Toronto Argonauts: Trevor Harris Deserves to Remain as Starter


Toronto Argonauts: Trevor Harris Deserves to Remain as Starter

Fresh off the weekend’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, D-Day is looming for the Toronto Argonauts. They will soon have to decide who they want as their long-term starting quarterback, at least for the remainder of this season.

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It some respects, it’s a good problem to have. Regardless, when it comes down to crunch time, will Scott Milanovich go with Trevor Harris or Ricky Ray?

In theory, the choice is obvious –  you pick Ray, who is set to come off the six game injured list, pending an update on his recovery. (Ray is throwing, but there is no firm timetable yet on when he will be ready to return.) And it’s perfectly understandable to pick the guy with over 50,000 career passing yards and three Grey Cup rings, including one with Toronto.

However, I’m here to argue that the decision isn’t that straight forward. In fact, if it was down to me (a scary scenario I’ll admit), I would select Harris.

Before I give my reasons why, I would like to stress for the record that I have absolutely nothing against Ray. The guy was a breath of fresh air when he came to Southern Ontario, infusing new life into a franchise that desperately needed it.

Aug 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray (15) throws a pass against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, this decision is based on pure objective analysis. As such, I make no apologies.

The easiest place to start is with the team’s record. Despite playing five of their first six games on the road, Harris has led the Double Blue to four wins.

As things stand, the Argonauts are tied for the lead in the East Division, and are averaging the most points per game in the CFL. The team is second in total offensive yards, and first in passing yardage.

Turning to his individual performances – while recognising that football is the ultimate team game – the Waldo, Ohio native stands out even more. He is leading the CFL in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdown throws and passer rating.

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Now, I’ll admit that I’m a big statistics guy, but I realise there’s more to the game than just putting up pretty numbers. If there wasn’t, then Peyton Manning would be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.

In that respect, sometimes you have to just trust your eyes and look at what’s going on in front of you. Along those lines, Harris has shown an ability to deal well with adversity.

Whether it’s recovering from a loss, or coming back in the fourth quarter, the former Arena Football league player has an impressive mental fortitude. This is a priceless commodity that can’t be overlooked.

As a final point, don’t forget all the offensive injuries Harris has had to contend with, while keeping the Argonauts afloat. To lose starters of the quality of Chad Owens, Andre Durie and Jeff Keeping for varying degrees of time, but continue to perform, is nothing short of amazing.

Taking all of the above into account, it’s boarding on insane to consider handing the reigns back to Ray as things stand. Besides, leaving all sentiment aside, surely it makes sense to continue with Harris under centre, rather than risk losing the momentum the team has gained?

Now of course, there is no certainty the 29-year old will continue with his current form, but he deserves to keep playing until further notice? Worst case scenario, his performances drops off dramatically, and you give the ball back to Ray.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter what I think. Ultimately it will come down to Milanovich.

The question is, will the Argos head coach follow his head or his heart when deciding? As long as Milanovich uses the former, I trust him to make the right call.

Next: The Argonauts are the real deal