Veteran linebacker Muamba fully involved in Toronto Argonauts practice

“He must feel really good about it. We’ll probably talk more (Friday).

But Muamba left no doubt that nothing less than a broken leg will keep him out of the line-up on Saturday.

“It’s always like that for me, but the games are getting more and more meaningful and that’s how you like it,” Muamba said. “It’s a time of year when you want to play these types of games.

“I relish these opportunities. I don’t take any of these games for granted, so I’m delighted to be there.

Veteran defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis (knee) was also a full participant on Thursday after being on the six-game injured list in August. Dinwiddie expects Davis to be a game-time decision.

If Davis plays, it will likely be with a knee pad.

Dinwiddie said Canadian veteran fullback Declan Cross (ankle) will face Ottawa, which should help both Toronto’s offense and special teams.

“He brings us a bit of tenacity in the downhill game as far as blocking the advantage goes,” Dinwiddie said. “He’s also great at punt protection and kickoff returns, he’s also been missed on special teams.”

Aussie punter John Haggerty (hip) will be a game-time decision. If he can’t go, veteran kicker Boris Bede will also handle punting duties, which he has done all along of his tenure in the CFL.

But Dinwiddie said American running back Javon Leake (hamstring) needed more recovery time.

Injuries, Dinwiddie said, are just a fact of life in professional football.

“We just say, ‘Next man,’ that’s kind of our motto,” he said. “You are going to deal with injuries from week to week and sometimes they are going to happen at the end of the week and you have to live with it.

“That’s kind of how we ride, on the right, and kind of what we did last year.”

American defensive lineman Damontre Moore completes his first week of training with Toronto. The 10-year NFL veteran signed with the Argos on Sunday and said his new teammates have helped him adjust to the nuances of Canadian football.

“But at the end of the day, football is football,” Moore said. “You see the ball, you get the ball.

“The first day I went out and was a little shaky, but by the end of practice I was humming like I’d been here with the guys all training camp. It’s proof that a great coach (defensive coordinator Corey Mace) taught me and the guys to be selfless (and) take me under their wing.

However, the six-foot-four, 260-pound Moore could not say if he will play on Saturday.

“Hey man, we’ll see what happens,” he said with a chuckle. “Time will tell us.

“It’s above my salary.”

Toronto arrives after winning three straight, including a 24-19 decision at Ottawa on Sept. 10 before both teams headed to a bye week. The Argos defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in the current winning streak and a total of 47 points in that span.

“We gel more, we communicate better, we understand the playbook better,” Muamba said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet.

“Specifically in defence… Either we start fast and don’t finish strong, or we start slow and finish strong. We want to be able to put on full matches because we don’t want to miss any opportunities or a chance for the opposing attack to stick around. We don’t feel like we’ve done that so far.

Dinwiddie doesn’t want his team to dwell on the playoff implications of Saturday’s game.

“We just talked about the process,” he said. “I said to the guys, ‘Don’t even look at the standings.’

“We started after the first nine weeks and were like, ‘Now it’s a new season’, and we’re now 3-0 down and trying to get to 4-0. We’re just taking it one day at at the same time…understanding that we have work to do to be able to prepare for the day of the match.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 22, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press