(4-14 in 2008 - 3rd in East Division)
Key Addition: OL Rob Murphy - The two-time Most Oustanding Lineman will raise the bar for the entire offensive line. This free agent signing should also help QB Kerry Joseph rebound from a disastrous year in 2008.
Other Signings and Acquisitions: Head Coach Bart Andrus, WR Frank Murphy, RB Jarrett Payton, LB Zeke Moreno, LB Jason Pottinger, CB Jordan Younger
Key Deletion: DB Byron Parker - The slick cover-man signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and leaves a big hole in the secondary. Honourable mention to WR P.K. Sam and KR Dominique Dorsey.
Other Releases and Deletions: Head Coach Don Matthews, OL Jerome Davis, RB Dominique Dorsey, OL Chad Folk, WR P.K. Sam, OL Jude St. John, WR Keith Stokes, LB Michael Fletcher, DB Ryan Glasper, S Chris Hardy, DE Riall Johnson, LB Mike O'Shea, DB Kenny Wheaton, LB Chuck Winters, K Mike Vanderjagt
Matt Dunigan's Quarterback Analysis: The Argos are starting fresh this season with an entire new coaching staff with the exception of Steve Buratto. Their QB however is a proven stud for many years, who's looking to bounce back from a sub par/tumultous season in 08'. Kerry Joseph needs help and a coordinator who is going to play to his strengths. Enter the Argos new bench boss, Bart Andrus. Bart has brought some much needed structure to the Argos and plans on catering to Kerry's mobility while providing him with a younger and more agressive O-line to work behind. Can I get an Amen? Now here is where I'm frightened a bit. What happens if KJ goes down? Is Cody Pickett your answer? Or is it the inexperienced Stephen Reaves? It can't be Reggie McNeal or Kinsmon Lancaster because both have been moved to receiver. I'm scratching my head now. I really want Kerry to stay healthy and have a successful comeback year. I believe Picard and Murphy, the new O-lineman studs, will help him stay that way, too. If they don't, I'm hoping Pickett shows more than he did last year (in fairness, it was 'Chuck and Duck' for anyone lining up behind centre for the Argos last season) and I hope Reaves grows up in a hurry.
Jock Climie's Offensive Analysis: The Argos have a locker room full of question marks heading into the 2009 season and chief among them is whether rookie head coach Bart Andrus can get Kerry Joseph back to the form he showed in 2007 when he carried the hopes and dreams of Rider Nation all the way to the Grey Cup. Joseph struggled mightily last year and, unless he gets some more help from the receiver position, he will struggle again. Arland Bruce and Andre Talbot are the only two seasoned veterans at receiver. While James Robinson and Reggie McNeal showed flashes last year, they have not yet developed to the point where they can relieve the pressure on Bruce who is the team's only true 'go-to guy'. Equally mystifying is how the running back situation will evolve. The Double Blue have three legitimate contenders for the starting position at tailback. Jamal Robertson had a solid, yet unspectacular, 645 yards rushing last year. Tyler Ebell was a promising rookie two years ago in Edmonton but was hurt all of 2008. Jarett Payton was a standout with the Alouettes in 2007 but also did not play last year. One of these three must emerge as a dominant back in order to take the pressure off Joseph and the passing attack, which will likely struggle as Coach Andrus gets acclimatized to the CFL game.
Glen Suitor's Defensive Analysis: In football, there are generally two reasons to make drastic changes. One, you are losing and your system isn't working, or two, your personnel is getting a little long in the tooth. For the Argos, it was the latter. For the last four or five years, the Argos have been arguably the most consistent defence in the CFL. However due to all the changes, the 2009 version will likely be a wait-and-see proposition. The fact that Zeke Moreno can step in for Mike O'Shea lessens the blow to the Argo defence with regards to leadership. Jordan Younger returns to his old stomping grounds and can help what will likely be a young secondary. And the most underrated defensive lineman in the league, Jonathan Brown is back and should have another great season. However, there will be a new coordinator in Peter Kuharchek, who has limited experience in the CFL, and he brings a new system to Toronto. Again change isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does create questions and it will likely take at least training camp to answer them for the Argos.
Duane Forde's Canadian Content: The 2009 Argonauts non-import roster is best summarized by the words 'out with the old, in with the new'. Gone are linebacker Mike O'Shea, centre Chad Folk and guard Jude St. John, replaced by young veteran acquisitions Jay Pottinger, Dominic Picard, and Jeff Keeping. O'Shea's departure, combined with the trade of defensive end Riall Johnson, and a hip injury that threatens at least the early portion of nose tackle Adriano Belli's season, places added pressure on linebacker Kevin Eiben to bounce back from a subpar season. Offensively, Toronto will rely on Picard, receiver Andre Talbot and guard Taylor Robertson to lead the way while youngsters like tackle Brian Ramsay, receivers Obed Cetoute and Tyler Scott, and tight end/fullback Steve Schmidt to grow into their roles.
Chris Schultz's Overview: You can't help but wonder if the success of Marc Trestman influenced the hire of Bart Andrus as the new head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. Even though he has yet to run a CFL practice, Andrus, like Trestman, has the reputation as a coach that pushes his players to practice to perfection. The Argos have done an excellent job in personnel upgrade. Age was an issue last year but it's not an issue this year. More...
What Makes Them Good? Free agent Rob Murphy makes those around him better and there is a lot of room for improvement, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
What Makes Them Vulnerable? With apologies to Marc Trestman in Montreal, bringing in a rookie head coach with no CFL experience is a bold move.
Coach Andrus Says... "We're going to play this game faster, which means we're going to have to practise faster. They're going to practise the way a pro football team should practise. It's just going to be that way." - Toronto Star
2008 Team Leaders
||Arland Bruce, 9
||Arland Bruce, 1,210
||Jamal Robertson, 645
||Willie Pile, 75
||Jonathan Brown, 7
||Kenny Wheaton, 4
Byron Parker, 4
2009 Draft Picks
||St. Francis Xavier