The Argos were not expecting to be at 4-7 coming out of the Labour Day Classic in Hamilton but after a game filled with sloppy play and even sloppier weather the Argos find themselves looking over their shoulders just to make the play-offs as opposed to controlling that first place position. The REDBLACKS have lost their starting QB and both Montreal and Hamilton seemed to be out of it but a coaching change in Steeltown has produced two wins and close loss Friday night while Montreal revamped their coaching staff as well. The Argos are only a couple of wins up on the 3rd and 4th place teams in the East and really we know now that only two teams from the East are making the play-offs this season.
The Butler Did It
The good news is that Victor Butler is back along with Cleyon Laing which is fantastic but it’s also bitter sweet that the Labour Day Classic game cost them the services of Shawn Lemon. The defensive line has been one of the best in the CFL and once again a new starting front four is being asked to keep the Argos defense afloat against the Eskimos and their star QB Mike Reilly.
Take Some Time Off, Not Really
The Argos coaching staff had a bye week (extra-time) to prepare for the Eskimos and that has to show early in their offensive drives. Will we see well scripted drives to start the game? While the players were away, the coaches were at the drawing board. Also a new Offensive Line coach was brought in due to some health issues for Mitchell Browning. Jonathan Himebauch takes over for an offensive line that has been average in most games. Himebauch has worked with the Argos before and has a connection to Marc Trestman and the goal remains the same, keep Ricky Ray off the grass and 17% turf of BMO. Statistics for sacks allowed are obvious but this OL needs to give Ray more protection.
Favre Like in Green and Gold
Mike Reilly’s persona with the media and fans reminds me a lot of Brett Favre as he bring a sense of humour to the job and while some will say he’s pretty loose after a loss it doesn’t mean he’s not preparing for the next game with some anger and emotion. He’s also Favre-like in his ability to gamble with some of his long passes and take physical contact. I like his ability to take a play that gets blown up by the defense and still find a way to give his team a chance to gain some yards. A four game losing streak after starting the season with seven wins is a challenge for the Eskimos starting QB to help pull his team out of the L column.
Run Game Adjustments, Short Pass Game Changes
Brandon Whitaker and Anthony Coombs are out for this game so James Wilder Jr. gets the start. I’m very interested to see Wilder Jr. act as the last check down on pass plays. He’s built like a tight-end and isn’t going to be able to hide in some short pockets. He runs straight-up at defenders so let’s see the Argos involve him in attempt to control the clock. The Eskimos have a quick strike offence so ball control is much more important this game.
The Eskies have a great receiving threesome in Adarius Bowman, Derel Walker and Brandon Zylstra. They give the Eskimos offence some balance that the Argos have been searching for all season long. The battle in the back field will be won in those one-on-on battles against the Eskimos top three. A double-team on one receiver means some air time for the other two.
The Extra Point
Edmonton has been awful in terms of penalties, will they gift the Argos some free yardage? will Jason Maas really lose his cool or will he really, really lose his cool if the penalties persist?
The Game Plan
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By Peter T. Kourtis