What a difference a year makes for the Toronto Argonauts' QB scenario.
Last season, head coach Jim Barker went with the unknowns in Cleo Lemon (Ark. State), Dalton Bell (West Texas A&M), Ken Dorsey (Miami) and Danny Brannagan (Queen's). Well, maybe you had heard of those fellas before, but none of them had any real CFL experience.
With a season under his belt - both mentally and physically - Cleo Lemon will be better, I can guarantee you that! He showed incredible poise and character in his first season, as Jim Barker predicted he would, and looks to be light years ahead of his game compared to last season. Cleo told me he had a "different plan" this off-season: concentrating on his overall quickness - and watching him move and go through his reads, it's evident he's more comfortable.
Couple Cleo's increased awareness of what it takes to play in this league with the fact that Jamie Elizondo moves into his second season as the offensive coordinator, and it should prove to be extremely fruitful for the Argos passing attack.
Dalton Bell (3rd year in the CFL, 2nd with the Argos) is supplying the competition for Lemon at this juncture while Danny Brannagan's velocity has increased from last year. But Brannagan, a second-year Canadian stud, is in tough and fighting to keep his job because B.J. Hall (Webber International) has been strutting his stuff. Hall has good quickness, and escape-ability, and when I have watched him, seems to have the arm strength.
Steven Jyles was expected to compete for the No. 1 job after he was acquired in an off-season trade with Winnipeg, but has been dealing with a setback from his off-season shoulder surgery. Coach Barker is giving Jyles the time he needs to heal properly and told me he's willing to err on the side of caution. Barker is more concerned with Steven's career and overall health than rushing him back before he's ready.
Bottom Line: Lemon improves on his stellar rookie campaign, the team is more confident in Bell, willing to wait on Jyles, and Hall takes the practice roster spot!