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Argos Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie Returning To Team After Contracting COVID

Argos Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie revealed to the media on Tuesday that he recently tested positive for COVID. Dinwiddie’s whole family contracted the virus about a week ago. Thankfully, Dinwiddie and his wife and two sons are doing better. Today is Ryan Dinwiddie’s last day of isolation, and he proclaims that he will be good to go for Thursday night’s home opener at BMO Field against the Montreal Alouettes.

HAMILTON ON OCTOBER 11 Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie of the Toronto Argonauts during a game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats at Tim Hortons Field on October 11 2021 in Hamilton Canada Photo by John E SokolowskiGetty Images

As the Argos prepare for their 2022 season opener, Dinwiddie’s absence from practice due to a COVID-related issue certainly has a 2021 feel to it.

Word had spread about Dinwiddie contracting COVID earlier this week. But the news was kept under wraps by media members and those closest to the Argos organization. Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun had reported on Sunday that Ryan Dinwiddie was away from the team dealing with a personal issue.

On Sunday, it was also reported by Zicarelli that if Dinwiddie were ever unable to serve as head coach, GM Michael Clemons would move from the front office to the sideline as his replacement. And that’s precisely what Pinball has done this week, coming off Toronto’s week one bye. In Dinwiddie’s absence, Pinball has been overseeing meetings and practices at Lamport Stadium with assistance from the team’s coaching staff members like receivers/pass game coordinator Pete Costanza and defensive coordinator Corey Mace.

Clemons has plenty of experience as a head coach. Pinball once guided the Argos for eight seasons, including winning a Grey Cup in 2004. The legendary “Pinball” is one of the most beloved figures in the history of the CFL. Fortunately for the Boatmen, Ryan Dinwiddie will be back with the team and on the sidelines. But very few sports teams have the luxury of having an in-house backup option like Clemons to step in at a moment’s notice if needed. Push-ups and punt returns are probably off-limits for the 57-year-old legend moving forward. But as proven for years, he’s always ready to lead his team when the situation calls for it.

Ryan Dinwiddie has spent this time away interacting with his assistants, game planning, and watching film. He’s looking forward to getting back with his players and coaches in person.

Argos News And Notes For Thursday’s Opener


Player NamePositionInjuryTUEGame Status
Brescacin, JuwanWRHipDNPOUT
Giffen, DylanOLHeadDNPOUT
Knight, DeionteDLKneeDNPOUT
Nicastro, PeterOLKneeDNPOUT
Priester, RobertDBHamstringDNPQUESTIONABLE
Rogers, EricWRHamstringDNPOUT

With projected starting receivers Eric Rogers (hamstring) and Juwan Brescasin (hip) out this week. And Receivers Dejon Brissett (quad), DaVaris Daniels (hip), and Earnest Edwards (quad) limited this week and listed as questionable.

The Argos might have to rely on some of their sub-package receivers to step up on Thursday night. On Tuesday afternoon, Ryan Dinwiddie talked favorably about the progression of second-year CFL WR Cam Phillips, calling the difference between him in 2021 and 2022 night and day.

The Virginia Tech and XFL standout, Phillips might be called upon to see his most extended regular-season action against Montreal. A year ago, Phillips spent the entire season on the practice roster and played in the team’s final regular-season game, where Toronto sat all of its main starters. Phillips has always been known for his route running and solid hands south of the border. But the transition to the Canadian game is not always an easy one for American receivers.

Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Cam Phillips 89 tries to avoid a tackle against Edmonton Elks defensive back Aaron Grymes 36 during first half CFL football action in Toronto Tuesday Nov 16 2021 THE CANADIAN PRESSNathan Denette

Another XFL receiver, Steven Dunbar, had an excellent rookie year for Hamilton in 2021. But that opening was created due to several injuries on the Ti-Cats roster. Most notably, the decorated duo of Bralon Addison and new Argo Brandon Banks. Phillips, who started out with Hamilton last summer, had a challenging time breaking into Toronto’s deep receiving lineup, which has only gotten stronger in 2022. But Thursday, because of injuries, could be his chance to show that he belongs. It’s likely that with National receivers like Brescasin and Brissett potentially missing action, Canadian Tommy Nield could be in the starting lineup for ratio purposes. But Phillips could be the player seeing extended looks in the passing game.

CFL rookie WR A.J. Richardson, who emerged during camp, was also cited by Coach Dinwiddie as someone who could step up moving forward.

From day one of camp, the Argos have talked about transitioning to a more power-based running attack this season. A year ago, the running game for Toronto was mostly an afterthought, and DJ Foster and John White were utilized as receivers as much as runners.

That’s about to change when the season starts on Thursday night when Andrew Harris enters Toronto’s lineup. However, the future hall of fame does bring great receiving and blocking chops to the passing game. The Argos are ready to unleash a well-rested Harris on the ground at BMO Field Thursday night.

Andrew Harris told the media on Tuesday that he is excited to make his Argos debut. Many doubters believe that at 35 years old, the Canadian superstar can’t keep up his elite quality of play. Harris will get a chance to silence the naysayers this season. Starting with Thursday night.

Star pass rusher Ja’Gared Davis is also looking forward to his debut in Double Blue. Davis is shooting for his sixth straight Grey Cup appearance in the Six. The former Stamps and Ti-Cat stalwart has been to five straight CFL championship games. He realizes that he is here to get the Argos over the hump. JaGared talked up his new defensive teammates in Toronto. But also talked about his former Ti-Cats teammate Brandon Banks, who has jumped ship with him to the Boatmen.

Banks says he feels better physically than he did a few years ago. Speedy B admits that Thursday night’s opener against Montreal will feel strange, but he is excited about being an Argo.

Game time is coming close for the Argos. On Wednesday, the team will announce their lineups against the Alouettes. A big name to watch is CB Jamal Peters, who has been dealing with a knee injury all week. DB Robert Priester is also on the questionable side with a hamstring issue. Players like Matt Boateng and Tarvarus McFadden may be called upon to cover the Als’ elite receiving duo of Geno Lewis and Jake Wieneke.

It won’t be an easy task for Toronto’s secondary. Argos fans who lived 2021, must feel like they are seeing a repeat of last year’s injury woes.

The Argos are set at the specialist spot on special teams. But it will be intriguing to see who the team trots out as its primary returner. That decision will be in the hands of Toronto’s new special teams’ coordinator, Mickey Donovan, who will be facing his former team Montreal on Thursday.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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