Toronto Argonauts: Chad Owens key to chances in Hamilton


Toronto Argonauts: Chad Owens key to chances in Hamilton

The Toronto Argonauts head into Hamilton, knowing the next two weeks could go a long way towards defining their season. The Labour Day Classic represents the first of a back-to-back against the hated Tiger-Cats.

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With both teams standing at 6-3, the two games will more than likely decide who wins the East Division. As such, it’s imperative that the Argonauts take advantage of the opportunity in front of them.

However, if the Double Blue are to seize the moment, it will mean overcoming their recent struggles on the road against the Ti-Cats. Toronto is 1-7 in their last eight regular season visits to Hamilton, including 0-2 at Tim Hortons Field.

Of course, Scott Milanovich and the Argonauts will not accept any excuses, despite the task in front of them. Moments like this are when the best players rise to the occasion, no matter what the circumstances are.

Along those lines, Toronto today welcomes back one of their very best player’s, with the return of Chad Owens. The four-time CFL All Star has missed the last four games with an ankle injury.

However, as Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun reported, Owens has practiced every day in the lead-up to Monday’s game. In many respects, he has looked as good as you can expect, for someone who is returning from injury.

Aug 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich during a game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Winnipeg 38-21. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ironically, his last action was in the previous matchup with the Tiger-Cats, when he had arguably his worst outing of the year. Owens finished the game with just three receptions (for just 21 yards), including none in the second half of the 34-18 loss.

Around the same time as his injury, there were claims the 2012 CFL Most Outstanding Player was already having a below-par campaign. One theory claimed he had no chemistry with his new quarterback, Trevor Harris, resulting in just 26 receptions, 288 receiving yards and one touchdown catch.

However, this theory doesn’t hold up, considering that stat line comes from just five games, including the final one, when Owens injured his ankle. In fact, if you prorate those figures over an 18-game campaign, it reads as 94 catches, 1,037 yards and 4 touchdown receptions.

Suddenly, the claim that the 33-year old has no synergy with Harris, looks absurd. The 94 receptions would equal his career-high, and the receiving yardage would actually be the second-best of his CFL career.

In any event, head coach Milanovich is looking to get Owens heavily involved in the game against the Ti-Cats, as he told Zicarelli and the rest of the media: “He’ll be the No. 1 (option) plenty of times.”

When asked how often he would like to get the ball to Owens, Milanovich said: “As many as he can get. We always try to get him the ball.

“I’d like to get him 10 touches. (However), sometimes it works out to be a little bit more and at times he gets far less.”

Overall, with the return of the five-time CFL East All Star, the Argonauts now have most of their key offensive players available. (Ironically, the one exception is star quarterback Ricky Ray.)

As such, Milanovich believes his offense is ready for the challenge presented by Hamilton: “I expect us to play well…We’ve had a great week and I like our game plan.

“We’re playing an elite defence and I couldn’t respect (Ti-Cats defensive co-ordinator) Orlondo (Steinauer) more than I do and what he does. But I feel confident going into the game.”

Next: Trevor Harris ready for Labour Day Classic

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