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The quarterback carousel is down to two potential playoff starters in the steady veteran Kerry Joseph and exciting younster Matt Nichols. Edmonton will make the decision at the end of the week. The running game was a bit of a carousel as well, and with Hugh Charles cleared to play, he could be the guy getting most of the carries against Toronto.
Toronto is a different team with Ricky Ray at the helm. There was a drop-off in offensive performance when Ray, the most accurate passer in the league this year, was out of the lineup due to injury. Chad Kackert filled in nicely after the team cut ties with then-league leading rusher Cory Boyd, and Chad Owens proved this year he isn't just a return man.
JC Sherritt's 130 takedowns set a new single season record for tackles, surpassing Calvin Tiggle's old mark of 129, set back in 1994. Even more impressive, Sherritt set that mark while missing a game to injury. The diminutive linebacker will garner serious consideration for Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
The aggressive unit lived up to the reputation of a Chris Jones-coached defence. The Argos defence isn't overflowing with big name stars, but rather a bevy of solid contributors highlighted by the likes of MLB Robert McCune, DBs Patrick Watkins and Jordan Younger, and of course, the Kissing Bandit Adriano Belli.
Kicker Grant Shaw, one of the gets from Toronto in the Ricky Ray trade, stepped up to handle both place kicking and punting duties when Burke Dales went down to injury. Shaw's numbers on the season were decent, connecting on 32 of 42 field goal attempts for a 76.2% success rate and averaging 46.1 yards per punt, second in the league only to Dales.
Owens was terrific as the Argos primary return man this season, once again leading the league in combined return yards. His increased role in the offence did not lead to a drop-off in special teams production, as he set the new single season record for combined yards with 3,863. Toronto's kicking game has been a bit inconsistent this year.
Whether it's Joseph or Nichols behind centre, they'll need lots of help from the team's playmakers - such as Fred Stamps - to have a big day.
Sherritt has to set the tone on defence. There was no better defender in the league this year, and if Edmonton is to win, the D will have to play well.
Whether it's Hugh Charles, Jerome Messam, or a combination of the two running the ball, a big day on the ground will take pressure off Joseph to force plays.
Ray played in just two of the team's last seven games. In them, he threw for eight TDs and just one interception. Ray must stay healthy in the playoffs.
Owens is a threat for a big play every time he touches the ball. Provided he keeps his fumbles in check, the Argos should go to Owens often.
Toronto's young defence has to play aggressive, but must guard against getting too excited. The unit should rely on vets Younger and Belli to set the tone.
The Big Man finished Week 19 at 1-3, bringing his regular season picks record to 39-33, three games better than the World.
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