Ryan Dinwiddie is going with McLeod Bethel-Thompson as the Toronto Argonauts starting quarterback against the Calgary Stampeders.
There are many decisions a head coach has to make that are critical to a team’s success and Ryan Dinwiddie already had to make a crucial one before the Toronto Argonauts get their season started.
With Nick Arbuckle suffering a hamstring injury during training camp, Dinwiddie said he didn’t want his quarterback to rush himself back and make it a long-term issue. Arbuckle had been working his way back getting reps in practice this week but it always seemed like the team was leaning towards McLeod Bethel-Thompson in Week 1.
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It’s one thing to throw a quarterback into a game when he hasn’t had adequate practice time but it’s another when that game is against your former team. On top of that, the Calgary Stampeders present a significant challenge on their own so having Arbuckle at his best was going to be crucial but that lingering thought of aggravating his hamstring and not having the timing down is too much of a risk to take.
Fortunately for Toronto, this is a situation that Bethel-Thompson has seen before and the team feels confident that he can step in.
"“He’s picked up the offence,” Dinwiddie said to reporters after practice Thursday. “I thought he’s taken the next step in his career.”"
Give Dinwiddie credit because you bet Arbuckle was trying to sell his case to the coach to play him. It’s not only the right call in this situation but the smart one as well.
Former Stampeders players finally get homecoming since joining the Toronto Argonauts
One of the main storylines heading into the season opener is the fact that many former Stampeders players will be returning to Calgary for the first time since joining the Double Blue.
The team made it a point to try and bring in players familiar with Dinwiddie’s offence in Arbuckle, Eric Rogers, Juwan Brescasin and DaVaris Daniels. On defence they brought in Cordarro Law (who won’t play because of a knee injury), Shaquille Richardson, and Robertson Daniel along with defensive backs coach Joshua Bell.
Many of these players will be counted on to get the Argos going right off the start considering their experience. They are also going to do their best to keep their focus squarely on winning the game.
"“This is a business trip,” Rogers explained to Salim Valji of tsn.ca. “I go there expecting to win, like I do every game. Just go out there and try to win, put some points on the board. That’s the main goal.”"
This will be the first time the Argos won’t have Sean McEwen anchoring the offensive line as he decided to sign with Calgary in order to be closer to home. His loss was the most significant one the Argonauts faced and considering how tough it is to find quality offensive lineman especially Canadians, you can bet his loss will be the Stampeders game.
What are your thoughts about the decision to starting Bethel-Thompson over Arbuckle? What are your expectations heading into the season opener? Let us know in the comments below.