TORONTO – Wow, last week was fun… There was football on, the sun was out and the best part… It’s happening again this week!!! Tonight, the Double Blue are in “La Belle Province” for a pre-season tilt against the pesky Montreal Alouettes. The Als are a team with a lot of momentum after concluding 2014 with an improbable playoff run. Quarterback Jonathan Crompton righted the ship after an abysmal start to the season and got the Alouettes deep into the post-season. Tonight’s contest, albeit a meaningless pre-season affair, should serve as a litmus test for the Boatmen. With that being said, let’s examine five storylines that you may want to keep an eye on during tonight’s pre-season finale.
1. Quarterback Play:
It’s official. Ricky Ray is out for at least the first six games of the regular season, shifting the spotlight onto projected starter Trevor Harris. However, this week’s matchup in Montreal could hold more significance for another Argonaut signal caller. Newly-signed pivot Adrian McPherson is expected to make his Double Blue debut on Thursday, and ironically, it’ll come against his former squad. McPherson, 32, spent the first five years of his CFL career (2008-12) as a member of the Alouettes, capturing back-to-back Grey Cup titles in 2009 and 2010.
2. Bounce Back?
The Argonauts enter tonight’s game coming off a disappointing loss at Varsity Stadium in their pre-season opener. Pre-season wins and losses are confusing because fans want to see their team’s win, but the players, especially those on the bubble, care more about individual performance… and rightfully so, they’re battling for jobs. Nevertheless, with that being said, it’ll be interesting to see how these young players respond following a sub-par outing in their first pre-season game. For some, the ability to bounce back from a loss and put the team first may be what gets them off the bubble.
3. Car Sick?:
This it Toronto’s first road game of the very young season. Seeing as how the Boatmen don’t return to the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre until August, it will be important for them to play well on the road. A road game to close out the preasason could provide just the setting for younger and more inexperienced players to learn how to play in hostile environments.
Part of what doomed Toronto last week was an abysmal first half. Do that during a road game and the odds of winning reduce immensely. In order for the Argonauts to emerge victorious in Montreal, they have to put more point on the board early.
Part of the reason for Toronto’s “not-so-hot start” may have been the fact that this is the pre-season and Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich does not want to reveal all his tricks. However, with tonight’s game serving as a “final dress rehearsal” for the Boatmen, it would be logical to assume that the Argos’ coaching staff will employ a variety of offensive and defensive tactics.
Written By: Chris Z.