The Toronto Argonauts were back fully practicing at Lamport Stadium on Tuesday as the team preps for an in-season rematch with the 9-5 Calgary Stampeders this Saturday. The Stamps bested the Argos 22-19 at BMO Field in late August. In a game where Calgary officially turned the keys over to QB Jake Maier, The Argos will attempt to exact revenge at McMahon Stadium this weekend.
There’s quite a bit of news surrounding the Argonauts as they prepare for the Stamps this weekend—the first of three straight battles with West division teams.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS INJURY REPORT WEEK 17, DAY 1 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2022
|TORONTO ARGONAUTS||Practice Day|
|Deionte Knight||DL||Healthy Scratch||FULL|
|Ryan Hunter||OL||Healthy Scratch||FULL|
In Calgary, the Stampeders have injury concerns of their own. They began the week without superstar running back Ka’Deem Carey (illness), linebacker Brad Cowan (head), offensive lineman Derek Dennis (ankle), and defensive linemen Romeo McKnight (knee) and Mike Rose (illness). Dennis is out for the season. He was having an All-Star campaign as a pass-and-run blocker for the Stamps—a significant loss for Calgary at left tackle.
The Toronto Argonauts have three straight full practices this week before the team has a walkthrough on Friday and then travels to Calgary for Saturday’s game.
It’s still early in the week. But the situation surrounding standout CB Jamal Peters (head) bares watching. Peters, the league’s leader in interceptions (6), missed practice on Tuesday due to a concussion.
The Argos secondary has been on a tremendous run the last several weeks. But losing Peters in Week 17 could be problematic against the Stampeders’ ultra-talented receiving corps.
The positive news for the Boatmen is that two players in their secondary are edging closer to coming off the team’s six-game injured list. CB Roberson Daniel (hamstring) and DB Shaq Richardson (groin).
Daniel has been out since very early in the season. He practiced in a limited fashion, so he could still be a way out. But he might be needed sooner if Peters is unavailable.
All reports last week indicated that Shaq Richardson was on the verge of getting back for the Double Blue. He opens the practice week as a full participant. Maurice Carnell IV has done a phenomenal job in his stead at defensive halfback. But a veteran of the quality of Richardson should only strengthen the Argos secondary.
The defensive backfield could also see Robert Priester back in uniform and potentially starting this weekend. The versatile first-year CFL player has started at SAM linebacker and defensive halfback in 2022. Priester has experience playing in the nickel and on the outside at cornerback. His versatility could be an asset, with a player like Eric Sutton (hip) looking questionable for Saturday’s action. The Argonauts’ depth at cornerback could be tested if Peters doesn’t play.
On the defensive line, new arrival Damontre Moore injured his quad against Ottawa in his CFL debut, and he did not practice on Tuesday and is questionable for this Sunday. Former MAC defensive player of the year, DE Ali Fayad, could be elevated from the practice roster and make his CFL debut this coming weekend, and Fayad could replace Moore in a swingman depth role.
Toronto Argonauts Offensive Line Updates
OT Trevon Tate, who started the first few games of this season, is officially done for the season with a knee injury. Original starter Isiah Cage is still iffy to return due to concussion issues, which shelved him twice in 2022. But according to sources, his return to the lineup has not been ruled out. Situations like Cage’s require extreme caution.
The good news is that newly acquired OL Ryan Hunter is already in uniform today, wearing #62, and getting up to speed for Toronto. The former 2018 Argonauts first-round pick was a healthy scratch last weekend after spending four years south of the border in the NFL. It remains to be seen how quickly Hunter is inserted into Toronto’s starting lineup. But with Trevon Tate done for the year. And Isiah Cage, a giant question mark. Hunter could find his way starting at offensive tackle before long.
On top of all that, Shane Richards, who has played the role of super sub for Toronto at tackle and guard, is not practicing due to a quad injury. Ryan Hunter could be needed immediately, with no other viable tackle options on the roster.
Double Blue Backfield Getting Reinforcements
After several weeks of only dressing two backs on their roster. AJ Oullette, and rookie Daniel Adeboboye, who has become a special teams standout. The Argos are inching closer to having a fully-fledged backfield.
Declan Cross returned to the lineup last week after the team went without an active fullback for a month. Coincidentally, Toronto had their best rushing day in Week 16 since the early days of Andrew Harris in Double Blue. Joe Carbone (calf) is back practicing in full and could be rejoining Cross in the fullback room.
RB/KR Javon Leake (hamstring) is also back practicing in full. He’s made two trips this season to the injured list. The CFL rookie has shown flashes as a runner, receiver, and returner. But injuries have limited him. AJ Ouellette has adeptly assumed the entire load as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker at running back. But a healthy Leake could prove a nice change of pace. But more importantly, Toronto, which has the worst return game in the league, needs a boost in that area, and Leake can prove that.
Will The Toronto Argonauts Ever Get Eric Rogers At 100%?
The Argonauts have had so many prominent players on their injured list miss significant time that you almost forget that certain people are still on the roster. Exhibit A: WR Eric Rogers.
Rogers (quad) is back practicing this week for Toronto. Albeit in a limited fashion. Whether or not he can return for Saturday’s game with his former team is questionable. But the ultimate question is whether he can stay in the lineup when he does eventually return.
Rogers has made two trips to IR this season, having only played parts of one game in 2022 against Hamilton in Week 9. Before going on the shelf again. Rogers was instantly inserted in the Argos starting lineup in favor of Brandon Banks. But couldn’t finish the game.
A year ago, Rogers started the season for Toronto on a tear (25-346-3tds) but got hurt and played only six games in 2021. He returned for the East Final and made an immediate impact but was hurt again. The 1,000-yard receiver who caught 85 balls and ten touchdowns in Calgary back in 2019 hasn’t been on the field long enough to match those efforts with Toronto.
At 6’3 215, Rogers is one of the most physical receivers in the CFL. An outstanding blocker with great value as a pass catcher in the red zone. He was one of Ryan Dinwiddie’s prized signings coming over from Calgary. But to this point, it hasn’t worked out.
It remains to be seen how soon Rogers can make his way back to the field for the Boatmen. Then there are questions about how good Rogers can be and for how long?
However, there’s no denying the value Rogers can bring to Double Blue’s offence. Toronto has a good problem at receiver, with a crowded room that features Kurleigh Gittens, DaVaris Daniels, Brandon Banks, Markeith Ambles, Juwan Brescasin, Damonte Coxie, and others. But a healthy Rogers could take Toronto over the top offensively.
On a related note, the Argos announced today the release of American WR Isiah Wright. The recent addition of returner Jeremiah Haydel and the impending returns of Rogers and Cam Phillips make Wright expendable at this point. Wright was brought on for his return skills. But with Javon Leake also making his way back. The numbers game caught up to him.
TWO ARGOS NAMED CFL TOP PERFORMERS FOR WEEK 16: DB MAURICE CARNELL & QB McLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON
The accolades keep coming the Argos’ way as they sail towards the playoffs for the second year in a row. Today, the CFL announced that QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson and DB Maurice Carnell IV were named Top Performers for Week 16.
MBT has been a top weekly performer in the league on multiple occasions in the last few seasons. After all, he led the CFL in passing majors in 2019. And currently leads the league in passing yards (3,672). So his inclusion here is not surprising. He’s played at a top level all season.
The real story is Maurice Carnell IV. He is having a breakout campaign in Canada. That’s a testament to excellent coaching by DB assistants Joshua Bell and William Fields. But the full credit goes to MCIV. Carnell has persevered in the CFL as a fringe player to become a legit ball-hawking starter.
He was a standout in camp this summer but narrowly missed the final cut. The Argos were lucky to get him back. Carnell has four interceptions, one sack, and a major after rejoining the team in August. Making the transition from America to Canada is always challenging. But Carnell has taken to playing defensive halfback after biding his time as a reserve. His play has been so good that re-inserting star Shaq Richardson into the starting lineup seems like a tough call.
Below is today’s press release from the Toronto Argonauts Football Club.
TORONTO – The Canadian Football League announced today that DB Maurice Carnell and QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson had been named CFL Top Performers for Week 16.
Carnell had a career day Saturday night in the nation’s capital, intercepting two Ottawa passes, returning one 35 yards for a major while adding five tackles in the Argos 45-15 rout of the REDBLACKS. The first-year Argonaut who was injured in training camp this year, subsequently released and added back to the roster in early August, has made a name for himself in just six games. The California native is tied for third in the CFL in interceptions with four and has added another 21 defensive tackles. Carnell has been a big part of an Argos defence that has contributed to a plus-nine turnover ratio, second best in the CFL. The second-year CFLer helped Toronto clinch a home playoff date for the second year in a row with the win Saturday night.
Bethel-Thompson completed 21 of his 29 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns in the win vs. Ottawa. The fifth-year Argonaut leads the CFL in passing yards with 3,672 yards, is atop the league in completions with 302, has the second most completions of 30+ yards (21), and sits third in passing touchdowns with 19. Saturday was the second time MBT has thrown for three touchdowns this season, and the pivot is on pace to set new career highs in all major statistical categories in 2022.
|2022 Toronto Top Performers (Week/Month)|
|Andrew Harris (7)|
|Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (7, 14)|
|Jamal Peters (12)|
|Maurice Carnell (16)|
|McLeod Bethel-Thompson (16)|
|Wynton McManis (August)|