The Toronto Argonauts will look to win their first game of the season with the Edmonton Eskimos visiting BMO Field.
Hopefully third times a charm for the Toronto Argonauts coming into Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Eskimos with a 0-2 record.
The team got a major wakeup call against the Calgary Stampeders in their home opener getting beat at all three phases and losing Ricky Ray to a severe injury. It was clear after the loss that Marc Trestman wasn’t pleased with the result and put most of the blame on himself.
It doesn’t get any easier with Ray out of action but a good challenge for other players who haven’t played at their best yet.
James Franklin will be getting his first start with the Argos against his former team. He’ll be looking to earn more starts since Trestman hasn’t given him the keys past this week.
The 26-year-old brings a different dimension to the offence with his ability to run the ball, and as Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun notes, he also has a strong arm.
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At the same time, the will look for the running game to get going. James Wilder Jr. leads the team with 76 yards, eight behind Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly. In fairness to the running backs, they only have 20 carries combined through two games.
It won’t be an easy game for the defence as Reilly has a strong group of receivers and are second in the league with 1,020 yards through the air in three games.
In comparison, the Argos have 374 through two games and in the CFL that’s not going to cut it, especially with only one passing touchdown. Getting conversions on second down will be vital to keeping Reilly off the field because the more possession time he has, the more he’ll look to pick apart the Argos defence.
In week two against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Edmonton allowed Mercer Timmis to rush for 133 yards on 17 carries and Jeremiah Masoli added another 59 yards himself.
That’s something the Argos will look to exploit considering they have running backs capable of making explosive plays in Wilder Jr. and Martese Jackson. Brandon Burks will also be dressed in this game and many will remember his play from preseason.
The Argos will be starting three national receivers against the Eskimos as Llevi Noel will get his first start of the season. He joins Jimmy Ralph and Malcolm Williams as the three Canadian receivers looking to get an opportunity get Toronto’s offence going.
As Ziccarelli points out, Ray has been with the team in meetings so that veteran presence isn’t gone but the questions will be whether the team can turn things around without their most valuable player.