By Lacrosse Boss (Not Mike, I'm just posting it)
After missing the Grey Cup by just this much last year (ok, so you can't see my hands, they're this far apart)(dangnabbit!), the Toronto Argonauts have been raring to go like no other season. Twitter has been full of tweets this week from the big men ready to get at it starting tomorrow. I feel like I'm at the circus watching the caged lions waiting for their chance to bite the tamer's head off. I hope Jim Barker brings his whip to camp.
Says Rob Murphy on Twitter (@BigMurph56), "All the fat guys were running today." I haven't seen that since the Santa Claus marathon. Restaurants in Toronto beware!
It's setting up to be an exciting camp for the Argos coming off last year's turn-around performance. The team will look to improve on offense. The goal for this team is the Grey Cup, if not this year, then next when it is in Toronto in 2012 for the Cup's 100th anniversary. They say defense wins championships, if that's true the Argos will be fine. But they also say offense wins you games, and unfortunately you have to win some games to make the dance.
The biggest question mark before opening day will be behind center at Quarterback. The boatmen will bring five pivots to camp with no one holding a clear #1 position. That battle should rage between last year's starter Cleo Lemon and newcomer Steven Jyles. The inside track for third string is Dalton Bell at this point but BJ Hall could be right there snap for snap. As good as Danny Brannagan is, and was when he led Queens to the Vanier a few years back, he isn't good enough yet to compete with this group. The Argo brass will be watching him closely but he's at least a year away.
Later on this week I'm going to introduce you to one of my key players to watch this season: Andre Durie. Durie's story on coming to this team is a great one. He was ranked #2 in the draft next to now retired Jesse Lumsden at one point, before blowing out his knee and missing two years of football. He's back now, and playing as good as he was when he set records at York. Durie's role has slowly increased the previous three seasons, mostly out of necessity, but he's answered the bell every time. Watch for him to excel on special teams if he doesn't get touches receiving or at running back. This guy can do it all.
Finally, Jim Barker returns for his second full season as coach of the Argos (this time anyway). Last season he sold the team on his strategies, and it paid off in an Eastern Conference Final. This year, with an entire camp to coach, not teach, his gameplan, the team is hoping to take it one step further and hoist the hardware in November.
Argos football is back fans! And it's better than ever. For the first time in a few years, there is optimism in training camp as fans, players and staff look forward to kickoff.