TORONTO — After a lengthy three-game road trip, the Toronto Argonauts are coming home.
However, their three-week stop on home soil won’t be one where they can unwind, and process the results of the last 21 days.
Rather, the Argos are facing arguably the toughest and most important stretch of their season, with upcoming crucial matchups against the Roughriders, Alouettes and Blue Bombers.
A win on Monday over the surging Riders would set up a battle for first place in the East Division the following Sunday with the Alouettes – a team the Argos have enjoyed some success against this season.
But, almost predictably, Argos Head Coach Scott Milanovich isn’t interested in looking too far ahead in the schedule.
“They’re all important at this time of the year,” said Milanovich with a laugh on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been saying the same thing for five weeks, it seems like every single one is important, and obviously, we’re finally happy to be back at home, but we’ve got a tough stretch here,” he added.
Heading into their Thanksgiving Monday battle with Saskatchewan, the Argos continue to face some injury concerns, most notably regarding the status of their starting quarterback Ricky Ray.
Milanovich provided a brief update on his quarterback’s health on Wednesday.
“Ricky threw lightly today, he’s hopeful to go through drills tomorrow, but we’re waiting to see how he feels and see where that goes,” he said.
“I’m not reading any more into it than that, we’ll see if he can go through drills tomorrow and see how that goes and then we’ll adjust it from there,” he added.
Should Ray continue to be sidelined with his injured knee, the Argos can take solace in the fact that they have a more than capable backup available in Jarious Jackson.
Jackson stepped in for Ray under centre last week, completing 17 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown, while running one in himself.
The 35-year-old will be looked upon with confidence to provide the same, if not better, type of performance he put together last Saturday night.
“I thought Jarious played extremely well, I mean he had a play or two that he’d like to take back, but he managed the game and the team extremely well,” commented Milanovich.
“Ultimately he did what we hoped he’d do when Jim [Barker] brought him in here.”
As for the team either Jackson and Ray will be up against, the Roughriders are fresh off an inspiring victory over the league-leading BC Lions, and seemingly have no intention on slowing down.
Milanovich recognizes that his team is facing a tall order, and says his team will be tested against the high-flying Riders.
“These next two weeks are going to be very difficult, very competitive and physical football games,” he said.
“We’ve got a tough stretch here…Saskatchewan is a very very good football team.”