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Toronto Argonauts Begin Week One Practices With Uncertainty At Quarterback

The Toronto Argonauts began week one preparation at Lamport Stadium for their season opener in Calgary on Saturday with uncertainty at the quarterback position.

Questions Linger About The Toronto Argonauts Starting Quarterback Heading Into Week One

Projected starting signal-caller Nick Arbuckle took limited reps in Monday’s practice. Sharing snaps three ways with McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Antonio Pipkin. Arbuckle has been nursing a grade one hamstring injury in practice the last couple of weeks.

Coach Ryan Dinwiddie updated Arbuckle’s status by saying that he is looking better, but that the team is still proceeding with caution. The newly-minted head coach has confidence in Arbuckle’s readiness because of their experience together in Calgary. Still, Dinwiddie stopped short of declaring whether or not he would be available to play on Saturday.

“He’s getting there, we got him some live reps today, just to see where he is at. Not sure exactly how that is going to play out….. We are being cautious with it.”

Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie on QB Nick Abruckle.

Day One Regular Season Practice Impressions

So how did the Argonauts look overall in their first day of practice leading into week one? Here are head coach Ryan Dinwiddie’s comments on his first impressions coming off the practice field.

We got the rust off. The defence was flying around. Offensively, there are some things we want to work on—a lot of individual drills. We had ten plays of skelly and ten plays of team, to just kind of get their legs back and underneath them from a few days off in camp. We were really just polishing and working on the fundamentals”.

Rookie first-round draft pick Peter Nicasto seems poised to make his first start at centre. A challenging role for the CFL newcomer. Nicastro will have veteran Phillip Blake by his side in the trenches, helping guide the rookie on what will be a difficult test on the road in Calgary. Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie talked about the team’s options at the position and Nicastro’s readiness in today’s media presser. The coach stopped short of announcing Nicastro the official starter, but that appears to be the plan. Both players are getting reps at guard and centre during practice.

The Boatmen Announce Six Team Crew Captains

The Toronto Argonauts players voted on their team captains for the 2021 Regular Season. Here is the list of names receiving those honours from their teammates.

Offence: Quarterbacks Nick Arbuckle & McLeod Bethel-Thompson

Defence: Defensive End, Charleston Hughes & Linebacker Henoc Muamba

Special Teams: Fullback Declan Cross & Linebacker Bear Woods

Coach Dinwiddie was quick to point out how special it was for Charleston Hughes to be named captain by his new teammates. Surprisingly, despite his long career in the CFL as a standout player, Hughes had never received that type of distinction. The fact that Hughes received this honour is a great measure and a sign of respect from his teammates in the locker room.

New Toronto Argonauts Arrivals Cam Phillips And Vontae Diggs

The Boatmen’s sea of new faces added two more this past weekend. When the Argos signed Edmonton standout linebacker Vontae Diggs and former XFL superstar and recent Hamilton receiver Cam Phillips, both players were swept up offshore and need to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Still, the process to get Phillips and Diggs worked into the mix has already started.

Phillips and Diggs are both going through the quarantine process, but with no border hurdles; since they were already in Canada, their stay in the protocol process will not be long. Roughly 4 days since they joined the team. Once Diggs and Phillips do make their way onto the practice field. They will need to get up to speed quickly if they are to play this weekend. It’s likely that they won’t be available for week one, but Coach Dinwiddie didn’t rule them out.

Going Home Again As The Enemy

The schedule makers for the CFL did a great job for week one. The defending champs, the Blue Bombers celebrate their 2019 Grey Cup victory by hosting the team they beat to become champs in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

For the Argonauts, it’s a trip to Calgary to face the Stamps. And former Stampeders coach Ryan Dinwiddie will make his head coaching debut against the team he won a championship with. Dinwiddie is spending week one preparing and game planning to face Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeders defence led by defensive coordinator Brent Monson. While also going to head-to-head with his old boss on the sidelines, Dave Dickenson.

Coach Dinwiddie in today’s press conference, was extremely complimentary about the entire Stampeders coaching staff and his experience in Calgary. He realizes how tough it will be to go into Calgary and get a win this Saturday. Dinwiddie told the media that he would help out his defence in preparation for the Stamps offense. An offense that Dinwiddie was a part of orchestrating the last several years. Dinwiddie had high praise for the Stamps aggressive defensive scheme led by Monson and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s track record as a winner.

The old saying goes, you can’t go home again. Ryan Dinwiddie will be doing it the very first time he walks onto the field as a head coach. Back in Calgary, but not as their ally but as the enemy, trying to beat the Stampeders.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Tress

    August 2, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Johnny Manziel should be brought in to fill the void. He was getting better in Montreal before they released him.

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