Toronto Argonauts look to secure the East Division at home

A helmet of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
A helmet of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Argonauts could be without two key members of their defence when the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to town.

If the Toronto Argonauts are going to lock down the East Division they will have to do it without the services of linebacker Marcus Ball.

The 30-year-old is considered week-to-week with a foot injury and the team could also be without Bear Woods who underwent tests on Friday even though he was listed on the depth chart.

Playing in Ball’s place will be Terrance Plummer who has shown versatility in this revamped Argos defence and is ready to step into a crucial role.

“It’s next man up,” said Plummer on the challenge to replace Ball. “I don’t ever want to have my teammates feel that because Marcus isn’t out there that I cannot provide the same type of energy, the same type of talent that he does on the field.”

The 24-year-old credits Ball for mentoring him while watching film and on the field and feels that coach Corey Chamblin has done a good job to prepare guys on the defence.

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The challenge for Plummer will be stopping former NFL running back Trent Richardson who will be making his CFL debut.

“Anytime you can get a guy of Trent’s caliber to come up here to come play it is always good for the league and for us because it tests us to see where we are.” said Plummer who hopes to bring the same tenacity and passion that Ball does.

His teammates are excited to see what Plummer can bring with Ball out especially because he has been competing all year long.

“Missing Ball is always huge but TP is a baller,” said safety Jermaine Gabriel. “In training camp he was fighting for the number one spot so we know he is aggressive and we will be fine with him in their [for Ball].”

Gabriel is no stranger to seeing players rotating in and out of the lineup missing time this season along with other key members on defence. He credits the way the coaching staff has been able to get players up to speed and management for the way they have surrounded this team with depth at every position.

“No matter where you are on the depth chart [coach Chamblin] makes sure that you are ready,” said Gabriel on the focus towards preparing the players coming in.

“You could be in the meeting and the last player on the depth chart, he’ll call your name and ask you a question to make sure that you are mentally focusing on what is going on.”

Head coach Marc Trestman said that Akeem Jordan could play in Woods’ spot on Saturday. The former NFL linebacker was signed to the practice squad back in September but has not suited up for the Double Blue yet.

The Argos head coach is also looking forward to what the young linebacker can bring in a more crucial role in the lineup.

“He’s excited I can tell you that. He’s an excitable guy,” said Trestman.

“The guys love him, and he is going to out there and play hard run to the ball real hard. I think he has been a really key factor for us as we have moved along, a big part of our special teams and now he steps up into an important position starting on the defensive side of the ball.”

Ricky Ray continues to takes hits to make plays

The Argos quarterback knows that his style of football puts him in a position to take some punishing hits but it is also allows him to be successful.

“For me, that’s kind of my game,” said the 37-year old on Monday. “I’m not the most mobile guy. Most other quarterbacks probably avoid some of those hits by getting out of the pocket. It’s just part of my game to stand in there and unfortunately take some of those.”

Saskatchewan presents another tough challenge after losing to them earlier this season but they are ready for whatever they can get on the offence.

“They have a great rushing attack, some great players that can get to the quarterback,” said James Wilder Jr. “We have to lock in on our defence because we let them get some hits on Ricky, we want to keep him protected for sure.”

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One way will be through the rushing game after Saskatchewan allowed 187 yards on the ground against the Ottawa Redblacks. They will have some motivation knowing that they can lock up the East Division with a win plus a Redblacks loss this weekend.