Hamilton Tiger-Cats release RB Martel Mallett. Details to come.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats release RB Martel Mallett. Details to come.
TORONTO -- The Argos and Riders meet for the first time in 2012 on Monday afternoon, for an important Thanksgiving matinee at Rogers Centre.
Both teams find themselves chasing down first place in their respective divisions after an important win last weekend, and with five games remaining in the regular season schedule, each game is more important than the last.
For the Boatmen, they return home after a three-game road trip that concluded with a convincing 29-10 road win despite not having quarterback Ricky Ray at the helm due to a knee injury.
While Ray’s recovery continues to go well, according to head coach Scott Milanovich, the Argos will once again have to win without their starting pivot.
|Related: Riders at Argos|
That means Jarious Jackson will get his second straight start on Monday, after completing 17 of 28 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown in last week’s road win. While the Argos will likely miss Ray’s leadership, the coaching staff believes they’re in good hands with Jackson, who has no shortage of CFL experience himself.
“He knew exactly where he needed to go with the ball,” Milanovich said. “He also made two throws on those first two [offensive] drives that were as big time as big time as can be, sticking it into a tight window. One was to Dontrelle Inman and one was to Andre Durie, [both] second-down conversions.”
Jackson was self-deprecating when he explained incomplete passes, as well as procedure and time count penalties in Saturday’s first quarter. But he said he felt great physically and credited Ray for offering advice from the sidelines.
And though he again wished Ray a quick recovery, Jackson sounded like a quarterback excited to get back out on the field and play on Monday. He gushed about developing a quick connection with Inman, who led all Toronto receivers with four catches for 58 receiving yards with one touchdown.
“As a quarterback, whenever you have a guy that you feel comfortable with, and you can get him the ball, that guy tends to make some catches,” Jackson said. “But also Dontrelle is in the right spots when he is supposed to be there.”
With five games left in the regular season, four of which are at home, Milanovich is unconcerned with the quarterback situation because “ultimately [Jackson] did what we hoped he would do when [general manager] Jim Barker brought him in here.”
Still, there are other legitimate concerns from the coaching staff. Besides Ray’s injury, Toronto will be without running back Chad Kackert. That opens the door for Gerald Riggs Jr. to get his second start of the season, just like Jackson.
After spending time with the Argos in training camp for two straight seasons, Riggs re-joined the team following Cory Boyd’s departure. With his 5-11, 229-pound frame, Riggs packs a serious punch physically and gives the Argos more of a power running game – something that will likely come in handy against a Riders defence that’s one of the league’s most physical.
|The last time they met|
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Riders 30, Argos 20
Chris Getzlaf had 170 yards and a touchdown on seven catches, while Darian Durant threw for 279 yards as the Riders cruised to a 30-20 win on home turf over the Argos. Steven Jyles was effective for the Argos in the loss with 254 yards passing and an impressive 81 yards on the ground, but was also picked off twice as the Riders outscored the Argos 16-1 in the fourth quarter to come from behind for the win.
In his only start this season in a 28-23 loss back on September 15th, Riggs had five carries for 39 yards along with four receptions for 43 yards.
No matter who starts at quarterback or running back, though, the Argos can expect to be tested in every remaining game this season, with upcoming visits from each of their three divisional opponents along with a visit to Riderville.
The Argos rank fourth in offensive yards per game (368.5), while sitting tied sixth in touchdowns scored (23) and points per game (24.4)
“I have seen strides [on offence],” Milanovich said. “Certainly I want us to get better and be dominant, but we’re not there.”
“In the meantime, we have to play good defence and good special teams, and do what we need to do to get more points than [the opponent]. Hopefully we’re headed in the right direction.”
While the Argos are happy with the result of their last game, the Riders head to Toronto with wins in four of their last five games.
It’s been a rollercoaster season to say the least for the Green and White, after following an impressive 3-0 start with five straight losses that almost turned Riderville entirely upside down.
But over a recent streak of success, despite missing Darian Durant for two games with an injured hip and relying on rookie quarterback Drew Willy for a win in Winnipeg, the Riders have shown they’re serious about contending for the Grey Cup this season.
While the Riders’ defence has been one of the league’s stingiest over that stretch, a lot of the credit also has to go to the offence, led by the veteran Durant.
The 30-year-old had arguable his most impressive game of the season in the team’s statement win at home over the Lions last weekend, throwing for 371 yards and three touchdown passes – including the game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Carr – on 26-34 passing.
It marked the second time this season the Riders have beaten the Lions, and with just over a month left in the season and two games out of top spot, fans in Riderville are talking first place.
Most impressive in the win was their ability to protect Durant, who was sacked just once against a team that leads the league in sacks this season with 30.
"Yeah, one sack - and I was mad about it," Roughriders centre Dominic Picard said. "Overall, I think we protected (Durant) well."
Durant was pleased, too.
“Hats go off to them. They played great, even without Brendon,” Durant said. “Ben Heenan's been starting for us (at guard) since the beginning of the season, so we have six starters up front and they're all doing a great job.”
The Riders will need more of that on Monday, in hopes of winning their fifth game in six tries and moving closer to the top of the West.
Kickoff is at 4:30 P.M. ET, and can be seen on TSN or followed live via Game Tracker on CFL.ca and CFL Mobile.
- With files from PostMedia
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|