Toronto’s efforts reloading for the 2012 CFL season have been well publicised but can all the new parts turn this unit into contenders for the 100th Grey Cup? Al Dannity examines a promising Argonauts team that has a lot of questions to answer.
No shortage of pressure
The Argos are expected to deliver every year but this season carries with it an extra element of demand from fans. With the 100th Grey Cup being played in Toronto, the Argonauts are expected to produce a team capable of making it to the biggest game of the year. Championship expectations are hard to live up to when you’re coming off a year as dreadful as the one suffered by the Argos in 2011. Last year’s 6-12 finish brought their regular season record since 2007, the last time they won the East Division, to a shocking 22-50. With just one trip to the playoffs in that four season span, the Argos didn’t need a push start so much as a new engine in 2012.
About that new engine
When you’ve got a record 15 Grey Cups and history is calling, you don’t wait around for a miracle. The Argos made big moves to improve their roster in the off-season. Ricky Ray was acquired via trade from Edmonton, a massive upgrade to Toronto’s quarterback situation. With Jarious Jackson as his back-up, the Argos look set under center for this season. Ray will also aid the receiving corps, an ailing part of the Argonauts’ roster. While Chad Owens was a revelation last year, the chemistry Ray has with Jason Barnes and Maurice Mann from their days with the Eskimos will be a big boost.
Even with the big changes under center, it’s going to take a lot for Toronto to overcome the Bombers and Als in the East this season. No-one is more aware of this than head coach Scott Milanovich. In his rookie year leading the Argos, Milanovich has to balance expectation without diminishing confidence in the Toronto fan-base.
He is already fielding questions about a possible run to the Grey Cup. “My answer to that question, because I know I’m going to get it every single day, is going to be boring and the same: We would want to win, and win the Grey Cup, no matter where it was,” Milanovich said Saturday after the first day of Toronto’s three-day mini-camp. “And so to me, it really doesn’t put any more pressure on us. It is always the goal for every time in this league.”
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