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CFL

Toronto Argonauts

Division: EastGM: Jim BarkerHead Coach: Scott Milanovich
2012: 9-9 (Grey Cup Champions)vs. division 6-4
Points24.7 (6th)
Yards358.3 (5th)
Pass Yards285.3 (3rd)
Rush Yards89.6 (8th)

With fate no longer on their side, can Argos repeat 2012 run?

Key to Success

As long as Ray stays healthy, the Argos will have a shot at repeating

The Toronto Argonauts’ 2012 season was pretty magical. The team came from nowhere, having finished last in the East the season prior, to push into the playoffs on way winning the history 100th Grey Cup in their own backyard. It’s a great story – the Argos the toast of the town in a city starved for a winner – but one head coach Scott Milanovich doesn’t want to hear, at least not anymore.

Milanovich made it clear that as great as 2012 was, the past is just that and the focus now is on 2013.

“I’m very anxious to turn the page,” Milanovich told reporters ahead of training camp.

But while the coach knows complacency is the enemy for his current squad, he’s also aware it would benefit his players to carry over some of the lessons learned on their path to Grey Cup victory.

“This is a team that knows it can compete at the highest level. I think there were times last year when we believed we could but now they know it.

“We don’t want to wash that out because some of the best things that came from it was how tight our locker room was, the way we embraced practice and coaching and how we did our day-to-day business. Those things you want to keep. What you want them to forget is the last thing they remember from last year because it doesn’t matter.

“That has no effect, really, on what’s going to happen this year.”

So, at coach Milanovich’s urging, let’s forget last year and focus on the Argos’ upcoming season.

Ray remains the Argos ticket to success

Recently re-upped for the 2014 season, Ricky Ray is once again the team’s ticket to success. The 33-year-old is perhaps the surest thing amongst quarterbacks in the East Division. Age concerns are starting to creep up on Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris, eight and five years Ray’s senior, while health concerns are always attached to Buck Pierce. Save for maybe Travis Lulay in BC, there isn’t a more consistent and reliable quarterback in the league.

If Ray can stay healthy, the Argos will at the very least field a competitive offence, if some of their other skill position players prove last year wasn’t just a magical, one-year run, the offence will really fly.

Possibly the most “skilled” position player in the league – and the longer Hamilton’s Chris Williams stays away the more definite that statement becomes – Chad Owens last year added star receiver to his already impressive resume. The reigning Most Outstanding Player can beat a team in more ways than one, and is every bit as important to the Argos as Ray.

It’s unfair to say Toronto’s Grey Cup win was Chad Kackert’s coming-out party, because that would suggest the 26-year-old hadn’t already. Kackert was an asset for the Double Blue since taking over from Cory Boyd mid-season, but his 133-rushing yard, 62-receiving yard performance in the Grey Cup was definitely his best game.

When reports of Kackert signing with the NFL’s New York Jets turned out to be premature and the New Hampshire product signed a new deal with Toronto it was a boon to the team’s chances of a repeat.

The offensive line will not have the same question marks it had at this time last season. The unit returns all five starters from their Grey Cup victory as well as key rotation players from last year. Veterans Jeff Keeping and Chris Van Zeyl will once again lead the group and while there are some reports of shuffling going on within the unit ahead of the team’s opener in late June, Milanovich and fourth-year offensive line coach Stephen McAdoo can sleep easy knowing they have a stable of players that can get the job done when called upon.

Matt Sewell

Analysis: The Argonauts caught some good fortune in the draft. Their first-round pick, offensive lineman Matt Sewell, fell to them at eighth overall after fears he would find a home in the NFL. The McMaster grad, who could eventually line up at the typically import tackle position, signed with Toronto after a brief off-season cup of tea with the NFL's Tennessee Titans, giving the Double Blue one of the draft's top prospects at a bargain.

Three of the team's other four draft picks attended camp. Second-round defensive back Jermaine Gabriel, sixth-round offensive lineman Michael Di Domenico, and seventh-round linebacker Paul Spencer will battle for roster spots while the team will wait on third-round receiver Natey Adjai.

Rd. Pick Player Pos School
1 8th overall Matt Sewell OL McMaster
2 17th overall Jermaine Gabriel DB Bishop's
3 22nd overall Natey Adjei WR Buffalo
6 52nd overall Michael Di Domenico OL Tarleton State
7 60th overall Paul Spencer LB Concordia

Defence to have a different look this season

Toronto’s offence returns a relatively similar unit for 2013; their defence wasn’t so lucky.

Gone is the entire starting defensive line and three of the five starters in the secondary from the team’s Grey Cup win.

Silver Lining

In an off-season of change for the Argos' D, the linebacking corps of Marcus Ball, Robert McCune, and Brandon Isaac returns intact.

Ricky Foley left as a free agent to Saskatchewan, looking to win two Grey Cups as the host team in a row; Armond Armstead was granted an early release to chase his NFL dreams with the New England Patriots; Adrianno Belli re-retired; and Ronald Flemons was let go by the team in the off-season. The Argos also lost Ejiro Kuale, releasing him as well to pursue NFL opportunities before he ended up in Montreal.

In the secondary, Evan McCollough departed down the QEW as a free agent and Ahmad Carroll and Jordan Younger decided to hang them up – Younger just before the open of training camp.

The silver lining for what is sure to look like an extremely different defence in 2013 is last year’s impressive starting linebacking corps returns intact.

Robert McCune, Brandon Isaac, and Marcus Ball combined for over 200 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions. They’ll be counted on for consistency while the new look d-line and secondary work out the kinks early in the year.

And while those new units may need some time to develop chemistry, the talent is there for potential success.

01
The Grey Cup champs return a more experienced squad.

The team’s biggest move in the off-season was the “will he; won’t he; wait, what does that mean, is he coming?” addition of All-Star DT Khalif Mitchell.

You never know what you’re going to get with Mitchell. Yes, he brings a ton of talent to the field, but it’s the unknown – both on and off the field – that could prove his addition a mistake.

The perfect ending to the 2012 season was always for the Argos to win the 100th Grey Cup in front of their hometown fans and the Argos made that happen. This year the perfect scenario isn’t necessarily a Double Blue repeat, but Toronto now has enough accumulated talent and experience to at least be in the running to rewrite the script.

DEPTH CHARTS

OFFENCE

DEFENCE

LT

Rogers
Washington

LG

Eppele
Smith

C

Keeping
Paliwoda
Parenteau

RG

Di Domenico
Reinders
Jones

RT

King
Van Zeyl

WR1

Chiles
Inman
Williams

SB1

Barnes
Iglesias

SB2

Adams
Bryant
Owens

WR2

Bradwell
Feoli-Gudino
Watt

QB

Collaros
Gale
Harris
Portis

RB

Kackert
Riggs
Steele

SB/RB

Durie
Guy

Special Teams: P/K (Waters), LS (Rempel), RS (Guy, Iglesias)

Depth Chart is for pre-season game against Montreal (6/20)

Expert Analysis
Chris Schultz: No comparison between now and a year ago for Argos

There is no comparison between the Argos now and the team they were at this time last year. The offence, defence, and special teams playbook is the same so it is now so much more about mastering plays and technique than learning plays and technique.

Matt Dunigan: Argos in great shape at QB with Ray behind centre

Hey Toronto Fans, how's life with Ricky Ray at the helm? Not long ago it was Steven Jyles, Dalton Bell, Ken Dorsey, and Cleo Lemon. My oh my, how things change in a hurry! Chalk up the 16th Grey Cup Championship for the franchise and some SWEET new hardware and I'd say life is pretty good!

WK AGAINST DATE WK AGAINST DATE
1 vs June 28, pm et/4pm pt 11 @ Sep 8, 1pm et/10am pt
2 @ July 4, 10pm et/7pm pt 12 @ Sep 14, 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt
3 vs July 11, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt 13 @ Sep 21, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt
4 @ July 19, 8pm et/5pm pt 14 @ Sep 28, 9pm et/6pm pt
5 vs July 30, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt 15 vs Oct 4, 7pm et/4pm pt
6 BYE WEEK 16 @ Oct 14, 4:30pm et/1:30am pt
7 @ Aug 8, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt 17 @ Oct 19, 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt
8 vs Aug 18, 7pm et/4pm pt 18 vs Oct 24, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt
9 vs Aug 23, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt 19 vs Nov 1, 7pm et/4pm pt
10 vs Sep 3, 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt      

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