The Toronto Argonauts are fresh off of another loss and their second straight defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers look dangerous but perhaps it’s the fact the Argonauts appear to be a hot mess with numerous amounts of issues.
Shuffle at Quarterback
On Sunday, the Argos dropped two bits of big news on their fans and the Canadian Football League. Prized acquisition James Franklin will be benched in favour of McLeod Bethel-Thompson for their lone Thursday Night Football game of the season at home to the Ottawa REDBLACKS. The Argonauts also traded away prized free agent signing T.J. Heath to the Montreal Alouettes for a good Canadian offensive lineman in Ryan Bomben. These two moves signify that Marc Trestman and Jim Popp believe the season can be salvaged.
The Argonauts needed a spark on offence when Ricky Ray went down and many thought James Franklin could be that. After all, by many Franklin is considered to be the next great CFL quarterback. While it isn’t all Franklin’s fault, his last three games at Edmonton, vs. Winnipeg, and at Winnipeg have been less than stellar. His worse was this past Friday tossing three interceptions with no touchdowns. His 64.5% completion rate looks alright, but the lack of protection for Franklin and before he was injured, Ricky Ray, haunts Argos quarterbacks.
Reinforcements Up Front
That is where the acquisition of Ryan Bomben comes into play. Bomben is a very versatile offensive lineman who likely will slide into the left side of the line despite normally playing on the right. Perhaps a bit more protection for Argonaut QB’s could help get the offence moving a bit more. That’s where McLeod Bethel-Thompson comes in.
The decision to start James Franklin back in early July was essentially a coin flip for Marc Trestman. He was very impressed with what McLeod Bethel-Thompson was able to do throughout camp and in the pre-season. It’s not surprising to see that Trestman really likes Bethel-Thompson as he’s much more of a quarterback that fits Trestman’s offence, a steady pocket passer who stands upright in the pocket.
After all, look at who Trestman has had the most success with at QB in his CFL coaching career. Anthony Calvillo and Ricky Ray, though both Hall of Fame QB’s (Ray will be in the Hall), both were pocket passers who could get the ball out quickly and execute a fast offence. It seems as if that’s exactly what Bethel-Thompson can do and he did show the ability to conduct a Calvillo or Ray type offence through the spring and into the pre-season.
At 1-5, they might as well give it a shot. If Trestman believes in Bethel-Thompson, the Argonauts fanbase should too. While James Franklin may still be the QB of the future, after struggling a few games in a row, it’s good to let Franklin take a few steps back and learn some more. Bethel-Thompson could be the spark the Argonauts need. The Argos might as well find out now if he can turn into something.
The Argonauts do have a very favourable and easier schedule from here on out. They’re done with the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. They have one game remaining with both of Saskatchewan and Calgary. Two games remain with the B.C. Lions who as of now, look like they will miss the post-season. The rest are all Eastern games and the Argonauts find themselves just two points back of a playoff spot with a lot of season left and matchups with Hamilton and Montreal.
These moves by the Toronto Argonauts coaching staff and front office signal they’re not ready to concede the season just yet and they shouldn’t. Remember the 2011 B.C. Lions? Perhaps the Toronto Argonauts could pull something similar and get hot at the right time with an easier schedule and new QB from here on out.
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