The James Franklin Era has Arrived (early) for the Toronto Argonauts

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REGINA, SK - JUNE 15: James Franklin #2 of the Toronto Argonauts prepares to throw a pass in warmup before the game between the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Regina, Canada. (Photo by Brent Just/Getty Images)

Well, this certainly isn’t the way that Jim Popp, Marc Trestman, the entire Toronto Argonauts roster and Argo fanbase envisioned it happening but the James Franklin era has arrived in Toronto. With the terrifying injury to quarterback Ricky Ray on Saturday night, Franklin now steps into the starting role from here on out. It’s entirely possible that it could be for good as well; Ray is deemed to miss the entire 2018 season according to 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk.

A New Era for the Toronto Argonauts

The injury to Ray was definitely scary and not fun to have to witness for anyone. Tack that injury onto the fact the Argonauts ended up losing 41-7 to the Calgary Stampeders and you have the worst imaginable way to have your home opener at BMO Field. The bye week for the Argos may be coming at the best possible time given the injury to Ray and Franklin now stepping into the starting quarterback position.

Something is off with the 2018 Argonauts. Almost the entire roster is back on both offense and defense that won the 2017 Grey Cup. Perhaps the personnel losses of Marcus Brady and Corey Chamblin have had an effect to the offense and defense. Mike Archer and Tommy Condell are both inexperienced coordinators. Condell, the offensive coordinator, needs to find that spark to ignite the Argo offense and Franklin may just be that spark.

James Franklin’s CFL Statistics

In extremely limited CFL experience, Franklin has looked like the next superstar quarterback in the making. He didn’t get to play a whole lot behind Mike Reilly in Edmonton, but his stats with the Eskimos are quite encouraging:

  • 2015 – Seven games played (GP), 84/133, 973 yards, six touchdowns, one interception
  • 2016 – Two GP, 19/24, 334 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions
  • 2017 – Three GP, 13/19, 142 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions
  • 2018 (Argonauts) – Two GP, 9/14, 67 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions
  • Totals – 14 GP, 125/190 (65.7%), 1,516 yards, 13 touchdowns, one interception

Those are some pretty impressive numbers in limited action throughout his CFL career. Add in the fact that Franklin is quite mobile and he can be quite the headache for defenses to deal with. What’s very impressive about Franklin’s numbers is the 65.7% completion percentage with 13 touchdowns to one interception. He protects the ball and has a strong arm.

James Franklin truly has all the tools to develop into a good CFL quarterback right off the hop. With some more seasoning, it is possible Franklin develops into the next star pivot of the CFL. There are also some thoughts that if Franklin performs well over the next two years, that NFL could come calling.

The Last Word

The Toronto Argonauts are 0-2 heading into the bye week. Perhaps the early bye week with extra time to get James Franklin reps over the next week and a bit can be the remedy for the Argos before two straight back-to-backs with the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers looming. The Argos best hope is Franklin is the spark they need to turn things around in 2018 before it gets too late.

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