Toronto Argonauts: Players know it’s on them to get back on track

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 know that with the playoffs coming up they need to eliminate the mistakes that are mostly self-inflicted.

The last two games were tough losses for the Toronto Argonauts as they came down to the final moments of the fourth quarter. Even though they lost those games, the team will still host a playoff game either on November 12th or 19th.

However, those two losses could’ve easily been wins for Toronto, making their path to the Grey Cup easier and the players know that.

“Anytime you get in the playoffs it gives you a shot,” said Chris Van Zeyl. “It is comforting but we are nowhere near where we want to be.”

It helps that the last two games were against two playoff teams in Edmonton and Saskatchewan. Now they can take what happened in those two games and make the necessary adjustments.

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“It is really just consistency, it is our own game,” said Van Zeyl on what the team is looking to improve on. “It’s not so much the whole unit it is each individuals coming making sure they are doing the right thing every player, working together which builds continuity and consistency.”

“Looking back at those two games with the missed opportunities, nobody is doing anything to beat it we are doing it to ourselves.”

The team has been trying to hone in on those details in practice and the team knows that it is up to them to pull through.

“It makes it more frustrating but it gives you piece of mind knowing that as long as we take care of our own stuff we can play with any team in this league,” said Van Zeyl.

It has not been easy for Toronto, with all the changes made in the offseason, learning from a new head coach but it has made the journey rewarding.

“We’re thankful, we worked hard to get there but there is still more out there for us to do,” said Lemon. “There is still a lot of growth for us, we need to play more consistent football and we still have another opportunity to get first in the East.”

Next up on the schedule is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who have been hit with some tough injuries. They sit four points up on Edmonton and Saskatchewan for second in the West so they will look to solidify their position with a win.

“They are a good challenge for us, a good measuring stick at this point in the season,” said Lemon. “They are one of the few teams that play great at all three phases of the game.”

For the past few weeks Lemon has been forced to observe from the sidelines as he deals with an injury. Losing a player of his caliber is never easy but he credits the front office for bringing in players that have been able to step in with injuries piling up.

“It’s good for us, for a player like myself I can do the things that I need to do to get my body right,” said Lemon on the depth brought in this offseason. “I don’t have to rush back to get on the field and have the fear of going out to early and hurting myself again.”

One player that has impressed Lemon is defensive tackle Dylan Wynn who signed with the team back in May. The rookie has played in 13 games this season recording 32 tackles and six sacks.

“He’s been like a sponge since he got here” “I remember the first day I met him when he was at rookie camp,” said Lemon on what makes the 24-year-old effective. Like many others, the veteran believes that Wynn should get serious consideration for most outstanding rookie for his play this season.

“He has been putting in work, good diligence in researching productive defensive tackles like Almondo Sewell and Michael Johnson to see what they were doing right. He’s done his homework and been producing, I look at him as one of the best defensive tackles in the league.”

Lemon’s status is still not confirmed yet for Saturday but he did practice with the team on Wednesday so there is reason to believe that he can make his return to the lineup. That decision will be up to Marc Trestman and the medical staff on whether he will be able to get in.

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That will be something to watch as the team prepares for a tough Winnipeg offence led by Matt Nichols who is second in the league with 27 passing touchdowns and Andrew Harris who is third in rushing with 871 yards.