TORONTO – Entering Week 4 of the CFL season, the Toronto Argonauts sit in a tie atop the East Division standings. Unfortunately, they are also tied for fourth in the division as the Boatmen share identical 1-2 records with the Tiger-Cats, Blue Bombers, and Alouettes.
After undergoing numerous changes in the offseason, especially on defence, the Argos are still searching for an identity. For the most part, the offence has played up to its potential as Ricky Ray appears to be much more comfortable in his surroundings than a year ago. Ray’s ability to spread the ball to various targets and high completion percentage has allowed him to rack up 917 yards passing, which is second in the league. The chemistry that Ray developed with Chad Owens throughout last year’s run to the Grey Cup has carried over to this season as Owens leads the CFL with 291 receiving yards.
Chad Kackert has made a significant impact both on the ground and through the air. While Kackert ranks only sixth in the league in rushing yards with 167, his average of 6.2 yards per carry puts him third among starting backs. Kackert has also emerged as an additional weapon for Ray in the passing game as he has recorded 88 yards on 12 receptions. His receiving totals rank first among starting running backs.
An underrated aspect of the team so far has been the play of the Argos offensive line. In the three games played they have allowed only 6 sacks, 5 of those coming in Week 3 against the stout Riders defensive line.
While the offence is second in points scored and first in the East with 83, they have allowed 97 points, which is the most the league. Considering the abundance of new faces on the defensive side of the ball and the fact that they started two rookies in the secondary – Janzen Jackson and Jamie Robinson – in last week’s contest, struggles are expected. Head Coach Scott Milanovich understands this process but is hoping the unit comes together as soon as possible.
“We know it takes some time to gel and we need to start gelling sooner rather than later” said Milanovich after practice on Monday.
With a full week of practice under their belt, the Argos young defence should be prepared for Buck Pierce and the Bombers offence.
The Argos offensive line will face their toughest test of the season against a Bombers front seven that leads the league in sacks with 18 in just three games. Ensuring Ray has ample time to operate in the pocket will be a priority throughout the game.
Toronto has been down this road before as they started the 2012 campaign 1-2 before going on to win the Grey Cup. Although it is not yet time to panic, it is crucial to string some wins together and head in a positive direction to avoid being in a vulnerable position later in the season.
Top spot in the East Division and the chance to improve to 2-2 will be on the line when the Argonauts and Blue Bombers clash on Friday night at Investors Group Field.