It is common in the CFL to see a team enter into a rebuilding year, but it is uncommon to see a team rebuild from this rebuilding year.
The Toronto Argonauts are an exception to this rule.
Entering an off-season where change was necessary, nay a necessity for the Argos, the sense of urgency has just not been present. Toronto finished 3-15 last season, missing the playoffs for the second season in a row.
So, what has the team done to fix the sinking ship? The Argos failed or chose not to re-sign special team’s demon and multi-dimensional threat Dominique Dorsey as well their leading rusher and most dominant offensive player Jamal Robertson.
Come on Toronto, are these really the actions of a team trying to improve?
Then there has been the quarterback debacle. Kerry Joseph, Cody Pickett and Stephen Reaves were all released in the off-season, meaning the Argos were looking to completely restock at that position. Their replacements are Dalton Bell, Danny Brannagan, Gibran Hamdan and Cleo Lemon.
Taking a quick glance at their stats, these four quarterbacks have combined for zero completions, zero yards and zero touchdowns as none of them have ever seen playing time in the CFL. Joseph and Pickett did struggle last season, but does Toronto really think these four are a better option?
There were some better options at the quarterback position available for the Argos. Steven Jyles, who ended up signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was chomping at the bit to start for a team in the CFL and has more experience than any of Toronto’s four quarterbacks. Heck, while we’re at it, Michael Bishop and Buck Pierce are both still on the market. On the trade front, Toronto could have made a push for Jarious Jackson or Adrian McPherson, two backup quarterbacks with tremendous upside. While trades are not necessarily ideal, the Argos could have re-signed Robertson, instead of releasing him, then trade him. The B.C. Lions, who Jackson plays for, ended up signing Robertson anyway.
When it comes to Jackson, sources have said Toronto is not interested. Interesting, let’s examine the stats. Jackson has a career 455 completions, 6,476 yards and 50 touchdowns. What about Toronto’s four quarterbacks? Oh yeah, zero, zero and, you guessed it, zero.
Going forward, Toronto has no experience at the quarterback position, no running game, a relatively weak receiving core and a defence that is still not what it used to be. But one of the most questionable moves of all was the decision to sign Jim Barker instead of Scott Milanovich to become the head coach.
Milanovich has spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Montreal Alouettes, creating an explosive offence and helping the team win a Grey Cup last season. Barker has not been a head coach since 2003, when he led the Calgary Stampeders to a 5-13 record. Milanovich could have improved Toronto’s offence and apparently would have signed with the Argos had he not received such a remarkably low contract offer.
The only defence for Toronto’s terrible off-season could be that they are trying to get younger. The team decided not to pursue older players like Wes Cates (30), Jackson (32), Robertson (33) and Joseph (36). If this is the case, then why did they trade receiver P.K. Sam (27) for Jeremaine Copeland (33)?
The other seven clubs in the CFL have got to be excited to play the dreadful Argos next season.
After finishing last in the league last season, Toronto has managed to get worse in the off-season. Now that’s hard to do.