Welcome to your Argos preview for Monday’s encounter with the Alouettes de Montreal. Coming off a long break at home the Boatmen are looking to impress their fans with an elusive win at home for the very first time(ever) at BMO.
The preparation by the Argos during the week of practice was relatively low key. It’s been a staple of head coach Scott Milanovich to leave those tough losses behind and get to work. As noted in many practices you really can’t tell if the Argos won or lost their last game as the preparation and practice is always technical and fast moving. Ricky Ray was saying all the usual Rayisms about needing to make plays and for the Double Blue they are looking forward to Ricky Ray finding is groove.
We start with the D-side because quite literally having Ottawa’s Trevor Harris go 28 for 31 in passing has to be enough motivation for the Argos D to have a big week against the inept Montreal offence. If it’s Kevin Glenn then the Argos know the very reliable QB will play it safe, hit his receivers and keep the ball moving. Rakeem Cato had decent numbers last week filling in for the injured Kevin Glenn but he looked unsure of his play calls and failed to make his mobility an issue for the Ti-Cats. The Argos front four will be asked to make it harder on the Alouettes QBs than they have in the past.
Tackling woes have not been an issue solely for the Argos this year but make no apologies, the film sessions on D this past week would have shown the Argos that they made some small plays for the REDBLACKS into big plays with poor or little tackling techniques. Greg Ellingson’s 218 yards might have only been 118 yards if the tackling had been better. If we don’t see two arms on every tackle, then someone might be sitting out the next game.
Toronto really only attempted 5 run plays last game and they were all to Brandon Whitaker. His game was a big one with his receiving totals as he hauled in 6 passes and the Argos offence looked great on his TD catch as Wallace Miles played the decoy on a sweep and Ray was patient for Whitaker to release his potential block and find open field. This play call is a great CFL staple and right now the Argos need to find more of these great CFL plays to keep the opposing defence on their back heels. Whitaker can hurt you with his rushing and receiving so establishing him in hopefully both categories will go a long way to getting some offensive rhythm.
Tori Gurley took warm-up and was not active and Kevin Elliot was and still remains injured. The Argos have had some great fill-ins like Kenny Shaw but not enough production from the YAC perspective. The BIG 3 from last year has not been as dominant due to injury and the Argos may have to start planning a new strategy if Florida State’s Kenny Shaw and North Carolina’s A&T Wallace Miles become full-time players. They don’t crash and bang as much as Hazelton, Elliot and Gurley so some play calls that better suit the two shifty and slimy receivers may be needed in the playbook.
Larry Taylor is settling in nicely with his new team and schemes to create some good starting positions for the Argos and Liam Hajrullahu has been great off the tee but his punting needs to improve. There is so much more to punting than just kicking the ball far such as keeping it within reach of your coverage but Hajrullahu needs to start putting the ball deeper and higher.
Intangible I almost forgot
The Argos were the first game of week 4 and last game of week 5 with both at home. That’s enough prep and rest to make taking on the lowly Alouettes a chance to break-out. A big win after two poorly played home games will go a long way to showing folks that the Double Blue want first place in the east and not just a play-off spot. Trevor Harris going down with an injury in Ottawa and Zach Collaros still not under centre for Hamilton means a window has opened for the Argos to get into the thick of the action in the east.
By Peter T. Kourtis