Toronto Argonuats: What needs to change following winless start

Bo Levi Mitchell #19 of the Calgary Stampeders suffers a knee injury as Aston Whiteside #51 of the Toronto Argonauts tries to stop him during a CFL game at McMahon Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Bo Levi Mitchell #19 of the Calgary Stampeders suffers a knee injury as Aston Whiteside #51 of the Toronto Argonauts tries to stop him during a CFL game at McMahon Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Argonauts season has not gone as expected after an 0-4 start and while there is still time to turn things around, a lot will have to change in order for it to happen.

Frustrating, disappointing, displeasing, disheartening, concerning. Those are many words that could be used to describe the Toronto Argonauts season so far after an 0-4 start and three blowout losses.

It is hard to be optimistic considering how much has gone wrong and how little has gone right but if you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that the season is just starting and on paper, this team should be performing at a higher level.

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That is probably the most concerning part, this team should be better and when you watch them struggle to put together consistent drives, make a stop on special teams or a breakdown leading to a big play for the opposing team you wonder whether this team is capable of turning things around.

Getting that first win will continue to be a challenge for the Argos with Calgary being the next stop on their western road trip. Even though Bo Levi Mitchell isn’t starting at QB, the Stampeders are still one of the top teams in the West Division.

Regardless, the Argos need to find a way to break through on this road trip because they cannot return home 0-6 and here some ways they can do that.

Coaching staff needs to get team in right mindset

It is tough to see a team give up a touchdown on special teams on the opening play of the game but to be down 14-0 in the first quarter with the defence only being on the field for one snap is inexcusable.

We’ve heard the players say that most of the problems are self-inflicted and while it’s admirable to see them take ownership of their mistakes, they also need to learn from them. Now, it’s one thing to lose a game on a couple of mistakes but for it to happen on multiple occasions shows that the issues aren’t being vetted properly by the coaching staff.

"“We have to get out of our own way,’’ McLeod Bethel-Thompson told Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun. “I think we have to go back to the drawing board. We know we have 14 more games left. The other teams aren’t going to stop showing up. We have to show up and be the team we want to be.“It’s going to take a lot of leaders, it’s going to take everyone in the locker room being together seeing the team we can be. When we become that team it’ll be fantastic. Right now we’re not playing that way. It’s not pretty.”"

Seeing players on offence confused about where they need to be as they leave the huddle, fumbling when returning an interception or failing to execute on the goal line is not just a player issue. This doesn’t fall just on Corey Chamblin but also on the coordinators.

It doesn’t help that the team didn’t have a mini-camp and it’s going to take time for Chamblin to get the players to play they want him to but at some point some their needs to be some tangible improvements.

 Continue to feed Derel Walker

If there is one thing the Argos did right against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was get the ball to Walker.

The star receiver made nine catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns but that wasn’t enough to put the offence in a position to be successful. It would have been nice to see the Argos get their receiver going earlier but you could say that for the entire offence.

At least a strong performance from Walker will force opposing defences to pick their poison when it comes to coverage. Winnipeg got caught using single man coverage at times allowing more space for Walker to get open. If teams decide to put another defender on him, it could allow for Armanti Edwards and S.J. Green to get softer coverage down the field.

Getting off to a better start offensively

Through the first four games of the season, the Argonauts have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter. This has been putting a lot of pressure on the defence to keep the opposing teams from taking the game over.

When you look at the offensive struggles you can’t just point to one area the team needs to improve on. Sure, against the Blue Bombers they had more success moving the ball down the field but it came later in the game when the score was out of reach.

There has been a lot of talk about how not getting the ball to Walker, James Wilder Jr. struggling to provide a breakthrough performance from start to finish and the quarterback play not being good enough.

One thing, however, head coach Corey Chamblin wanted to make clear is that he wants the players to be focused on making plays to help the team rather than worrying about themselves.

"“They all want that opportunity to change the game,’’ Chamblin told the Toronto Sun. “We’ve had several opportunities and it doesn’t come down to one opportunity.“That’s just part of this game. You want guys with fire and passion, emotion. We have to make sure it’s directed in the right way and not end not scrounging for points.”"

Going into Thursday’s game, the team is going to start Rodney Smith over Llevi Noel who you might remember caused an interception when he couldn’t hold on to a pass from Bethel-Thompson.

The offensive line will also be without Randy Richards who suffered a knee injury against Winnipeg which won’t help a unit that has given up the second-most sacks in the league.

So how does the offence get off to a better start?

Well, it would be nice to get a touchdown early in the game to put the team ahead because they have struggled to get a lead this season. It would also mean that Calgary would have to respect the run game more so and Bethel-Thompson doesn’ continue making the tough throws to get the offence down the field.

Next. Argonauts special teams sink them in loss to Blue Bombers. dark

The Argos will play against the Stampeders on Thursday with kickoff at 9:00 p.m. EST. What do you think the team needs to do to get things going and finally get in the win column.