TORONTO -- Whether it be on the sidelines, on offence, or on defence, a lot has changed for the 2012 Toronto Argonauts compared to one year ago.
|Boyd running with purpose|
Attempting to gauge just how much has changed, the fine people at argonauts.ca put on their archive hats and went searching for the differences between this year’s team and the 2011 version after four games played.
Here are the results:
After 4 weeks of the 2011 season, Cory Boyd had 114 total rushing yards. This season, he eclipsed that mark in one game (168 in Week 3 against Hamilton), and has come close in another (101 yards at home against Calgary).
Just to put this into perspective, Boyd and, then rookie running back, Chad Kackert, had 227 yards combined on the ground in 2011 through four games. Boyd currently leads the league with 373 yards rushing.
You can credit Boyd’s health as one factor contributing to this outburst; he remained healthy throughout all of training camp for the first time in his professional career, according to him. Another factor is that there now lies a legitimate passing threat standing directly in front of him at the line of scrimmage, and that’s where we go next.
Ricky Ray stands second in the CFL in passing yards (1,262) and first in completions (105) and completion percentage *(69.4%) after four weeks. In comparison to 2011, Argos QB Cleo Lemon had 728 yards passing and 63 completions. With those numbers, Lemon would currently sit in eighth place between Steven Jyles and Alex Brink.
|Younger Offering Options|
The veteran presence on the defence, Jordan Younger has registered a pair of interceptions while playing safety, linebacker and cornerback.
In the receiving corps, look no further than Andre Durie for improvements. Currently third in the CFL in receiving yards with 357, Durie was third on the Argos roster, at the same point last season, with 156 yards. He has also more than doubled his receptions number, currently with 28. His 2011 number was 12.
A lot of the credit also has to be given to the Double Blue's revamped offensive line, which has only allowed seven sacks, compared to 12 from a year ago.
While it is definitely worth noting how impressive the offence has been, it’s the glaring differences on defence that have also made a difference for the Boatmen.
After all of week four’s matchups were complete, the Argos' new look, and relatively inexperienced defence, ranks first in the CFL for fewest first downs allowed (63), fewest net offensive yards allowed (1,126 yards), fewest passing yards allowed per game (210) and most interceptions (6).
All of this has happened with a secondary that, with the exception of Jordan Younger, had a whopping total of zero CFL games played under their belts when Week 1 of the season rolled around.
|Owens at it Again|
Through four games this season Owens has already amassed an 1,010 yards, an average of 252 yards per game.
The unit has allowed 40 fewer rush yards per game (88 vs. 128), 72 fewer passing yards per game (210 vs. 282), and has forced a staggering eight more turnovers (13 vs. 5) than their 2011 counterparts.
Leading the way thus far is Younger, who is tied for second in the CFL with two interceptions and is a vital part of Chris Jones’ schemes as he has the versatility to be put anywhere on the field. In fact, in addition to playing safety, he's also played linebacker and cornerback.
A pleasant surprise has been the addition of LB Brandon Isaac, who has made his presence felt on two thunderous hits to Kevin Glenn and Alex Brink, respectively. After four games, Isaac has eight tackles, one sack that forced an interception, two pass knockdowns and one forced fumble. Isaac was an integral part of Jones’ defensive system in Calgary, and it looks as though he is finding comfort in Double Blue.
The “bread and butter” for this Argos franchise the past two seasons, Mike O’Shea's unit struggled out of the gate in 2012, giving up two touchdowns off of missed field goals in consecutive weeks, along with a punt return touchdown.
Last week, the team seemed to be back on track in their coverage, and it is assured that special teams will remain a focal point for this team for the remainder of the season.
As far as the return game goes, Chad Owens is well on his way to a third consecutive 3,000+ all-purpose yards season.
Owens, who finished 2011 with 3,226 combined yards, is nearly doubling the pace he set last year. Through four games in 2011, Owens had totalled 677 yards. Through four games this season he has already amassed an 1,010 yards, an average of 252 yards per game.
At his current pace, Owens would finish the season with 4,536 yards, shattering the previous pro football record of 3,840, set by Michael “Pinball” Clemons.
* - At least 75 attempts
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|