The Toronto Argonauts will return home in Week 8 at BMO Field this Sunday, facing off with the Ottawa REDBLACKS. The East-leading 3-2 Argos are sailing towards a crucial stretch where they will play seven of their next eight games against divisional opponents.
Toronto Argonauts Tenous Standing In The East
The Boatmen have hit their stride in their last three games. The offense and defense are clicking on all cylinders. And after back-to-back wins effectively on the road against Saskatchewan and a closely contested loss at home against unbeaten Winnipeg. The Argonauts appear to be the class of their division.
However, despite having a lead atop the East after seven weeks. Toronto’s position in the standings is a tenuous one. Although things have looked bleak so far for Eastern teams not named Toronto. The entire pecking order in the division can be flipped on its ears in the coming weeks.
The results of the Argonauts’ upcoming games against Ottawa and Hamilton could paint a different picture in the East than the one that exists today. In a vital eight-game stretch, Toronto will play Ottawa and Hamilton a combined seven times.
The Argos can’t afford to look past the winless REDBLACKS. Ottawa’s 0-6 record does not reflect how good they have been this season, and they have been a whisker away from winning several of the games they have played. The REDDLACKS are desperate for a win, and despite their current standing, they can still get back into the hunt by firstly upsetting Toronto on the road this Sunday.
Toronto’s three battles with Ottawa will bookend this seven-game Eastern stretch. Once Sunday’s game is completed, The Double Blue will begin a unique period where all they see is Hamilton, except for a brief skirmish with Calgary in between.
The Argos will pay close attention to tonight’s Alouettes-Ticats contest in the Hammer. No matter which team prevails, The game’s result will set up an immediate contender for Toronto’s spot atop the East. Despite their 1-5 start, the Ti-Cats are always a threat to the Boatmen.
Toronto and Hamilton dueled four times in 2021 (five including the playoffs) for the first time since 2012 and will do so again in 2022. All four games between the long-time rivals will come within a month, from August 6 to September 5. The archrivals will be sick of playing each other so much. But the winner of this series could determine who gets a leg up on winning the division and hosting the East Final.
But first things first, Sunday’s square off with Ottawa.
Toronto Argonauts Injury Concerns Heading Into Week 5
Toronto is in the midst of its practice week at Michael Power-St. Joseph H.S. in Etobicoke. They will be utilizing the field for the next two weeks.
|TORONTO ARGONAUTS||PRACTICE DAY|
|Player Name||Position||Injury||WED||THU||FRI||Game Status|
|Theren Churchill||OL||Healthy Scratch||Full||Full|
|Jachai Polite||DL||Not Injury Related||DNP||DNP|
Their offensive line is the primary concern heading into the Argos matchup with Ottawa. Toronto, unfortunately, lost both their starting left tackles on their road to and during their game in Regina. Isiah Cage’s concussion woes have landed him on the team’s six-game injured list. And the Boatmen are expected to be without Toronto’s other starter on the blindside, Trevon Tate. There is no definitive word yet from the team, but Tate has a lower-body injury and is expected to join Cage on the injured list
The Argos have the option of flipping last year’s starter Dejon Allen from the right to the left side. But in last Sunday’s victory over the Riders. It was LG/C Phillip Blake who slid over to left tackle while rookie Gregor MacKellar hopped into the interior next to him. That could be the setup for the foreseeable future with Justin Lawrence at Centre and Dariusz Bladek and Allen on the right side. Except for Lawerence, every member of Toronto’s line has battled through nicks and bruises all season, missing practice time.
T/G Shane Richards has played a pivotal role since last season by being a super sub on the outside and interior. He has played a lot this season at tackle after transitioning to guard last year.
Philip Blake is nursing a hand injury but is practicing in full. The grizzled Canadian veteran is a jack of all trades and is certainly game-to-play tackle. As he did against the Riders. But the Argos could be significantly tested this week against the REDDBLACKS pass rush.
American edge rusher Lorenzo Mauldin is having a breakout campaign in Canada. The former third-round NFL draft pick out of Louisville is second in the CFL with six sacks in 6 games played. Former Argo DT Davon Coleman is having a productive season as per usual. Coleman has three sacks and two forced fumbles on the season and could be licking his chops to go up against Gregor MacKellar in his first-ever CFL start.
Despite missing Eric Rogers and Juwan Brescasin all season. Toronto has made do with one of the deepest receiving corps in the league. But the Argos depth could be tested this week. DaVaris Daniels, who suffered a head injury last weekend, was held out of practice to start the week. Even if Daniels can participate in practices, head injuries can be very tricky; It’s always advisable to err on the side of caution. Daniels may want to play. But the best thing for him would be to sit out this week’s game.
Therefore, Kurleigh Gittens Jr., who is coming off of a career game, Brandon Banks, Cam Phillips, Markeith Ambles, and Dejon Brissett could be called upon to pick up the slack for Daniels if he sits out Week 8.
Royce Metchie Returns To The Toronto Argonauts
Defensively, the Argos are getting good news at the safety position. The Ontario native Royce Metchie returned to the team today after missing Week 7 due to personal reasons. Although the Argos haven’t commented on the reasoning behind his absence publicly. Royce was away from the team to support his younger brother John emotionally.
The Alabama standout and rookie Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchie III revealed last week that he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia that will sideline him for his rookie campaign.
Describing his diagnosed condition, acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), as “the most curable form” of the disease, Metchie expressed an optimistic outlook.
“I am currently receiving great medical care, am in good spirits, and I expect to make a recovery at a later point in time,” he said in a statement shared by the Texans.
“I cannot wait,” the 22-year-old wide receiver added, “to come back stronger than ever.”
A week ago, rookie Eric Sutton, Josh Hagerty, and Tigie Sankoh teamed up to provide depth at safety in Royce’s place. But three of these three players have shown up in the injury report to start the week. Hagerty has a hamstring injury, and Sankoh is dealing with a quad issue. Sutton has a hip injury and was limited in practice on Thursday.
Hagerty and Sankoh could miss Sunday’s action. They are two of the Argos’ best special teams players. Practice roster CB Caleb Holden could be called upon to provide depth on defense and special teams. SLB Robert Priester could also contribute in the secondary if needed, and he has also emerged in recent weeks on special teams. ST coordinator Mickey Donovan gave him a game ball for his efforts there in TD Atlantic.
Nick Arbuckle Revenge Game
With Ottawa playing Toronto three times in the next eight weeks. It stands to reason that at some point, Nick Arbuckle could be playing against his former team from a year ago. Perhaps it comes as soon as this weekend in the Six.
All signs point to Caleb Evans remaining as the REDBLACKS starting pivot. After all, the Louisiana-Monroe product has shown improvement in his second year in the CFL. It hasn’t been perfect since stepping in for the injured Jeremiah Masoli, but Evans has done an excellent job spreading the wealth and has seven touchdowns through the air on the ground this season.
However, Paul LaPolice’s patience could wear thin if Ottawa continues to lose games. And any struggles by Evans this Sunday could lead to the REDBLACKS coach going into his bullpen and inserting Nick Arbuckle into the lineup.
Arbuckle could be the ace in Paul LaPolice’s sleeve this Sunday. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And Ottawa is undoubtedly desperate for a win.
Nick Arbuckle was the hand-picked choice of his former coach Ryan Dinwiddie to lead Toronto into the future. But McLeod Bethel-Thompson won over his new coach and was justifiably handed the keys to the Argos offense. As a result, Arbuckle was traded near the end of the 2021 season to Edmonton for a second-round pick and the rights to current Toronto backup Chad Kelly.
Despite how it turned out in Toronto for him. It wasn’t all bad for Nick Arbuckle in the six. Arbuckle had some good moments last season, including throwing for over 300 yards and beating Zach Collaros and Winnipeg last August. No simple task since another former Argo Collaros has only lost two games as the Bombers starter and only one in games where he has started and finished. That loss came head to head against Arbuckle and the Argonauts.
Nick Arbuckle and Toronto parted ways on positive terms publicly. But deep down, Arbuckle has to be disappointed with how things panned out in 2021. If he gets an opportunity to make his way onto the field this Sunday. Revenge and redemption will be solid motivations for him to topple Toronto on their field in front of his former coaching staff and teammates.