This Year to Next
For those of you are not yet aware, the 2012 Toronto Argonauts won the 100th Grey Cup. That means that going into next year we are the team to beat. We are the team, that come 2013, all seven other teams will be scheming against. So what changes? In all honesty, that question is way up in the air.
MVP and MVC Chad Kackert and Ricky Foley are free agents, and are free to sign with any team come February 15th. Ricky Foley being a hometown boy, and Chad Kackert having a niche with this organization are both positive outlooks if your questioning whether or not they will resign, but that is only from the outside. Both will expect raises, and something that we MAY not be able to afford. With Spencer Watt, Mo Mann, Joe Eppele, and other Argonaut faces eligible for free agency, it will be tough to decide who stays and who goes. How will Jim Barker make the choice of who to spend the money on? Spencer Watt is a young receiver. Mo Mann is a veteran with a strong relationship to Ricky Ray. Joe Eppele is a young and quick big body. Ricky Foley is Ricky Foley and Chad Kackert is Chad Kackert. Both young, and both good at what they do. With the CFL rule, where contract and money is on the “hush, hush”, we do not and will not know how much money is on the table. With Ejiro Kuale gone, we know we need the talent and energy Ricky Foley brings. If Chad Kackert leaves the Boatmen, we have Gerald Riggs Jr., an up and coming running back, but for now a solid back up. Can we afford both big names? And if we can, what happens to our other free agents? So what exatly can we look forward too for next year?
Ricky Ray and Chad Owens: Our MOP slotback and HOF quarterback will both be back with the double blue next year, pending a trade or release, but I cannot figure out a reason either of which could happen. Does this duo need an explanation on how valuable they will be to the team next season? Give Ricky Ray an entire offseason plus the experience he gained with his core group, you can only see him getting better, which we did not know was even possible.
Andre Durie: It is easy to say that Andre Durie is one of the most consistent players on the Double Blue. Durie also battled injury this year, missing a few games mid-season. On multiple occasions, we saw him limping off after players, yet he still managed to make key grabs and score important touchdowns. If Durie manages to get back to 100% this offseason, him and Chad Owens in the backfield will be very dangerous.
Robert McCune: Robert McCune led the team in tackles in 2012, and that was in his first season with the team. His experience he gained this year in addition to the experience he has with Chris Jones, I would not be surprised to see him surpass 100 tackles in 2013. With Ejiro Kuale gone, McCune will need to step it up, and show why his nickname is the hammer!
Scott Milanovich and Jim Barker: So, lets break down what THIS dynamic duo did for the double blue this season. Jim Barker not only brought in Ricky Ray, but he made sure to bring in players like Mo Mann and Jason Barnes who had previous great relationships with the HOF quarterback. Its a safe assumption to say that without Ricky Ray we would not have the Grey Cup sitting at the office. After Jason Barnes’ stint on the PR, and once Mo Mann returned to the lineup, we saw their veteran relationship rekindle, and the Toronto Argonauts looked like a team that has been together for years.
Scott Milanovich won a Grey Cup in his first year at head coach. That is enough right? He walks into a team that has a new offensive leader in Ricky Ray, a new defensive coach in Chris Jones, and a team that overall struggled to pick up a win last year. And than he won the Grey Cup. He battled injuries to key players all season in Andre Durie, Ricky Ray, and Noel Prefontaine. The team scrambled, struggled, but than succeeded and did he mention, he than won the Grey Cup. To see a coach go through all of that, and still manage to win it all, is outstanding, and now everyone is going back on their word when they question why exactly CEO Chris Rudge and GM Jim Barker extended his contract at the start of the playoffs.