From retirements, releases, and re-signings, the Toronto Argonauts have been one of the busier teams this off-season. The retirements and releases of some and the additions of others have left some fans wondering if this Grey Cup Champion team is truly in line for a repeat in 2013. The issue with some fans is that they focus on individual talent and skill, but they forget how much of a team game football really is. This post will analyze some of our major losses and gains so far this Winter, but its true purpose is to reassure any lost confidence that some fans may have.
Retirement of Ahmad Carroll
This past season, Ahmad Carroll definitely had his share of ups and downs. One game, we saw him running back interceptions for 6, while others we saw him virtually invisible. What is truly overlooked is what Carroll did off the field for this team, that will stick with this team for a while. During practice, Carroll was easily the most vocal player on the team,
and his humor and high spirits that were visible no matter how he or the team was doing, was always present. This attitude allowed for others to open up with each other, an attitude that when carried on in following seasons, will poise this team for victory.
Release of Armond Armstead and Ejiro Kuale
For anyone, absolutely anyone who is a CFL fan, had their jaws wide open when they heard the news that Armond Armstead and Ejiro Kuale had been released from the Toronto Argonauts. Both are poised to take shots at the NFL, and both have a chance. Despite his age, Kuale is an energetic man who has never missed a beat. He could be a solid special teams player on most NFL rosters. Armstead is
a different story. A young man, who has the potential to be an NFL All-Star. Without them, there is no doubt that the road to the Grey Cup would have been much more difficult. But let us all look back to earlier in the off-season where the Argonauts signed some players that you probably have not heard of. The first name is Adrian Awasom, a 6 foot 5, 280 pound Defensive End out of Fort Bend, Texas. In 2006, Awasom had a great season with the New York Giants playing in 10 games, recording 12 tackles and 1 sack. A veteran, Awasom is someone who can come in and try to blend in with Chris Jones’ defence. A big guy, who can break an offence line and attack the quarterback. Replacing Kuale is Shane Horton, a young guy who had a very successful college career at USC. He finished his senior season with 41 tackles, and is someone that definitely has the potential to succeed in the CFL. Argos fans, remember these two names as I personally feel that they will be key pieces to our defence. Let us also not forget our veterans on defence that will mesh perfectly with our new additions. Jordan Younger, Matt Black, Robert McCune, Ron Flemons, Pat Watkins and many others all have the chance to mesh with these new additions and become the top defensive team in the CFL.
Bringing Back Young Guns
Jim Barker began the off-season by locking up some of the younger guys on the team. Despite seeing regular season action, Quincy Hurst was resigned with the hopes of him growing to be one of the
quicker Wide Receivers in the game. Also, in limited action Julian Feoli-Guidino, Johnnie Dixon, and Dante Paige-Moss also showed many signs of brightness this year and giving Barker reason to lock them up for the future as well. In addition, young Offensive Lineman Joe Eppele was inked two a multi-year contract. Eppele is definitely one of the bigger guys on the team, but also oneof the quickest (in comparison to the other big’s). Eppele saw a lot of time on Special Teams running down the field, as well as on our big line-up blocking for Jarious Jackson on short yardage plays. Locking up young talent can never go wrong, as now they all have the chance to develop with our highly successful and skilled coaching staff.