It’s here the first ever play-off game at BMO for the Argos and as they approach having a sold-out stadium it’s taken teamwork to get to 9-9 and the Eastern Division crown. It’s also taken teamwork off the field to market some play-off excitement to the Toronto fan base and get tickets sold. Don’t try and tell me all those tickets have been scooped up by those folks who wear watermelons on their heads! It’s Double-Blue pride time showing up to push the Argos into the Grey Cup.
In honour of teamwork this week’s game preview is a team effort from all of the Argos Admirals.
Clay is our fearless captain, when the Argos needed a fan group of media bloggers and social media artists it was Clay who brought us together.
The Argos need to follow the mantra of the emerging rookie running back James Wilder Jr and “Run Wilder.” James Wilder Jr provides the Argonauts with an added dimension to the offense that they haven’t seen since the days of Robert Drummond, A Big Power Back with speed. Wilder is threat any time he touches the football. He leads the league runs over 20 yards with 7 (all since labour day) and yards per carry at 7.1. In terms of catching the ball, he is fourth in Yards after Catch with 467 that’s an astounding 87.6% of his total receiving yards of 533.
What all this does to the opposing defense is force the defensive line to watch the running back as well as the quarterback. While a half second read does not seem like much to most people, it can be the difference between Ricky Ray being able to complete his reads or getting sacked.
CHASE GLENN, CATCH BRIDGE
Last week on the Details with Derek Taylor segment on TSN, he highlighted the potential interceptions that have been dropped by the remaining QBs in the playoffs. As Taylor noted, Brandon Bridge dropped interception rate is nearly double digit percentage points higher than everyone else. This means there is a two-step process to beating the Riders QBs:
- Chase Kevin Glenn from the game. Apply more pressure than the 38 year old can handle and as per the formula, you will see Brandon Bridge
- Catch those potential interception balls. It’s not a matter of if but rather when Bridge is going to throw those balls. His ridiculous arm strength provides him with a false sense of security that he can complete passes that should be intercepted. And more often than not those potential interceptions are dropped.
Anthony’s breakdown always come with comedic analysis. He’s found a way to write and sneak in humour into player profiles, game previews , game reviews and just when the off-season falls into a sleepy break, Anthony puts out content to keep us thinking of the Boatmen and CFL.
RED ZONE FINISH
Toronto has been able to move the ball all season long. Whether through the air or on the ground the Argos have put up impressive offensive statistics. Ricky Ray was the 2nd leading passer in the league with over 5400 yards. James Wilder Jr. in only half the season rushed for 872 yards and likely would have been the league leading rusher had he been the starter on game 1.
But what has hurt the team all season long is their ability to finish off drives. Too often Argonaut drives would stall and the team would be forced to settle to with field goals instead of touchdowns. The Riders were 3rd in the league in terms of total points so they’re likely to get theirs.
Toronto can’t be leaving points on the field if they want to represent the East in the Grey Cup.
Reagan is our social media expert. Having trouble deciding on the perfect emoji for a QB sack or great play? Well Reagan doesn’t , she’s on the ball during the game with live tweets and still doesn’t miss a play.
THE 13TH MAN FOR THE ARGOS
The sports culture in Toronto rallies together. When our teams do well, the city pulls together to voice their support. Since the announcement of BMO Field hosting a CFL playoff game for the first time ever, Toronto has buzzed with excitement. Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory, took to Twitter to encourage Torontonians to attend the Eastern Final and show their support. Argos Playoff buzz has also caught the eye of the media. TSN anchors have shown support on social media to encourage ticket sales and Shawn Lemon has been spotted on morning news segments to promote this Sunday’s game. Despite some backlash about the average attendance of BMO Field during Argo’s home games, fans from all over the CFL have shown their support by buying tickets and encouraging others to do the same. The CFL is a great representation of Canadian sports, when a Canadian team does well, the country is loud and proud.
I’ve jumped on the game previews this year and have thoroughly enjoyed taking my personal prep work to get ready for an Argos game and share it with Argos Nation.
WILY IN GREEN VS. SMART IN BLUE
I’ve given stats and used an analytical approach all season long so to show you the other side of the ball, I’m going with my gut analysis.
This Eastern final takes the wily Roughrider coach Chris Jones versus the thinking man Marc Trestman who believes in process and calm waters.
Saskatchewan has brought in a high profile ex-NFLer late in the year to give them a high level of skill, Trent Richardson has been better than good but not great. It looks like weather will be quite friendly so the run game may not be as big as a game played on snowy cold day but Richardson also been very good at blocking and finding some pass receiving space to help the Green Pride’s QB. Notice how I didn’t mention the name of the QB in green? Well for the Argos they need to prepare for both Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge and that’s what makes Chris Jones so dangerous, he has two game plans and each one has some sneaky aggressive dimensions.
The Argos had a bye week to prepare for the Lions and thoroughly tamed them to win the East. Yes give the players credit but with two weeks to prepare it was Trestman and the coaches who built the perfect game plan. Now with two more weeks to prepare for Saskatchewan it’s another chance to build a game plan for Ricky Ray and his short pass game. James Wilder Jr. is in the spotlight after being patient for his chance and now the Argos are just as capable to move the ball in the air and on the ground. Another two week window for the Argos to prepare, that’s a good thing.
ONE BIG POINT
The Argos are healthy, not just feeling good but have almost every vital player back in their line-up. Marcus Ball was the last question mark for the Argos and with no disrespect for the players who are still on the IR the Boatmen are in great shape from a player personnel point which is rare.
By Peter T. Kourtis