- Reeve Batstone
For the second week in a row a winnable game slipped through the Argos fingers. Last week I said that Calgary would win but I was surprised that it was close and that the quarterbacking from Bo Levi Mitchell was so poor. He made poor decisions and threw the ball erratically. Calgary's QB passing efficiency was only 59! Meanwhile, MBT's was a modest 71. Both teams were missing their best offensive players: Kadeem Carey and Andrew Harris. Both teams lost their offensive identities with them out of the lineup and they looked confused.
The Argo secondary was outstanding with three interceptions and excellent coverage, with but one mistake by McFadden on the first play of the game. My only criticism is that their tackling needs to improve. Its too often high and they are not wrapping. (Muamba was guilty of this too). McManis led the team in tackles again. Bede was four for four in field goals.
MBT was sacked five times! Meanwhile the Argos had zero sacks. The Argos defensive line needs to get better pressure on the opposing quarterback and MBT needs to get the ball out faster. Matt Dunigan was bang on when he said MBT looked like he had the ball velcroed on. The last time the Argos won the Grey Cup they allowed the least sacks in the league on Ricky Ray, over the second half of the 2017 season, while their defensive ends Victor Butler and Shawn Lemon feasted on opposing quarterbacks. The Argos lost the battle to Calgary at the line of scrimmage, on both sides, for the second game in a row. Oakman and Ray did not register a stat. Ja'Gared Davis had two tackles. Unless they can start getting to the QB they need to consider more playing time for Robbie Smith, Sam Acheampong and now Deionte Knight. God is on the side of the team that controls the line of scrimmage.
Brandon Banks was only targeted 3 times! They need to find a way to get him the ball in space. He is the closest thing they now have to a playmaker. Untimely drops by the receivers when they needed it most is killing this team. They make MBT look much worse than he is. He is getting booed for getting sacked although he threw behind and over his receiver on two plays that cost them 7 points for and 7 against. Unless the receiver's group starts catching more consistently, they should be forced to watch replays of the BC Lions making contested grabs over and over for Nathan Rourke. The Argos signed Rogers, Daniels, Ambles and Brescasin as free agents from Calgary. They signed Banks from Hamilton. The only receivers they have developed themselves are the Canadians they have drafted; Gittens, Nield, and Brissett. Gittens has proven to be the most consistent and durable. On the other hand, they have developed and then cut some pretty good receivers and returners now playing for other teams; Chandler Worthy, Mario Alford and Bralon Addison to name three.
I mention this to make a point. The Argos have drafted Canadians extremely well over the last three seasons. In contrast, they have not found and developed a single American star on offence outside of free agency other than MBT himself. He is the reigning East all star at QB. Their US scouting needs to catch up to their Canadian scouting. Other than passing on Nathan Rourke and Tre Ford they have not made any missteps unless you consider that Shane Richards who was first overall in 2019 is still not a regular starter while rookie Gregor McKellar is starting.
I loved the TSN comparison of AJ Oullette to a Canadian. He also looks a lot like Ante Milanovic-Litre of the Elks in both appearance and running style. They are both hard runners and deceptively fast. Litre is a true national while Oullette was a teammate of Nathan Rourke's at OHIO University.
TSN has made much of the betting lines on its broadcasts this year. Meanwhile, apart from Ben and JB one of the CFL's best handicappers is CP's Dan Ralph. His record in predicting winners this year is 36 and 7, including a perfect 4 and 0 this weekend.
Finally, the Argos face Hamilton twice in a row. They will need to split these two games at a minimum if they hope to finish first. Two losses would be disastrous and may also put a playoff spot in serious jeopardy. They need to get off the schneid now before losing becomes a habit and talk of mutiny emerges on this ship. Much better performances from their receivers and offensive line will be necessary to make this happen. The D line also cannot go sackless again. Their best players need to be at their best now. The coaches can't make the blocks and catch the passes.
Despite the fact that they are taking on water, I will take Argos at home and Hamilton away.