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Argos eye unbeaten home record in season finale


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The Argos need to escape Tuesday’s date with the Elks injury free.

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At last count, the Argos had 29 players on the injured list, many of whom will be available for the biggest game of the year on Dec. 5 when Toronto plays host to the East final.

The Argos’ opponent that afternoon will be either Hamilton or Montreal with the winner advancing to the Grey Cup the following Sunday in the Hammer.
The Ticats and Als will hook up in the East semi on Nov. 28.

A Ticats win this week over visiting Saskatchewan will give Hamilton home field over the Als, who play host to Ottawa to end the regular season.

A Ticats loss coupled with an Als win and Montreal will play host to the divisional semifinal.

The Argos can close out their regular season by remaining unbeaten at home.
A win over Edmonton will also give the Argos their 10th of the season during the league’s shortened 14-game schedule.

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That old axiom of needing a program to identify players holds true for the Argos, whose roster is a collection of names no one has probably heard of or ever seen play.

Antonio Pipkin has played in the CFL, but he’s never started a game at quarterback for the Argos.

He will Tuesday night.

Cole McDonald, a true CFL rookie, has never taken a snap, but he will against the Elks.

The list goes on, including the debut for kicker Toshiki Sato, a global player who will handle all the duties for Boris Bede.

The backfield will consist of A.J. Ouellette, who rushed for more than 100 yards two weeks ago in a win over the Redblacks, and Cameron Scarlett, team MVP at Stanford during his senior season two years ago before he made NFL stops with Tennessee and Seattle.

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Whether it’s Josh Huff making his debut for the Argos at receiver, starting the game with an all-American defensive line, there are some odd combinations at various positions for the Argos.

Canadian rookie Josh Haggerty, for example, has started at free safety and has primarily served as a backup in the defensive backfield and played on special teams. He will start at strong-side linebacker for the first time as a pro.
Eric Rogers will be back for the first time since Toronto’s visit to Regina on Sept. 17 when he was injured.

Rogers is a lethal target in the red zone and his size and catch radius makes him an ideal target in any down and distance situation.

Receiver wise, the Argos will start Brian Jones in his first game back in Double Blue, Cam P hillips in his Toronto debut with Damion Jeanpierre, rookie Dejon Brissett and Huff.

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Huff will also be used in the return game.

Chandler Worthy, Toronto’s primary returner, moves to the one-game injured list.

“You can’t go out there and fake it,’’ said Dinwiddie in providing an overview of Tuesday’s game. “You have to go out there and play football.’’

Players can’t afford to simply go through the motions knowing they can easily get hurt on any play. No one expects the Argos to mail it in.

If an impression is made, Dinwiddie and his staff will have additional film to judge as the serious business of getting ready for Dec. 5 begins.

One area the coaching staff will be paying close attention to is along the offensive line.

Dinwiddie did acknowledge it is unlikely rookie Peter Nicastro and veteran Jamal Campbell will play in the East final, leaving huge holes to fill and one game to determine if any of Tuesday’s unproven starters can play.

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Martez Ivey will start at left tackle, while Thaddeus Coleman will start at right tackle.

Both are Americans, but neither has taken a snap for the Argos.

Two Canadian rookies, Jonathan Zamora at centre and Theren Churchill at right guard, will make their starting debuts.

A Toronto native, Zamora has an opportunity to be in the mix for the East final if he’s able to acquit himself well against Edmonton’s defensive line.

If he’s able to handle the job, the option to start Zamora at centre and move veteran Philip Blake to guard becomes viable.

Coleman is a CFL veteran who played for Edmonton.

Of the five O-linemen projected to start Tuesday, only Shane Richards has started for the Argos.

Given the position he plays, all eyes will be on Pipkin as starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson gets the night off.

Pipkin is athletic, but he has yet to showcase his arm talent as an Argo. The team has so far used him in limited packages, including short yardage.

“He’s got all the arm talent in the world, but we haven’t had a chance to see it,’’ said Dinwiddie.

McDonald, according to Dinwiddie, has a big arm.

“Very similar to Pipkin’s skill set,’’ he said. “We’re going to make sure we call plays that allow those guys to have fun and go out and compete.”

Dinwiddie plans on going with Pipkin for at least the first half.

“I definitely want to get Cole out there and give him some playing time,’’ said Dinwiddie.

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