On Monday, the Toronto Argonauts released two players, added an offensive lineman, and released their first injury report for Week 12. As the first place, 6-3 Argos prepare to play the 5-4 Alouettes in Montreal this Friday night.
The Boatmen were off in Week 11, after playing two games in Week 10, one at home against Ottawa and the other five days later on Thanksgiving Day in Hamilton. Very quietly late last week on Friday, The Argos returned to practice in preparation for another divisional showdown with first place in the East at stake. Toronto is currently a 1 point favorite on the road.
The Argonauts’ time between games allowed their coaching staff and front office to reset and reassess the team as it heads towards its final five regular-season games.
Toronto Argonauts Part Ways With Three American Players
This past Friday, the Argos also released American DL Eli Howard. The Texas Tech rookie has spent time on and off the Boatmen’s roster since the summer. The six-foot-four, 280-pound defensive linemen, had a brief stint with the Atlanta Falcons after going unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Howard only saw action in one game this year, registering a solo tackle. He spent most of the season on the Argonauts’ practice roster.
American LB Reshard Cliett is a former fifth-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2015. The speedy (4.4) 225-pound linebacker spent four years in the NFL, bouncing on and off team’s practice squads and rosters. (Texans, Broncos, Jets, Cardinals, Titans, Cheifs & Vikings). Before finally landing some real playing time in the XFL with the Dallas Renegades in 2020. Cliett’s stay in the CFL with Toronto has been very similar to his NFL journey. He made the Argos out of camp but spent most of the season, on and off Toronto’s practice roster.
The most shocking release by the Argos is that of DE Eli Harold. The versatile veteran defender Eli Harold has had a productive season playing in Toronto’s rotation on the defensive front. The super talented former third-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 had two sacks and one forced fumble in six games for the double blue this season.
Despite still being only 27-years old. Eli Harold announced his retirement today, posting this message on Instagram.
Toronto Argonauts Add Former All-SEC OT Martez Ivey
At this stage of the season, getting American offensive linemen to come in off the street and immediately contribute and transition to the Canadian game is a tall task.
Argos fans have seen this movie before. The Boatmen traded away DB Alden Darby to acquire American rookie Terry Poole from Winnipeg. Poole was a standout player in the XFL after spending a few years in the NFL. For whatever reason, Poole’s time with Toronto didn’t last. He was released a few weeks back.
However, Toronto has had success this year with an American rookie on their offensive line. Dejon Allen, another former XFL player, has contributed nicely, starting all nine of the Boatmen’s games at left tackle. Perhaps, Martez Ivey can follow the same path as Allen, rather than Poole’s.
Martez Ivey, 26, was a five-star recruit out of Florida. The 6’5 306 Ivey was ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in his class. Ivey won the Hall Trophy, coming out of high school, an honor awarded annually since 2000 to the most outstanding high school football player in the United States, comparable to the Heisman Trophy for collegiate football players.
With offers from virtually every major football program. Ivey chose to stay in-state and play for the University of Florida. Despite being first-team All-SEC as a freshman, Ivey never lived up to his ultra-high expectations. Largely due to injuries. Knee issues, including a torn meniscus, played a part in Ivey’s arrested development in college. He went undrafted and signed with the New England Patriots in 2019.
Ivey didn’t make the final cut with New England as a rookie. However, He got a chance to shine in the XFL six months later with the Tampa Bay Vipers. Martez Ivey was one of the league’s better offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus gave him a favorable grade. Along with Terry Poole, Ivey was voted on the midseason All-XFL team by the league itself.
Martez Ivey landed with the Carolina Panthers after playing in the XFL but was released at final cuts two months ago. In the CFL, if developed and given an opportunity, Ivey could finally live up to his immense talents for the Argos.
Toronto Argonauts Week 12 Injury Report
CFL Injury Reports are as ambiguous and as tricky as they come. The league is still trying to figure out how to present them. And some coaches would still rather not. When Argos LT Isaiah Cage rolled his ankle and went down to injury in camp, it wasn’t revealed that he was potentially done for the season until months later. He could still return, but his six-game injury has turned into 11 weeks and counting. Cage has shown up on the practice and injury reports from time to time in the last month. Despite nowhere close to even playing.
There are some creative loopholes and workarounds that each CFL team does every week to store extra players. For example, the Ottawa Redblacks signed QB Devlin Hodges over a month ago, but he has magically been on their injured list ever since. Despite being healthy with the LA Rams up until his release.
An entire CFL roster, practice squad, and injured list included can be difficult to figure out. For example, there are players on the six-game injured list, like LB Henoc Muamba, who has missed the team’s last three games and could be coming off the list sooner. CFL rules allow for that to happen. Muamba injured his hamstring against Saskatchewan back in week 7. But Muamba has been practicing in a limited fashion and is inching closer to returning. Fellow starting LB Cameron Judge has been on the 1-game injured list three weeks in a row. Toronto’s run defence has desperately missed both national veterans. The Boatmen were first in the league against the run before Muamba and Judge exited the lineup.
On Monday, the biggest positive coming out of Toronto’s injury report is starting RB John White returning to full practice after sitting out the team’s last two games. Toronto has not only missed White’s running (362 5.1 yards per rush), but he is also the team’s best pass protector in the backfield. On Thanksgiving, Hamilton exploited Toronto’s deficiency in picking up the blitz without White, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson took several hits during that game. White will not only help the Boatmen’s ground and air attack, but it will help take some of the load off, DJ Foster.
One-time Montreal Alouettes fullback and Argos special-teamer Patrick Lavoie (Hamstring) won’t be suiting up against his former club. WR Eric Rogers, who also has a hamstring injury, will also miss the game against the Als.
After two straight, healthy scratches, there’s a good chance that Charleston Hughes makes his return to the Argos lineup. Hughes has provided value as a coach and mentor in the locker room, but his performance on the field (2 sacks) has been a far cry from the player who led the CFL in sacks in 2019. The Argos coaching staff feels that a well-rested Hughes, 37, still has some stuff left in the basement for the season’s stretch run.
RT Jamal Cambell Questionable For Montreal?
The biggest negative coming out of the Argos injury report is that starting RT Jamal Campbell did not practice due to a quad injury. Sources close to the team hope that Campbell is resting an injury he picked up along the way and that Monday could be a veteran maintenance day. But Campbell’s involvement in the next two days in practice will be very telling.
Campbell is not only one of the Boatmen’s most consistent players, but he is also a respected team leader. His presence would be sorely missed if he were to miss any action. Particularly in a game as important as Friday’s in Montreal. If Toronto is without Campbell, it’s possible that Theren Churchill or Dylan Giffen could get the call on the outside against a formidable pass rush from the Alouettes, which registered an absurd 10 sacks in week 11 against Ottawa.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Montreal was without their top two running backs on Monday in practice. Both William Stanback, who has missed the last two Als games, and Cameron Artis Payne sat out of practice due to illness.
The Alouettes, who lost to the Argos at BMO Field on Sept. 24, can move into a first-place tie with a win. Further complicating matters would be if Hamilton holds serve at home against Ottawa in Week 12. That result, coupled with a Montreal win, would put the East’s top three teams within one game of each other with four weeks left to play in the regular season.
On the flip side, An Argos win in Montreal solidifies their hold on first. It gives Toronto a two-game lead with the tie-breaker over both Montreal (head-to-head sweep) and Hamilton.