As the Toronto Argonauts arrived at Canad Inns Stadium this morning, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers can be rest assured the Argos’ plan is for the Jarious Jackson-Chad Owens show to pick up where the Ricky Ray-Owens show left off.
When the Bombers (3-9) and Argonauts (6-6) meet tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Canad Inns Stadium, Argonauts quarterback Jarious Jackson will get his first start in an Argos uniform and first start in two years as Ray is out this week with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
"I have trust and faith that Jarious is going to get me the ball on time as Ricky did and vice-versa. Jarious has trust that we’re going to get open when we’re supposed to be open and he’s going to deliver," said Owens, "He (Jackson) is a great quarterback. He’s a very driven leader and he’s proven in this league. I’m excited for him, excited to be out there with him."
Owens will be bringing a complete ground and air package. The 5-foot-7, 180-pound dynamo is leading the CFL in receiving with 1,025 yards on 73 catches and in combined yards with 2,915. With six games left in the 2012 season, it is possible that he could become the first player in professional football to exceed 4,000 yards.
Since Jackson came into the game for Toronto last week in the first quarter after Ray’s injury, which occurred on the Argos’ seventh play from scrimmage, Owens noted they nearly had a full game together. The Argonauts had lost a second straight game, dropping a 31-10 decision to the Montreal Alouettes.
"I thought he did a great job coming in and it’s almost as if he’s never missed a snap. He’s very locked-in mentally," Owens said.
Jackson, who completed 15 of 31 passes for 198 yards and one interception in the loss to Montreal, last started on Aug. 12, 2010 when he was still with the B.C. Lions. He was acquired as a free agent by the Argos on Feb. 15 after B.C. released him.
"He (Owens) is having a stellar year. We were a little concerned if we would wear him down but he just seems to keep going," said Jackson, in his eighth CFL season. He played seven seasons with the B.C. Lions and was a former teammate of Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce. Pierce has a 5-1 record in starts against Toronto while Jackson has a 3-1 record in starts against Winnipeg.
"I’ve very excited. A little anxiousness, a little nervousness but at the same time it’s all in excitement," Jackson said. "We’ll continue with the same game with the first or the second or the quarterback."
Bombers coach Tim Burke said he expects Jackson to use his arm strength to try to pick apart Winnipeg’s defence.
"Jarious will have a different way, he likes to throw deep so he’ll take more shots deep than Rick Ray would," Burke said. "Jarious comes in and I think he’ll probably be a little that way. Even though he’s experienced, he’s been in the league a long time, it’s still playing in that offence, I think you’ll see him do that a bit more. He might run around a little bit more than Rick would."
Pierce, who will start for Winnipeg for a second straight week after missing eight games with a foot injury, said he has "a good feeling about what we’ve been doing this week."
"The Argos are a fun defence to play against. They’re aggressive and they want to hit you before you hit them," Pierce said. "We’re looking at this as a must-win. We have a chance to stack some wins together and get some momentum going into the final third of the season."
"I want to see us play consistent intead of in spurts."