TORONTO — Ricky Foley finally has a normal home game-day routine.
The Toronto Argonauts (3-2) host the Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-6) on Saturday night, their first game in 2015 at Rogers Centre. So for the first time this season, Foley will have the luxury of waking up in the comfort of his own bed on game day.
"I just like having that home routine," said the veteran defensive end. "(On Friday night) I can just relax and cook my own food and not worry about a restaurant and getting a case of bad food.
"When you're on the road sometimes you have meetings during the day of the game. This way you get to sleep when you want . . . it's just good."
Toronto has played five straight road games, although its season-opening 26-11 victory over Edmonton on June 27 in Fort McMurray, Alta., counted as a home contest. The Argos enter the weekend tied atop the East Division with Ottawa and Hamilton despite losing a 34-18 road decision to the Tiger-Cats on Monday night.
"I don't care if we were 1-4 to be honest, first place is first place and that's where we want to be ultimately," Foley said. "I'm happy being in first place but encouraged because we haven't played a good game yet . . . we've had spurts but we've won playing mediocre at best."
It's been a hard-luck campaign for Saskatchewan as four of its defeats have been by a combined 12 points. What's more, the Riders lost starting quarterback Darian Durant (Achilles) and backup Kevin Glenn (knee) to injury so rookie Brett Smith will start for the second straight week.
Smith was 15-of-22 passing for 132 yards and two interceptions in last weekend's 30-5 loss to Edmonton. Toronto handed the Riders one of their close losses, a 42-40 overtime decision at Mosaic Stadium on July 5.
"To me, (Saskatchewan) is a playoff team," said Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich. "They've had some injuries just like we have and everybody else and they haven't caught breaks when they've needed it early in the season.
"Honestly, to me this is not an 0-6 team. I don't think our players look at them that way, I certainly don't."
Riders coach Corey Chamblin said redemption won't be the overwhelming sentiment on his team's mind Saturday night.
"The chip on our shoulder is more than the Argos," Chamblin said. "It's time for this team to win some football games."
Smith said he's more comfortable under centre with actual game experience and a week of practice under his belt.
"It's a lot easier just getting more repetitions," he said. "I'm getting a little more familiar with the guys.
"I think that can only help us."
For many defensive players, the prospect of facing a rookie quarterback would be an enticing one. But Foley said it isn't his immediate concern.
"I have to get past (offensive lineman) Xavier Fulton and (running back) Jerome Messam first, then I can worry about who's playing quarterback," Foley said. "You get into trouble when you start worrying about who's playing quarterback as a defensive lineman.
"I have to beat the guy in front of me. Fulton is my quarterback, I have to get through him first."
Toronto will be minus centre Jeff Keeping (shoulder), linebacker Cory Greenwood (concussion) and slotback/running back Anthony Coombs (concussion) while slotback Chad Owens (lower body) isn't expected to play. Veteran receiver Jamel Richardson, running back Anthony Allen, linebacker Telvion Clark and defensive back Tyree Hollins won't suit up for the Riders.
Foley spent two seasons in Saskatchewan, helping the club win the 2013 Grey Cup, before being dealt back to Toronto during the off-season. Foley admits he feels for the struggling Riders but said given the tightness of the East Division standings Saturday's contest is a must-win for the Argos.
"You've got to take advantage of games like this . . . because if you don't you're going to regret it down the stretch," Foley said. "I think it's going to come down to one, two games for each division regarding who gets the bye and who gets into the playoffs.
"We've got to win this game."
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press