On Wednesday, the Toronto Argonauts were back practicing at Lamport Stadium as the team prepares for its home opener this Saturday afternoon against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. On Wednesday, there was plenty of news and notes as the Boatmen set sail towards their return to BMO Field.
In their rematch with the Bombers, the big news on who will start at quarterback for the Argos came a day later than expected. Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie officially announced today after practice that Nick Arbuckle will make his first start for the Boatmen this weekend. To no one’s surprise. The 27-year old signal-caller took first team-reps in practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday to start the workweek.
Arbuckle saw his first action of the new CFL season last Friday, coming on in relief for McLeod Bethel-Thompson. On today’s decision, Ryan Dinwiddie told CFLNewsHub after practice that he is turning to Arbuckle because of his comfort level working with him. And Dinwiddie feels that Arbuckle deserves an opportunity to lead the Argos offence.
Dinwiddie is hoping that Arbuckle helps the offence with continued drives. Something that has escaped the Double Blue’s offensive attack in the opening two weeks. The team has struggled to sustain offence and has gone through long periods of lulls in their first two games. Ryan Dinwiddie hopes that the change to Arbuckle on the pivot brings more consistency to the team’s offence in the coming weeks.
Juwan Brescasin To Be Placed On The Argos Six-Game Injured List
Argos coach Ryan Dinwiddie also told CFLNewshub after practice that his star receiver Juwan Brescasin will be placed on the team’s six-game injured list due to a knee injury he suffered in week two. The positive is that Brescasin’s injury wasn’t as serious as the team initially feared based on the imaging results of having his knee scoped. Despite being on the 6 game injured list, there’s a chance that Brescasin can make his return to the lineup sooner than anticipated. The timetable being discussed is potentially 3-4 weeks. But for now, the team is moving forward without him.
When asked about some of the candidates who could step up in Brescasin’s absence, Dinwiddie mentioned Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and Dejon Brissett as the next men up. He voiced confidence in both receivers, who had a strong training camp in July. The two national receivers will get an opportunity to make a difference in the coming weeks ahead. Both Kurleigh and Dejon are Argos’ top draft picks at receiver in the last couple of years. Brissett in the first round in 2020 and Gittens in the third round back in 2019.
Also potentially in the mix at receiver could be another camp standout in Llevi Noel and the recently acquired Cam Phillips. The latter has been working hard since joining the team after being released by Hamilton right before the season started. Phillips, a Virginia Tech and XFL standout, has been taking a crash course on playing receiver in the Argos offensive scheme. The Boatmen’s offensive staff has been cross-training him at several different receiver positions. Phillips is still in CFL receiving school, and it doesn’t appear likely that he will be ready to graduate from the practice roster for this Saturday’s game.
No matter who steps on the supporting staff. Look for Eric Rogers, DeVaris Daniels, and Ricky Collins Jr. to soak up most of the team’s targets along with Daniel Braverman, who currently leads the team in receptions. (13),
Additional Toronto Argonauts News And Notes
- It appears that the Argonauts will be going to option C at left tackle in week 3 of the CFL season. 2019 starter Isiah Cage was expected to start the season on the blindside but suffered an injury in camp and is currently on the team’s six-game injured list. CFL rookie Dejon Allen opened the season starting weeks one and two but went down with a knee injury against Winnipeg. Allen was dressed today for practice but was very limited.
- Recent acquisition, OT Terry Poole, who was acquired in the Alden Darby trade back in July, was taking first team reps at left tackle in practice today. However, Poole was sharing reps with Brandon Smith. The 6’8 327 pound East Carolina product is currently on the Argos practice roster. Smith is a very raw player, he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars briefly back in 2018, but has spent the last few years playing for the Carolina Cobras in the National Arena League. Toronto signed him late in July. Whomever gets the call to protect Arbuckle’s blindside will be staring across the line of scrimmage at Willie Jefferson, Jackson Jeffcoact and company. A less than ideal welcome wagon for Poole or Smith.
- Two of the Argos best defensive players, LB Henoc Muamba and DE Charleston Hughes got the day off from practice on Wednesday. Coach Dinwiddie says that the two veterans are nursing some nicks and bruises and that he wanted to give them the day off. Hughes and Muamba are expected to return to practice on Thursday and Friday.
- It will be a difficult challenge for the Argos to repeat the success they had against Winnipeg two weeks in a row. Particularly in the run game on both sides of the ball.
- The Double Blue ran for 123 yards at nearly nine yards per carry, while limiting the Bombers ground game to 53 yards on 18 carries. On defence, the Boatmen may have to contend with the return of megastar RB Andrew Harris, who has practiced for the Bombers in limited fashion to start off the week. As good as Brady Olivera has looked as his replacement. Harris is one of the league’s very best players, regardless of position. Winnipeg’s offensive line will be looking to redeem themselves in week 3. And it looks like the Argos could be down another defensive linemen with starting DT Kony Ealy nursing an elbow injury. Sam Acheampong who filled nicely last week next to Shawn Oakman will need to match his week two effort.
- Running the football as well as the Argos did in week two will also be a difficult challenge. Notwithstanding the added dimesion that Nick Arbuckle brings to the Argos RP0 based zone read attack. There is uncertainty at left tackle, and Richie Hall and his Bombers defence will have week 2’s game film to make adjustments on for the rematch.
- The Argos practiced in light rainy conditions at Lamport on Wednesday. The forecast for Saturday’s game calls for warm conditions with a mix of sun and clouds. So the elements shouldn’t be a factor come game day Saturday at BMO field.
- The oddsmakers don’t prescribe to the “it’s hard to beat a team twice in consecutive weeks” theory. The Toronto Argonauts are listed as five point underdogs at home against the Bombers with a game total of 42 points.
- It’s been nearly two years since the Argos played at home. Week 20 of the 2019 season on Octover 26th, to be exact. The Boatmen return back home to BMO in three days.
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