The Toronto Argonauts and Tommy Condell Need to Establish James Wilder Jr.

REGINA, SK - JUNE 15: James Wilder Jr. #32 of the Toronto Argonauts makes a catch in 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)

It’s still early in the 2018 CFL season as this week is only week four. However, the Toronto Argonauts find themselves sitting at 0-2 and with four tough matchups in a row with back-to-backs against the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. The Argonauts are also looking at a Hamilton Tiger-Cats team that’s looked really impressive early on and an Ottawa REDBLACKS team that looks better than 2017.

Toronto Argonauts’ Horrific Start

Everything that could have gone wrong for the Argos to start 2018 has gone wrong. The offense hasn’t had any spark except for the first quarter of game one. The defense has looked dreadful and even more concerning is the poor play of T.J. Heath and Ronnie Yell in the secondary. On top of the ineptness on both sides of the ball, Ricky Ray is all but done for the year. The reigns are now in the hands of James Franklin. It’s his time to shine but he needs to lean on his stud running back James Wilder Jr. who’s been non-existent thus far.

The second-year running back who had an incredible rookie season for the Argonauts has some rather uninspiring numbers early through 2018. To be fair, the Argos have been down early in their two games thus far so they’ve needed to rely on the passing game early and often. However, new offensive coordinator Tommy Condell hasn’t even really seemed to try and establish Wilder Jr. early in ball games when the score is still close.

Wilder Jr. has only carried the ball 15 times for 76 yards and no touchdowns. He has added eight receptions for 98 yards and no touchdowns. In two games, he has 174 total yards from scrimmage. For the guy who was a large reason for the Argonauts taking control of the East in 2017 and winning the Grey Cup, those are rather pedestrian numbers.

The Last Word

Now, all the blame doesn’t lie with Wilder Jr. New offensive coordinator Tommy Condell has to get Wilder Jr. established early and often to alleviate some of the potential nerves for James Franklin in his first start as a Toronto Argonaut. The Argonauts are very lucky they’re in the East as there shouldn’t be a reason for panic despite the 0-2 start to the season. That being said, with a very strong Western division, we’ll likely see the fourth-place team in the West cross-over. This is the game the Argonauts need to win to turn their season around. James Wilder Jr. needs to get the football and needs to be the reason for an offensive turnaround to compliment James Franklin.

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