Toronto Argonauts: How they move ahead without Ricky Ray


With Ricky Ray expected to miss significant time from his latest injury, the Toronto Argonauts will need to rely on their depth in James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

In past years, the Toronto Argonauts did not have a strong contingency plan when Ricky Ray was not behind centre. This offseason they looked to address that by trading for James Franklin from the Edmonton Eskimos.

During training camp, Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson received praise from head coach Marc Trestman for their performance and both got equal reps in preseason action.

As of right now, Franklin has the edge on the depth chart as he came off the bench when Ray got hurt. The 26-year-old completed eight passes for 65 yards and rushed for a touchdown, the only one the Argos offence was able to get in a 41-7 rout by the Calgary Stampeders.

Obviously, all the attention was on the health of Ray who was taken to the hospital and released the following day after he was diagnosed with a neck injury.

"A report that surfaced on Wednesday said that after meeting with doctors it was recommended that Ray not return this season."

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This is not an easy situation for any player to step into considering the circumstances and the Argos offence struggling to execute. Could Franklin provide the spark that the team needs? They will need him to be.

Fortunately, Toronto is on a bye week so the coaching staff has a week to sort through the changes with Ray out. Trestman made it clear in his postgame comments that his team is not translating what they do in practice to the game.

If Franklin is the starting quarterback going forward he will have some extra motivation since his first game will be against his former team as the Eskimos make the trip to BMO Field on July 7.

The dynamic between Ray and Franklin will be different as Franklin is seen as a more upbeat type of player. He will look to take command of the huddle and try to give the offensive line some options with his ability to run with the ball like he did on his rushing touchdown.

He is also not afraid to go deep through the air but that won’t matter if his supporting cast isn’t able to make plays; James Wilder Jr. leads the team in receiving yards with 90, S.J. Green is second with 71.

That’s not going to cut it considering how other teams are finding success, especially in the red zone.

Next: 2018 season already looking like an uphill struggle

That will be the biggest challenge for the Argos coaching staff to figure out and luckily they had the early bye week to get them away from a tough start.