The Toronto Argonauts have named James Franklin the starting quarterback against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and hope he runs with it.
It has been a long wait for James Franklin to return as the Toronto Argonauts starting quarterback and it will be up to him to decide how long he remains in that position.
After being named the starter heading into the season, an injury forced him to take a backseat with McLeod Bethel-Thompson taking over for the past 10 games. Bethel-Thompson has thrown for 3,090 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and had a 2-8 record as the starter.
Franklin lost both starts he’s made this season throwing for 582 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and eventually came in for Bethel-Thompson during Toronto’s Week 15 loss to Calgary.
More from Tip of the Tower
- Cam Phillips making his mark on Toronto Argonauts offence
- Toronto Argonauts: 4 storylines ahead of matchup against Redblacks
- Federico Bernardeschi ready for new challenge with Toronto FC
- Toronto Argonauts overcome Roughriders in entertaining Touchdown Atlantic
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith
Head coach Corey Chamblin said it was a tough decision to go with Franklin as the starter because of what Bethel-Thompson produced but he felt like it was time for a change to be made.
"“In that latter part of the game, there was a little bit of spark with James,” Chamblin explained. “Where we are in the season you’re looking to not just have a little bit of offensive output but generate some points.”"
Understandably, things haven’t been going well for Franklin who was hoping to prove he was a capable starting quarterback in the CFL. Last season, he got the chance to step up when Ricky Ray was injured but after four games, Marc Trestman decided to go with Bethel-Thompson.
Whether or not Franklin sees his future in Toronto or with another team in the league, the final six games of the season will say a lot considering the Argos also traded for Zach Collaros who could be brought back next season depending on his health.
When it comes to the message from Chamblin and general manager Jim Popp, Franklin said it all comes down to staying positive and help the team win.
"“It’s a good challenge facing so many things before and the same thing kind of like last year,” said Franklin. “I was telling Derel [Walker] today the African proverb, ‘If there is no enemy within the enemy outside can do no harm,’ and that’s really that hardest thing [the internal battle] and I think I learned a lot from it.”"
The 28-year-old is hoping to go back to his aggressive mindset which made him stand out during his time with the Edmonton Eskimos. He noticed that when he came to Toronto he was conditioned to not take a big risk and be careful with the football.
He will get a good chance to show what he is made of against a tough Roughriders defence who like to get pressure on the quarterback. One thing Franklin will try to do more of is not sit in the pocket if he notices the play breaking down and using his legs to give his receivers more time to get open.
An important key to success will be to get the ball down the field and mix things up as he did when he came in against Calgary and made a big play to Armanti Edwards and connected with Derel Walker in the endzone.
For the Argos sake, hopefully having Franklin at his best will give them something to think about and hopefully get back on the same page in terms of where things lie heading into next season.
What are your thoughts on Franklin starting against the Roughriders? Do you think it was the right decision? Let us know in the comments below.