Toronto Argonauts 2022 Training Camp News And Notes
Preseason Plan For Ottawa This Coming Friday
Don’t expect to see very many projected starters in the Argos lineup when they take the field for the first time this coming Friday in Ottawa. The All-Star Argo debuts of players like RB Andrew Harris, WR Brandon Banks, and DE JaGared Davis will have to wait. There’s a chance that we won’t see very many of Toronto’s top players in action until the Argonauts’ regular season begins in Week 2 at home against Montreal.
The Argos’ early plan is to sit their key players and get a long hard look at the team’s younger players in action. As per usual, the quarterback position will carry the most intrigue. Toronto’s staff is expected to keep their top two veteran quarterbacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson, and Antonio Pipkin, limited or on the sidelines. While newcomers like Chad Kelly and Austin Simmons split most reps on offence.
Chad Kelly continues to earn rave reviews from spectators at Argonauts practices at Alumni Stadium. Ben Grant from XsandArgos.com was thoroughly impressed with Kelly’s performance on Saturday. In his new faces column, Grant wrote, “Chad Kelly (12) looked a lot more polished and poised than I thought he would this early on. This is McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s team in 2022, but Kelly will be a CFL starter sooner rather than later. Kelly picked the defense apart in a red zone session and looked like a leader out there.”
Friday’s upcoming preseason tilt will give several of the Boatmen’s rookies, American and Canadian, an opportunity to stake their claim for a roster spot. For some, it could be their only shot.
The CFL gave their nine teams a reprieve by pushing back mandatory cutdowns until after everyone has played their first preseason game. By then, CFL teams have to cut down their rosters to 75 plus noncounters. Argos’ head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told the media in camp what the primary focus is for his players and coaches heading into the preseason games.
“Now we got our eyes are on the prize. We got these two preseason games, and their focus (the players) is making the football club…. As coaches, we are trying to find out who those guys are”.
Effect Of New CFL Rules On Toronto Argonauts Coaching Staff
One of the most significant changes in the CFL heading into the 2022 season is the league’s new Hash rule. The Hash Marks on CFL fields have been moved closer to centre field, and each will be 28 yards from the nearest sideline instead of 24 yards. As a result, they will be nine yards apart instead of 17 yards apart.
The rationale for the new rule is that moving the ball closer to the centre will encourage teams to use the whole field and their entire playbooks. The reasoning for the change is that the old hash marks effectively took the offense’s 12th man on the field – the receiver on the far side – out of the play. The CFL hopes that the rule change will help teams maximize the space available in the Canadian game.
Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie admitted this week that his first foray with the new hashes at rookie minicamp forced him to readjust specific play designs to make them work. Dinwiddie had a z split called on a particular play at practice that was too tight, so he needed to adjust to create proper spacing.
Dinwiddie also said that he feels that the game will evolve each week as they get more accustomed to the new hashes. As coaches learn how to utilize the field adjustment best. Dinwiddie joked to the media that it took him a month to re-do his entire playbook with the new hash marks.
Toronto Argonauts sign DB Robert Priester.
The Toronto Argonauts have signed American DB Robert Priester, a 5’9, 180lb defensive back out of Wyoming.
Priester is no stranger to playing in Canada, having spent 2018 with Winnipeg, and 2019 with Edmonton. The champion Bombers brought back Priester in 2021 after playing in the XFL for the Tampa Bay Vipers. Winnipeg recently released Priester.
In the CFL, Priester has played mostly field corner. In the states, despite his size, he has shown the propensity to be an excellent open-field tackler who can play closer to the line of scrimmage. In Toronto, Priester is reuniting with Argos’ new secondary coach Will Fields, who coached Priester in his hometown of Tampa. Priester is also reuniting with his teammate in the XFL, All-League DB Tarvarus McFadden.
It’s easy to overlook this signing because of how late it is in the process. However, the Argos had a lot of success last year with American defensive back signings. Two of them were also former XFL players, Treston Decoud and Jalen Collins. Jamal Peters was also a terrific pickup last season.
Argos Offence Going Back To Dinwiddie’s Calgary Roots
Ryan Dinwiddie told reporters that his offseason goal was to return to more of the smashmouth style his offenses played in Calgary.
Dinwiddie has revamped his offensive staff; chief among the new arrivals is Receivers Coach & Pass Game Coordinator Pete Costanza. Dinwiddie’s highly acclaimed former Calgary cohort will certainly help aid the team’s passing game. But Dinwiddie is focused on implementing a more power-based rushing attack than the Argos had a year ago.
Actions speak louder than words. And the Boatmen’s moves in the offseason prove what the team’s mission was this offseason. The Argos made a concerted effort in free agency and the draft to reshape their ground game. Starting by signing megastar Andrew Harris to bring a downhill running style to the team. The Argos doubled up at RB by drafting Daniel Adeboboye to be part of a one-two punch at the position.
By the sound of things, it appears that the hometown rookie will play a significant role right out the gate. Ryan Dinwiddie told the media that he and his staff members, like RBs coach Edwin Harrison, will likely be smart with the veteran Harris and have him on a pitch count.
The Argonauts’ top prized pick in the 2022 Draft class was OL Gregor MacKellar. Toronto selected him in the first round, sixth overall, because of his tenacity at the line of scrimmage. Double Blue’s brass and coaching staff are very high on the former St. Francis Xavier standout and the value he will bring to their rushing attack.
The team could be pairing up MacKellar with last year’s standout first-round pick upfront, Peter Nicastro. The CFL East rookie of the year is still on the mend from a knee injury last season. But the hope is that he will be back in the trenches to help the Boatmen transform this year in style.
Double Blue Game Sunday
The Toronto Argonauts Football Club officially announced that their first Double Blue scrimmage of training camp would take place on Sunday night at Alumni Stadium. Yet another sign that a new season has arrived.