ball, on time, like Ricky did,'' he said, admiring the way Jackson came off the bench when called upon in Montreal.
"It was almost as if he's never missed a snap. . . He's very locked in mentally so I'm excited.''
Winnipeg has its own Chad. Rookie running back Chad Simpson, whose 134 yards on the ground were a big part of last week's win.
"It's going to be a fun game,'' said Simpson. "When we played them last time, it was a close game. This time we've got Buck back. It should be a good one.''
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|