Toronto – In the category of every game is a big game the 5 -7 Toronto Argonauts travel to Ottawa this Friday to face the 5-5-1 Ottawa REDBLACKS. The Argos currently sit third in the CFL East division and out of a playoff spot due to their loss to Edmonton earlier in the season that would put the Eskimos in with the crossover format.
Both Toronto and Ottawa are coming off road losses to Winnipeg and Calgary respectively. This game also marks the third meeting of the season between both clubs with both teams winning their game on the other teams’ home turf. Suffice to say the potential tie breaking scenarios that could exist at seasons end make this game the biggest game of the year for both teams.
Dan LeFevour will be making his third start for Toronto and that’s a good thing. The 29 year old quarterback has done nothing to lose his job and stability at that position is critical when every game counts, especially on the road in one of the leagues loudest stadiums.
“His ability to scramble and make plays gives our offense a different dimension.” – Coach Milanovich on Dan LeFevour.
Last week I wrote that I’d love to not name the Toronto quarterback as one of my three keys to the game. And this week I’m not going to. I expect LeFevour to play well but I don’t expect him to carry the team. He shouldn’t need to. Avoid the big mistake and the offense will be fine against an Ottawa defence that is good but hardly great. If Toronto wants to improve their 3-2 road record other parts of Toronto’s game need to step it up. Here are my three.
1. The Secondary
It’s been a whirlwind season for the Argonaut secondary. Injuries and trades have really made it difficult for this team to gel as a unit. The turnover continues as defensive back A.J. Jefferson will not be available after sustaining an injury against Winnipeg. Ottawa boasts one of the deepest and most talented wide receiver corps in the league. Last week against Winnipeg there were some near big plays. This week Toronto will need to come up with one while avoiding giving up a big play of their own if they expect to leave Ottawa with a “W”.
2. The Defence
Just to make sure the secondary doesn’t feel picked on the ENTIRE defensive unit needs to play better. Frankly other than Shawn Lemon the defensive line was non-existent last week against the Blue Bombers. The same can be said of the line-backers where injuries to Corey Greenwood and Marshall McFadden have really limited the units overall depth. The team will get a boost on that end as McFadden is set to return this week and start at middle linebacker. Outside of injuries the unit has been victimized by some very ill-timed penalties. With the complexity of play calling and schemes that is professional football the simple analysis is that the Double Blue just didn’t get enough 2 and outs. We’ve talked all season long of Rich Stublers defence scheme. His “bend but don’t break” philosophy will likely be in full effect Friday night as Ottawa loves to spread the field and throw the long ball. But no matter the philosophy Toronto’s defensive unit will need more contributors than it got last week.
3. 60 Minutes
Toronto has looked magnificent during so many stretches of a game this season. Up 29-19 on the Blue Bombers last week they looked like a well-oiled machine on the cusp of ending Winnipeg’s 6 game winning streak. Unfortunately the team has had too many moments of inconsistency. Whether it is execution or costly penalties not playing a complete 60-minute game has hurt the Double Blue. That can’t happen Friday in Ottawa. It’s imperative that Coach Milanovich’s post game speech includes the phrase,”Total Team Effort.”
For any Argonaut fans watching the game live in Ottawa make sure and bring a non-perishable food item to the game as part of the CFL and Purolator tackle hunger program.
Has everyone moved on from the Argos should have brought back Trevor Harris debate. Sure seems like it and thankfully so.
The Game Plan
|Kickoff:||7:00 PM ET||TD Place Stadium|
|TV:||TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 / RDS 2 / ESPN3|
Written by Anthony Ciardulli (@ComicAnthony)