Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie has decided who his starting quarterback will be for this Saturday’s season-opening game in Calgary. McLeod Bethel-Thompson will captain the Boatmen’s offence this Saturday night against the Stampeders.
The decision by Coach Dinwiddie to go with McLeod Bethel-Thompson ahead of Nick Arbuckle is not surprising. In the last couple of weeks, Arbuckle has been nursing a hamstring injury and has missed a lot of practice time, including the Argonauts’ two Double Blue scrimmage games.
The former Stampeders quarterback attempted to return to practice over a week ago but tweaked his hamstring injury. Ever since then, The Argos’ coaching staff and trainers have been treating Arbuckle with caution to try and prevent further injury. A pulled hamstring would put Arbuckle on the shelf for an extended period of time.
It has to be a disappointing development for Arbuckle, who would have loved to take the reins of the Argos offence and make his starting debut against his former team in Calgary. Toronto plans to dress Arbuckle for Saturday’s game but may only be available as an emergency quarterback.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who led the CFL in passing touchdowns in 2019, has benefitted from Arbuckle’s absence in recent weeks. It has allowed the veteran pivot to build up his timing and chemistry with a sea of new faces on offence. As well as the opportunity to get acclimated to Ryan Dinwiddie’s offensive system.
Perhaps as a sign that the team is looking for added insurance. The Argos brought back quarterback Kelly Bryant and are adding him to their practice roster. Bryant was with the team for a brief period before he was released at final cuts. Argos backup quarterback Antonio Pipkin is also nursing a knee injury. So the options behind Bethel-Thompson could be limited this coming weekend.
MBT will get the first crack at captaining the Boatmen’s offence and depending on how he performs, he could lock up the position for the remainder of the season.