Toronto – It looks like Toronto is just playing out the string. Would they rather just had played last week rather than having a bye week? Probably. But this week is just like every week in professional football. The win won’t matter in the standings but for every player who takes the field their performance will. Do you want to make a good impression and get a contract next year? Then keep playing hard until the final whistle blows. With a record of 5 and 12 you know there are going to be changes next year. But for every player on the sidelines this Saturday all you can do is perform to your best ability and hope you’re in the plans for next season.
In terms of added value fans will be once again able to listen in on the starting quarterbacks and Head Coaches for both teams. This is the 3rd live mic game of the season and honestly I think it’s an awesome feature. While I understand arguments against the idea getting as much access from a fans perspective is selfishly all I care about. Maybe next year defensive players will be wired so quarterbacks won’t be so scared of tipping their plays. Either way anything that engages a fan base is a good thing, especially for a league looking to attract a younger audience.
Beyond the live mic broadcast here are my 3 other points why I will be watching and why you should too.
1. Kenny Shaw
The receiving core for Toronto has been the subject of much controversy this year. The release of Gurley, Hazelton and Elliott was a surprise to everyone and having 4 different quarterbacks start a game this year really made it difficult for anyone to have any real sense of comfort and rhythm. On that note Kenny Shaw who spent all of last season on the Argo practise roster has put together a solid season and looks to be a focal point of the team’s offense next season. He sits second on the team with 75 receptions and is only 40 yards from hitting the 1000 yard mark. That surely is a solid milestone for this rookie receiver out of Florida State.
2. Brandon Whitaker
Amidst all the uncertainty that surrounded the Argo offense this season the one dependable rock was Brandon Whitaker. The 9 year veteran out of Baylor was not only Toronto’s most consistent performer but leads the team in receptions with 77 and is third in the league with 892 rushing yards. At 31 Whitaker shows no signs of slowing down and should be a part of the teams’ turnaround next season.
3. Shawn Lemon
Acquired from Saskatchewan after the first 2 games of the season Lemon has gone on to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Labelled a bit of a “problem” the 28 year old international not only leads the Double Blue with 14 quarterback sacks but is 2 from the league lead held by Charleston Hughes of the Calgary Stampeders. Lemon is a veteran of the CFL and has had multiple stops playing on 5 different teams. Nothing is a guarantee but if you’re an Argo fan you really have to hope that Lemon drops cover the field at BMO next year.
One other notable performer this season has to be kicker Lirim Hajrullahu. The National kicker has had a great bounce back season converting 36 of 41 field goal attempts which place him 2nd in the league at 87.8%.
2 Point Convert
This is not an irrelevant point at all as everyone associated with Argo Admirals would like to congratulate Michael “Pinball” Clemons who was officially inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
The first CFL game I every watched was the 1982 Grey Cup between Toronto and Edmonton at Exhibition Stadium. I was 9 years old and have been a fan of the league ever since. So yes of course with Toronto returning to the Exhibition grounds this season I predicted an Argo Grey Cup victory over Edmonton. Oh well I’ll just have to wait until next season when the Double Blue hoist the Cup in Ottawa.
The Game Plan
|Kickoff:||4:00 PM ET||Commonwealth Stadium|
|TV:||TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 / ESPN3|
By: Anthony Ciardulli @comicanthony