As the Toronto Argonauts look to move forward under a new regime, the players are looking up to the leaders on the team to point them in the right direction.
Alden Darby Jr. and Declan Cross have been through the ups and downs over the years with the Toronto Argonauts going from Grey Cup champions in 2017 to back-to-back losing seasons.
With training camp well underway, the coaching staff has the tough task of trying to get many new faces to come together in such a short time. It’s also why head coach Ryan Dinwiddie made it a point to say that he wanted to put together a group of leaders to help him in that regard.
This has been a noticeable change that Darby and Cross have noticed right off the start. It also helps that players are eager to get things going after such a long layoff.
“We got some good leadership from the top down, and we’re just out here working,” Darby said. “We had the game taken away from us, not due to injuries, not due to being released, but something in life happening. And so, when something like that happens in your life, we don’t take it for granted.”
Along with the group of veterans are a lot of rookies and young players that will need to be brought into the fold and while the veterans have to earn their spot, many are showing the way as well.
On offence, Cross is doing everything he can to learn by watching those he’s sharing the field with and isn’t shying away from trying to improve.
“Everybody’s doing things in the right way…I spent some time playing with Ricky Ray, who did things the same way,” Cross said. “I was (with him) earlier on in my career, and I would just watch everything he did I still do that with everyone else. The learning never stops.”
This is especially true when you consider that for this team, it’s all new under a rookie head coach who is trying to instill his systems but also understands that there is a pace that has to be followed. It also shows how calculated the moves the front office staff made in the off-season.
They didn’t just bring in Dinwiddie and hope what he learned in Calgary can be replicated in Toronto. Michael “Pinball” Clemons and John Murphy went deep into the Stampeders roster to get enough players who are familiar with the standard that is needed to be successful.
What are your thoughts on the Argonauts’ chances to be a contender this season? Can they get this group to gel in time for the season? Let us know in the comments below.