Toronto Argonauts have a week to right the ship after historic loss

Members of the Toronto Argonauts wear pink tape in support of women's cancer awareness in the month of October. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Members of the Toronto Argonauts wear pink tape in support of women's cancer awareness in the month of October. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

Coach Chamblin and Toronto Argonauts leaders vow to learn from Saturday’s terrible defeat at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Toronto Argonauts have nowhere to go but up after Saturday’s home opener.

For many of those in attendance, Saturday’s Toronto Argonauts 2019 home opener will not soon be forgotten.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats steamrolled their long-time rival in a game that got uglier as it went on, ending in a 50-point blowout that was the worst loss in many of the Argonauts entire careers.

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The game dampened what was supposed to be a celebratory day for Argos fans, as the franchise passing leader Ricky Ray was honoured moments before kick-off.

By the end of it, Argos fans were being noticeably drowned out by the Hamilton faithful who made the trek on the QEW to cheer their team on.

All in all, it was a rather disappointing affair – especially when you consider the hope and confidence the Argonauts felt coming into the game.

But Grey Cups aren’t won in the month of June, and as the old adage goes: it’s a long season.

The CFL’s playoff format ensures competitive races late into the season, and the Argos will be the first to tell you that just getting into November is the goal, after their 9-9 2017 season ended with them hoisting the Grey Cup.

The season is far from over, and the Argos know that. But now the true test comes.

After such a devastating defeat, how will this coaching test right the ship?

After speaking with head coach Corey Chamblin, it’s clear that the Toronto Argonauts are using this loss the only way they can – as an example of what not to do, and a game plan to avoid repeating at all costs.

"“[Today] everything we had has been exposed.” A visibly deflated Chamblin said post game.“That’s the positive in it. We need to work on all sides of the ball, and we’re going to continue to do that.”"

Chamblin brushed aside the easy excuse he could have used, that injuries plagued the team at an unholy rate, even rendering the team to at one point playing a middle linebacker as a free safety.

Instead, he (smartly) focused on coaching, shifting the blame from his players and putting them squarely on the coaching staff.

"“It starts with me. With a loss like this, you look across the board. There’s clearly a lot of things we need to get better at.”"

For a man suffering one of the worst coaching debuts imaginable, he said all the right things.

But saying isn’t doing, and unfortunately for coach Chamblin, there’s clearly a lot to do.

Up next is the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team in desperate need of a win of their own.

The 0-2 Roughriders started the season with two road games against Hamilton and Ottawa, losing a one-score game in both of those matchups.
So how do the Argonauts ensure that the Roughriders home opener goes as bad as their own?

It starts with James Wilder Jr. and the running game.

Wilder had six carries for 12 yards in the game on Saturday, and struggled throughout to establish himself against the Ti-Cat defence.

Through 3 quarters of play, the Argos had yet to earn a first down via the run, and their position in the game led them to almost abandon the run entirely.

"“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot.” Wilder said. “ Once you get behind the 8 ball, it’s hard to come back running the ball. We got beaten in all phase of the game. We took an old-fashioned butt whooping.“"

Still, the former CFL Most Outstanding Rookie echoed his head coach’s sentiments about building from this loss.

"“Instead of using this L as a Loss, we need to use L as a lesson.” Wilder said. “We got to learn from it.”"

The Argonauts will have over a week to study this “lesson”, before they take the field for the CFL’s marquee Canada Day game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

A good result in a bounce-back game could lead to smooth sailing through a busy first half of the season that sees the Argos on the road for almost a month.

Another performance like Saturday…and some will feel it’s time to jump ship.

Next. Argonauts need to find right mindset following embarrassing loss. dark