July 11, 2019

Nye: 5 quick fixes for the Toronto Argonauts

Shannon Vizniowski/CFL.ca

When you look up and down the stat pages for the Canadian Football League, there isn’t a lot that flatters the Toronto Argonauts.

Discipline is good. I should clarify. The Argonauts don’t take a lot of penalties.

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Their gap discipline, containment, route running etc., etc., may not be as disciplined and why they’re sitting at 0-3.

What do they need to do to turn things around? Well, let’s see.

1. RUN WILDER

Using James Wilder Jr. in the offence more could be a key for the Argos (Shannon Vizniowski/CFL.ca)

When the Argonauts won the Grey Cup in 2017, they had the second-highest passing offence. They also had Ricky Ray at quarterback. They don’t have Ray anymore and they’re already battling an injury to their number one guy, James Franklin.

Help out McLeod Bethel-Thompson by getting a strong run game going. They had nine handoffs to Wilder and Chris Rainey in a one point game vs. BC last week.

That is no way to keep a defence honest when you’re not threatening them with a run game. If you can control the line of scrimmage, you can take over a game.

Ask any offensive linemen. They feel much better being asked to run the ball than pass block. With the exceptional pass rushers in the CFL, not having a very good run game will just make it easier for them to pin their ears back and get to the quarterback.

2. WALK(ER) THE LINE

Derel Walker needs to introduce himself to offensive coordinator Jacques Chapedelaine it would seem. He is fifth on the team in targets.

Now, this can be in tune with the above note about running the ball. You can give the quarterback a little more time with a strong run game and then working in play action. All that extra time will allow the QB to look for the deep pattern, which Walker has been known for if you can get him into one-on-one situations.

That’s Chapdelaine’s job to ensure the game plan highlights the strengths of abilities of those in the huddle.

With Walker not seeing the ball, you start to wonder what is going on with the offensive philosophy in Toronto. S.J. Green is another one, though he’s been targeted a bunch, they just can’t connect.

3. GET AFTER IT

Lemon gets his first sack of the season on Lions QB Mike Reilly (Geoff Robins/CFL.ca)

When Corey Chamblin was last in Toronto, they won the Grey Cup with one of the most tenacious defensive lines in the game. They were constantly pressuring and sacking quarterbacks. Yes, the personnel is different but the Argos have only got home twice in their first two games. They were averaging nearly three sacks a game just two years ago.

Because they can’t get to the quarterback, the efficiency of opposing QBs is at a high rate and that’s never going to win many games.

Chamblin either has to draw some things up or Jim Popp has to find an improved pass rusher for this defence to have success.

4. KICKERS MATTER

All three phases are failing the Argonauts right now.

Only 60% in field goals has already seen the Argos make a change. In comes Tyler Crapigna, who was last seen kicking for a great percentage with the Saskatchewan Roughriders before Brett Lauther stole his job, while Crapigna was recovering from surgery.

Field goals isn’t the only problem.

The punt game and kickoffs aren’t too hot either. The distance of punts is second lowest as are the kickoffs. This has allowed opponents to start at the Argonauts 40-yard line. Yes, it’s also a matter of the amount of times the offence hasn’t been able to have sustained drives but the Argos special teams also have to be under the microscope as the team tries to figure out improving things.

5. DON’T PANIC

This goes for everyone in the organization. 0-3 is not favourable and the odds of making the playoffs haven’t been good when teams start off winless in their first month. But the worst thing the team can do is panic.

You start trying to do too much to make a play on either offence, defence or special teams and you’ll be missing assignments and that snowballs in the negative.

The Argos were blown out in their first two games of the season, so a loss by one should at least show the team a step in the right direction.

A road trip to Winnipeg may not help things to face the undefeated Bombers but it also gives Toronto a chance to make one heck of a statement.