The road to the 2022 CFL season took a slight detour. But with things back on the right path, the Toronto Argonauts officially opened up training camp today.
Toronto Argonauts 2022 Training Camp News And Notes
The timeline in the CFL’s calendar shifted slightly due to CFL labor talks. Thankfully, the drama and hysteria attached to the first CFL player strike in decades have dissipated. The league and its players were able to unite on a seven-year pact that will hopefully stabilize what has been a tumultuous last few years for the CFL.
The league, its players, and teams are entering a new world together with some tweaked rules. But business is finally back to normal, with preseason games and a standard 19-week regular season on the horizon.
After the Argos completed rookie minicamp a week ago, the next step for the Boatmen and the rest of the CFL teams was to pare down their rosters to 85 players on May 14th. Veterans were expected to arrive on Sunday, May 15th, and two days later, the roster gets trimmed down to the final 75 plus non-counters.
The Argos are at 101 players at the moment after locking all but one of the team’s draft picks from the 2022 class. They are still awaiting the arrival of highly-touted second-round pick DT Deionte Knight, who has recently worked out for NFL teams. Knight has been assigned #77 and recently told CBC News that he expects to join the team shortly and play in Toronto this year.
There have been some slight changes to the Toronto roster since last week. WR Dres Anderson and QB Cole McDonald were placed on the suspended list on 5/15. LB Alexander Chevrier has retired, and DB Shaq Richardson and C Peter Nicastro remain on the injured list to start camp.
The new calendar for Double Blue moving forward looks like this.
McLeod Bethel Thompson Unquestioned QB Starter/Leader
It’s been a long, arduous journey for McLeod Bethel-Thompson in his professional football career. But for the first time, he is entering a CFL season as the unquestioned starter on the pivot. And he has earned the mantle as captain of the Boatmen’s ship.
There are a couple of new faces in the quarterback room this year. Former Ole Miss star and NFL QB Chad Kelly has brought his elite talents to Toronto. A week ago, Kelly earned rave reviews for his performance and attitude in rookie camp. South Dakota QB Austin Simmons has also joined the team from down south. CFL veteran Antonio Pipkin is back in the fold.
However, please make no mistake about it. The Argos offence belongs to McLeod Bethel-Thompson, and the journeyman signal-caller attained the faith of CFL head coach of the year candidate Ryan Dinwiddie in 2021. But more importantly, his teammates.
New Faces In The Six
Like most CFL teams, the Toronto Argonauts, despite a successful 2021 campaign, have seen a fair amount of roster turnover. Perhaps that yearly turnover will change with the league’s new CBA agreement.
In an attempt to win the Grey Cup in 2022. The Argos went all-out in the offseason, acquiring high-profile superstars who they feel can help accomplish that goal. All-Star pass rusher Ja’Gared Davis is donning Double Blue instead of Hamilton’s black and gold. WR Brandon ‘Speedy B’ Banks has also taken the same path. But none of the newest acquisitions stand out more from the crowd than future hall of fame, #33 himself, RB Andrew Harris. It might take some time to get accustomed to Harris in an Argos uniform. But there he was today at Guelph sporting his new look.
Another new face that is expected to impact the Double Blue significantly is Defensive Coordinator Corey Mace. The former Stampeders assistant has reunited with his Calgary counterpart, Ryan Dinwiddie. Mace has several former Stamps joining him in the Six, like JaGared Davis, Wynton McManis, and Royce Metchie.
While Corey Mace spent Thursday getting acclimated to some familiar and new faces, the rest of the Argos team did as well on the field and off, as evidenced in the video tweet posted below. As we learned, Dominant DT Shawn Oakman’s interests outside of football is football.
The Argos will be back on the field in their first preseason game since 2019 a week from tomorrow in Ottawa. Toronto will have two preseason games, and they will need to make crucial roster decisions shortly and before training camp ends on June 4th.
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