Toronto Argonauts need to work on execution against Redblacks

McLeod Bethel-Thompson #4 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
McLeod Bethel-Thompson #4 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

First in the East Division remains up for grabs which is why Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Redblacks against the Toronto Argonauts.

At no point in the season can any team be taken lightly and that’s something the Toronto Argonauts won’t be doing against the Ottawa Redbacks.

While they have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2017, first place in the CFL’s East Division should be the goal for this team. It not only guarantees them a BYE into the East Division Final but it also ensures they have home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Considering Toronto has enjoyed most of their success at BMO Field going 5-0, they don’t want to make things harder on themselves if they don’t have to. Right now, they remain ahead of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes but the gap is too close and the Argos still have one more game to play against their QEW rival.

Against Ottawa, the Argonauts are obviously favoured and had an impressive 35-16 win at BMO Field where their defence and special teams were the bright spots. On Saturday, the team should have one thing on their mind and that’s finding ways to execute more big plays on offence.

They have shown it at times especially in the second half against Hamilton and in the first half against the B.C. Lions.

At practice this week, head coach Ryan Dinwiddie was less than pleased with how his offensive line was performing during offensive drills. He wanted to make sure the veterans were remaining accountability and remained focus in the moment.

"“I think we got some veteran guys who have an opinion of how good they are and I haven’t seen that translate necessarily on game day and so the focus has to be there in practice and during the walkthrough,” Dinwiddie explained. “You can’t just show up and expect to play well. Some of the mistakes are ones we’ve made before and I understand that some guys make mistakes but to make the same mistake twice doesn’t sit well with me. So there were a few of those happening during walk-through and we addressed it and hopefully, learned from it.”"

Dinwiddie said his team can’t just show up and expect to win because it’s cost them in the past especially on the road. He knows his team understands what’s at stake in this game.

At the same time, there are players in Ottawa who are playing for a job next season and want to play the spoiler in this game. One player to keep an eye on his Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges who is making his first CFL start and wants to make an impact with his new team who have nothing to lose at this rate.

"“There’s definitely a lot of excitement. This is a great group of guys, great teammates, great coaches. Now that I know I’m going to (start) there’s a lot of excitement and I’m ready to get out there,” Hodges told reporters.“It’s OK to be excited. It’s OK to go out there and have fun and jump around. That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to go out there and have fun and try to put our team the best position and best situation to win the game.”"

Toronto Argonauts defence getting healthy bodies back from injured list

On offence, the Argos have to move Philip Blake to centre with Peter Nicasro out with a knee injury. Fortunately, Juwan Brescacin is back from a frightening injury as he tries to provide a spark on offence.

On defence, Shane Ray and Cameron Judge are back from injury while Justin Tuggle will likely slide into Dexter McCoil Sr.’s spot as he is out with an elbow injury. Getting Ray and Judge back is crucial for the Argos defence as they are going to be crucial during the stretch run.

The team also made sure to add some insurance at the linebacker position in Nate Holley. The 2019 CFL Rookie of the Year was signed this week but has to go through quarantine before he can join the team.

It’s uncertain what type of role the team expects Holley to play but there’s no doubting he’s a top-end player. Holley had 78 defensive tackles, a sack and an interception as a rookie in Calgary and also saw time in the NFL.

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What are your thoughts on the upcoming matchup against Ottawa? Can Toronto find a way to produce more on the offensive side of the ball? Let us know in the comments below.