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News And Notes From The Toronto Argonauts Double Blue Scrimmage

Day 10 of Toronto Argonauts Training Camp saw the team make some big news before taking the field for its first Double Blue intrasquad scrimmage of the summer.

Before the Argos began their first of two live scrimmages in camp Monday, the team announced they had traded defensive back Alden Darby to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in exchange for offensive tackle Terry Poole. The move surprised supporters and followers of the Argos, seeing one of the team’s most prominent players on defence traded away. The new-look Argonauts have undergone many changes since they last took the field in 2019, but the trade of Darby was one that many didn’t see coming.

For the Bombers, who reached out to Toronto to initiate the trade, acquiring Alden Darby helps heal the wound of losing DB Marcus Maston to a season-ending injury in camp. For the Boatmen, trading away Darby is a stamp of approval towards the team’s returning players and new arrivals in their secondary. However, the acquisition of Terry Poole also raises questions about the Argos’ faith in their current crop of options at left tackle.

Although, Toronto is less than three weeks away from kicking off their regular season in Calgary. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Terry Poole could factor into the team’s lineup on the blindside, protecting whoever is the Argos signal-caller when the season arrives.

With a special thanks and an assist by the Boatmen’s terrific media relations team headed by Chis Balenovich. Toronto Argonauts Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie took a few moments today after watching the film of today’s scrimmage to share his thoughts directly to myself and CFLNewsHub on all the latest Argos news how things went today for his team.

Toronto Argonauts Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie

On the trade of Alden Darby: Coach Dinwiddie mentioned that the decision was a difficult one based on how good of a player and person that Darby is but the team’s depth in their secondary and the opportunity to improve at the offensive tackle spot was something that led the Argos staff to finalize the trade. Dinwiddie mentioned that Winnipeg reached out initially and that the compensation made sense for both sides.

On the trade for Terry Poole and how quickly he can be ready to contribute: Dinwiddie says that Poole is a player that the team’s front office was very high on. Poole figures to be playing left tackle, and despite the late stage of camp, Dinwiddie feels that Poole could factor into the team’s offense quickly. Because of COVID rules, Poole can’t practice until three days after he arrives at Toronto’s camp. The move was made for the numbers needed to shore up depth at tackle. (It’s worth noting that signing a free agent would have led to a ten-day wait through the quarantine process before practicing with the team.)

On his team’s performance in today’s scrimmage: Ryan Dinwiddie felt that his offense was a bit sloppy at times and that some things need to be cleaned up moving forward. The Argos coach was very impressed with the pace of play and how the Argos defence got after it, despite them giving up some big plays down the field. Coach felt that all-in-all, the experience was good for the team to shake off some rust and get into game situations on the field.

On whether the team plans to have a more extended live scrimmage to help offset not having any preseason games: The Toronto Argonauts plan on having a second Double Blue game, but a date hasn’t been set yet. Although, Coach Dinwiddie would love to simulate a full 60-minute game to help prepare his team from a conditioning standpoint for the regular-season opener on August 7th. The new head coach is very mindful about pushing his team too hard and doesn’t want to jeopardize players’ physical health.

On if he has leaned on any of his mentors for advice as a first-time head coach: Ryan Dinwiddie mentioned that he has talked to many of his coaching colleagues leading up to camp but has been in a bubble ever since training camp started. With all of his focus solely on the team.

Dinwiddie did, however, mention that current GM and former Argonauts head coach Michael “Pinball” Clemons has been his right-hand man in camp, helping him go over important coaching decisions along the way. Clemons’ record as head coach for Toronto is 67–54–1 in the regular season over seven seasons with the Boatmen, winning a Grey Cup as head coach of the team back in 2004. So as a first-time head coach, Ryan Dinwiddie has the perfect mentor by his side.

Double Blue Scrimmage Notes

  • Because of a hamstring issue, Nick Arbuckle sat out the scrimmage for precautionary reasons. McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Antonio Pipkin took all the teams snaps at Quarterback. Both players had ups and downs but there were some communication and huddle issues. Particularly with the teams newer receivers who have just arrived in camp.
  • The Argonauts star studded linebacking corps stood out in the scrimmage never allowing the Argos ground attack to get to the second level of the defence.
  • Recent arrival DB Chris Edwards had a big day in coverage, breaking up some plays and taking an interception all the way for a touchdown during the scrimmage.
  • Because of minor nicks and bruises, the Argos coaching staff didn’t have as many players on the field for scrimmage today as they would have liked.
  • Ryan Dinwiddie and his staff went through a script of 70 offensive plays and gave each player a game book and scouting report three days in advance of the scrimmage. The goal was to treat the prep for the Double Blue scrimmage like a regular game. The offence operated primarily from a third of their no huddle offence.
  • The team went through standard special teams drills through the course of the game. The Argos punted, kicked field goals and kicked off but didn’t go through one versus ones or two versus twos scenarios.
  • Om the heels of the Double Blue game. The team will have the day off tommorow to rest up before resuming practice on Wednesday.

Toronto Argonauts Roster Cutdown/New Running Back

Before subtracting from the team’s roster, the Toronto Argonauts have announced the addition of American RB D.J. Foster. The former Arizona State alum spent the last four seasons on and off the Arizona Cardinals roster, after initially signing with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2016, where Foster went on to win a Superbowl in his rookie year. Foster is a versatile running back with great receiving skills; he led the nation at ASU in receiving yards for a running back (653) in 2013. Foster had a total of 222 receptions in college.

CFL teams have to trim down their roster to 75 players in this first round of cuts, excluding non-counters (2020 or 2021 draft picks) by tonight.  Final roster cuts will be made by 10 p.m. ET on July 30.

When Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie was asked during the media presser by Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun about his overall impression of some of the players in today’s scrimmage, Dinwiddie very candidly said, “Some guys, kind of cut themselves today.” Dinwiddie talked about how often he was cut as a player and the experience he has from that. And how he will deal with players honestly and openly as the team makes their first cuts.

The Argonauts are expected to announce their player cuts later today. The full list will be updated here on CFL NewsHub as they become available.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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