Back in 2012, the last time the Grey Cup was being hosted in Toronto, the Argonauts looked like they might end up making their city proud, and they did. Squeaking into the playoffs with a 9-9 record, they soon found themselves in the Grep Cup game, beating a Calgary squad helmed by Kevin Glenn, a future Hall of Famer. Ricky Ray was healthy, the defence seemed to block almost everything, and the team as a whole gelled at the right time.
Flash forward to now. Ricky Ray is out injured, again. The quarterback carousel has been in full swing, with Drew Willy (formerly of the Blue Bombers) now at the helm. The defence shows flashes of its old self, but is beyond repair. There is no reliable passing game, with only QB Dan Lefevour showing signs of life, albeit in one game. Rich Stubler’s strategies are now worn and predictable, while is seems Scott Milanovich can’t seem to get anything going on offence, period.
Add to the fact that the Argos recently dumped most of their receiving corps, and you have a team potentially beginning a rebuild in a year where some thought that they might have a shot at making the Grey Cup which is coincidentally being held in their own stadium. There are more questions than answers right now, and what is happening on the field shows in their attendance as well, with BMO Field looking half-empty more often than not.
Perilous times indeed for one of the CFL’s marquee franchises. It will however, get worse before it gets better. Expect to see Jim Barker and Milanovich looking for new jobs by the end of the season; that might even be accelerated if the Argonauts keep losing games as fast as they are. Stubler might also be gone, as will some of the players. They made the decision to keep Ricky Ray and work around him at centre.
One might wonder what the team would have looked like if the Argos had instead kept Trevor Harris, and some of the other young guns they’ve let slip through their system. Surely, the team would be in a better position to succeed.