A day before the Toronto Argonauts face the B.C. Lions at B.C. Place, the Argos seeing themselves atop the Eastern Division, owning the tie breaker against the Montreal Alouttes. Before the season started, many could have predicted that the Boatmen would be doing well, but in first place in the East – maybe not.
Second in the East, possibly, but doubting the Alouttes is never a safe decision. How can you ever doubt a team with Anthony Calvillo in the pocket and S.J. Green playing slot? Simple – you can’t! And I doubt the Argonauts did, because when they travelled to Montreal on July 27th, they managed to get a great win, and now proves to be the reason the double-blue are in first .
The Argonauts also entered the season under heavy heat, after acquiring star quarterback Ricky Ray. Alongside him, we had picked up his Eskimo partner-in-crime Jason Barnes. Filling out the offensive line, we had stars lining up in Andre Durie, Cory Boyd, and Chad Owens. An O-Line like that practically guarantees a playoff birth but no one was really able to pick up on the struggles that would come up with. Ricky Ray had to learn to settle with a new playbook and new players. There was never any doubt about his throwing ability, but the average fan assumes that he could just pop on the Argo jersey and immediately change a team. Jason Barnes entered a team with a strong receiving core, but despite his slow start, Barnes is someone who can become lethal at any point in time. Argo fans, do not let this slow beginning fool you, as JB is a top level receiver. Of course, no one would have predicted the release of Boyd in the off-season, nor would they have predicted it 3 weeks into the season as he lead the league in rushing yards. But it happened, and there is nothing anyone could do about it but move on.
An enormous positive was brought in after the release of All-Star Cory Boyd, and it comes in the form of Chad Kackert. Off to an extremely explosive start, Kackert saw himself as the player of the week in only his fourth playing week of the season.
Another slightly unexpected aspect of the Double Blue is Pat Watkins. The rookie cornerback see’s himself leading the league in interceptions with four, including a beautiful pick-six in Week 11 vs. Hamilton. The part that makes this part a little less unexpected then…well expected is the fact that Chris Jones is coaching him. The league, the country, the players, and everyone else knows that Chris Jones is probably one of if not the best defensive coach in the business.
All in all, the season thus far has been slightly unexpected. Everyone could have predicted the Argos to do well, but atop the East? Who knows, but it doesn’t matter because we are there! We own the tiebreakers against every other team in the division, so the Argos are in great position. But what may happen the rest of the season? Well here is again, only a SLIGHT prediction.
This may sound bold, but if the Argos win tomorrow I predict they will win the Grey Cup. If they lose, they still may! Toronto has only lost to B.C., Hamilton and Edmonton. They do not face Edmonton anymore this season, they have become more comfortable against Hamilton, and their final game against B.C. comes tomorrow. After that, it becomes more of a smooth sailing. Two new meetings against Saskatchewan will most likely be the toughest, but Montreal, Winnipeg, and Hamilton will have the Argos in a much more comfortable position. With 8 more games this season – I do not see the Argonauts going worse than 6-2.