Their common season was humbling and the the off-season is about to outline the subsequent few years for the Toronto Argonauts as they attempt to hit the reset button on what no one inside or outdoors the group was predicting — a final place end only one yr after hoisting the CFL’s final prize.
Briefly, basic supervisor Jim Popp has to discover a coach, plot out the franchises plan underneath centre and handle a defence that was not anyplace close to the place it was left the yr earlier than.
A late rent in 2017, Popp wasted no time bringing in his proper-hand-man in Marc Trestman to assist flip the ship round briefly order. Regardless of ending simply 9-9, the membership discovered traction down the stretch and was capable of put collectively a Gray Cup run many didn’t see coming.
A yr later and Popp has an extended to-do record.
The Argonauts are and not using a head coach after Trestman’s dismissal in November and have 43 pending free brokers — greater than another workforce.
How a lot will the present state of the roster impression Popp’s capability to lure the sideline boss he needs? Time will inform however potential vital turnover might work as each assist and hindrance to him.
On the one hand, Popp can hand his new coach a clear slate and the pliability to select and select who of the pending free brokers he wishes. The draw back is the standing of future corridor-of-famer Ricky Ray stays a thriller and neither James Franklin or McLeod Bethel-Thompson made the case to be the runaway selection beneath centre for years to return.
Certainly one of two groups with vacant head teaching spots, the Argos have been linked to quite a few head teaching candidates together with DeVone Claybrooks (who appears poised to sign up BC), Paul LaPolice and Corey Chamblin.
Chamblin appears to have the within monitor based mostly on nothing else aside from he and Popp have been noticed taking in a Toronto Raptors basketball recreation final week after the previous defensive coordinator had considerably fallen off the CFL map in 2018.
Chamblin spent the 2017 season because the Toronto Argonauts defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach and assistant head coach. Chamblin helped spark the Argos defence on the workforce’s run to profitable the Gray Cup that season.
Final off-season, Chamblin left for the NCAA, touchdown a job with the College of Arkansas.
PENDING FREE AGENTS
The aforementioned lengthy record of free pending free brokers stands proud for the Boatmen however the majority of the starters on the defensive aspect of the ball. Linebackers Bear Woods, Alden Darby, Marcus Ball and defensive deal with Dylan Wynn headline a gaggle that may hit the market February ought to they not re-up.
There are plenty of gamers that might fall underneath the ‘depth’ class on the FA listing however that shortly turned a precedence for the Argos final season after the damage bug bit and bit onerous.
» VIEW LIST OF 2018 PENDING FREE AGENTS
The Argonauts may have the primary decide within the Might’s Draft which can tackle their ratio however the cabinet is way from naked relating to high quality Canadians. Third-yr receiver Llevi Noel made a reputation for himself within the Argos offence as a dependable goal and the staff continued to make use of sophomore fullback Declan Cross each as a blocker and out of the backfield.
The Argos are additionally in fine condition alongside the offensive line the place Sean McEwan and Chris Van Zeyl anchor the trenches.
Defensively there are some influence Canadians which might be eligible totally free company. Jermaine Gabriel has began nearly all of his profession at security however has run into damage hassle in recent times. The Argos have relied closely on Matt Webster and Robert Woodson who’re nationwide depth defensive backs that additionally might hit the market.
Does Ricky return? No matter whether or not Ray is again, the Argos have to discover a succession plan and until they exit and actively put cash right down to signal a pending FA, certainly one of their two different pivots on the roster are going to wish to show that they’re certainly that man.
Bethel-Thompson had a scorching begin however cooled off virtually a shortly. Trestman and co. continued to show to the previous UCLA sign-caller till a late-season efficiency by Franklin pressured a change. Franklin confirmed glimpses of what many across the league believed he might obtain however couldn’t recover from the hump in what at that time was a misplaced season for the Double Blue.
Outdoors of the top coach, that is the Argonauts’ most blatant query mark within the off-season.
This is likely one of the few positions the place change isn’t essentially on the horizon. James Wilder Jr. is clearly the beginning tailback heading into his third season and there’s strong depth on the place with Branden Burks (ought to he re-signal) and Dexter McCluster behind him. Anthony Coombs is flexible and can issue into the operating recreation sometimes and Cross has been probably the most productive fullbacks within the recreation.
The Argonauts struggled with depth at receiver this season. Except S.J. Inexperienced and Armanti Edwards, Toronto was unable to discover a constant group for any quarterback behind centre to throw to. Duron Carter was introduced in down the stretch after his launch from the Roughriders however was underutilized in Marc Trestman’s offence. The dynamic cross-catcher is a pending free agent and Popp may have a choice to make if he needs to maintain Carter within the double blue or let him check the open market.
Toronto’s GM may have his work minimize out for him making an attempt to rebuild the Boatmen’s move-catchers in the event that they need to enhance on their Four-14 season.
The Argonauts had flexibility on their roster final season with loads of nationwide expertise to fit in at offensive line. However with 4 of their Canadians pending free brokers – Jamal Campbell, J’Michael Deane, Tyler Holmes and Chris Kolankowski – Popp might want to lock some, if not all, of them down earlier than they hit the free agent market.
This place group can be a precedence within the coming months.
The absence of Victor Butler, who didn’t return to the Argonauts in 2018, was felt final season in Toronto and the staff completed final within the CFL in sacks with 24. Nationwide Cleyon Laing was the staple on the group’s D-line and can return subsequent season however with Canadians Dylan Wynn and Cameron Walker and internationals Ken Bishop and Frank Beltre all pending free brokers, work will have to be finished on the defensive aspect of the road of scrimmage.
Accidents devoured the Argonauts linebacker group in 2018, particularly down the center. Veteran Bear Woods was injured for a lot of the season and his alternative Marcus Ball additionally missed time with accidents. Each are pending free brokers and Popp will probably attempt to re-signal the veterans to start out constructing the group.
His brother, Jordan, crammed in for the injured Solomon Elimimian in BC and impressed everybody however is Justin Herdman prepared for a beginning position in Toronto? He’s signed on to return subsequent season and maybe the Argonauts will need to transfer him from particular groups to the beginning lineup.
Defensive again was yet one more place group on the defensive aspect of the ball that Toronto had quite a few accidents on. Starters Johnny Sears Jr., Cassius Vaughn and Abdul Kanneh all missed time sooner or later within the season with accidents because the secondary struggled to seek out any consistency all through the season.
Whereas 2017 Gray Cup hero Matt Black is locked in to return to the double blue, Sears Jr., Vaughn, Kanneh and Alden Darby are all pending free brokers. Darby will probably be an enormous precedence for Popp this off-season as he was a constant playmaker for the Boatmen in what was an in any other case forgettable season.
Zackary Medeiros is a pending free agent however with Drew Brown signed on to stick with the Argonauts, Popp might let the kicker stroll and check the free agent market come February.
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