TORONTO — Following a historic 2012 season, the Argos entered the 2013 campaign with sky-high expectations.
But things didn’t go exactly as planned for the Double Blue. Though they managed to improve their win totals by two compared to the previous season and finish atop the East Division, the Boatmen came up short in the East Final, dropping a 36-24 decision to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Following the loss, changes at all levels got underway for the Argos.
The off-season kicked off with the Argos saying good bye to two key stalwarts on their coaching staff. First, defensive coordinator Chris Jones was hired by the Eskimos as their head coach, while Special Teams Coordinator Mike O’Shea was hired by the Blue Bombers to become their new sideline boss.
But Milanovich didn’t take long to fill Jones’ vacant spot, as he hired former Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke to man the defence.
The changes kept coming for Toronto, as they were forced to say good bye to Johnathan Williams, Joe Eppele, and Jason Pottinger in the Ottawa REDBLACKS Expansion Draft, leaving General Manager Jim Barker with a few holes to fill throughout the rest of the off-season.
To go along with the three losses in the Expansion Draft the Argos would see two more players walk away in December.
After two years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and 11 years with the Argonauts, running back Jeff Johnsonannounced his retirement, leaving the Argos without his veteran presence in the locker room.
The Argos were also forced to bid adieu to star receiver Dontrelle Inman, who was granted his release to pursue a spot in the NFL.
The losses continued for the Argos in the new year.
With free agency looming, the Boatmen granted backup QB Zach Collaros an early release, allowing him to get a head start in the open market.
It wouldn’t take long for Collaros to find a landing spot, as he quickly signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
But it wasn’t all losses for the Argos in January, as they signed Canadian slotback Andre Durie to an extension, keeping him in Double Blue until 2016.
Other January Transactions
Sign Matt Ware, DB
Sign Ezra Butler, DE
Released Neiko Thorpe, DB
As free agency approached the Argos had a clear plan to be one of the most active teams in the market as they looked to fill key spots left vacated from the early parts of the off-season.
Toronto kicked off free agency by re-signing receiver Mike Bradwell and then bringing in Canadian lineman Scott Mitchell. The Argos would continue to make noise with one of the biggest signings of free agency when they signed linebacker Shea Emry.
Toronto continued their busy month when they would move on to a new era in their kicking game. The Argos re-signed kicker Swayze Waters and released longtime kicker/punter Noel Prefontaine.
The Argos would also get some reinforcements on the offensive line when they re-signed Wayne Smith and signed 2012 first round draft pick Matt Sewell.
But as much as their kept padding their lineup with new additions, the significant losses kept piling up, as Marcus Ball was granted his release to pursue an opportunity in the NFL.
The roster was not the only part of the Argos that would see changes this month as the front office and coaching staff would also be tweaked.
After filling Jones’ spot with the addition of Burke, the Boatmen added special teams coordinator Jim Daley to their staff to take on the role of Special Teams Coordinator, a role previously held by O’Shea. The Argos football operations staff would also see some changes as they moved towards mini-camps.
Other February Transactions
Sign Paipai Falemalu, DE
After a rapid pace in February the Argos would slow things down in March as they continued to tinker with their roster
One of the biggest moves in March would be the release of Khalif Mitchell.
Mitchell would return to his original home in BC only a few months after his release from the Argos. Along with the release of Mitchell, Toronto would bring back Zander Robinson signing the fullback to a two-year deal.
Other March Transactions
Sign Robert Gill, WR
Sign Gregory Jones, LB
Sign Mikail Baker, DB
Sign Markelle Martin, DB
Sign Otha Foster, DB
Sign Tray Sessions, WR
The calm would continue for Toronto in April as the Argos looked towards Mini-Camp to see what type of talent they had or could find on Florida.
They would start the month with a trio of signings as they signed 2013 Draft pick Natey Adjei along with long snapper Jake Reinhart and defensive back Kent Richardson.
The biggest signing of the month, and possibly the off-season, would be the addition of former Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton.
The Argos would continue to make moves into May including Draft day where they went after the guy they wanted.
The month would start with another coaching addition as former Montreal Alouettes offensive lineman Bryan Chiu would join the Argonauts as the offensive line coach.
Then the draft would come with the Argonauts looking at one player that they wanted above everyone else. Though it would come at a price, the Argonauts managed to select Manitoba Bisons running back Anthony Coombs.
|3. Anthony Coombs||RB||Manitoba|
|21. Jaskaran Dhillon||DL||UBC|
|33. Thomas Miles||LB||Manitoba|
|36. Alexandre Dupuis||FB||Montreal|
|38. Eric Black||DB||Saint Mary’s|
|42. Evan Pszczonak||WR||Windsor|
|51. Kirby Fletcher||DL||Acadia|
Other May Transactions
Sign Jeremy Lewis, OL
Aaron Maybin, DE retires
Release Demetrice Morley, DB
Kyle Koch, OL retires
Sign Thomas Griffiths, OL
Sign Casey Pachall, QB
Sign Andre Martin, DB
Sign Nicholas Williams, LB
Sign Greg Romeus, DL
Ezra Butler, DL retires
Sign Padric Scott, DL
Release Ricardo Colclough, DB