Losers of three in a row to begin a new season, the Argos are looking and playing like the same old team that ended 2018 by dropping nine of its final 10 games.
Sloppy, far too often lacking execution, devoid of offensive creativity and ingenuity, it reached the stages of laughable late Saturday night when the Argos had a chance to pull off a win.
But then came an inexcusable kick out of bounds, the beginning of an end to an 18-17 defeat that epitomized all that is wrong with this unit.
Virtually everything associated with the Argos must be and has to be re-evaluated because this kind of performance and lack of awareness has been allowed to fester far too long.
MLSE has shown no signs that it is — or ever will be — completely engaged in this franchise, providing peripheral support when its full attention is required.
It says a lot when one guy, Bill Manning, is asked to oversee two franchises, but everyone knows his mandate is with soccer’s TFC. And that is probably why both the football and the futbol sides of the MLSE empire are operating well below expectations.
At least fans continue to show up for TFC games.
Argos fans are growing more and more concerned and frustrated.
By the time the Boatmen play their next home game, Aug. 1 against Winnipeg, you might be able go into the stands at BMO Field and count the family and close friends in the seats.
Saturday’s visit by B.C., which entered the night with an 0-3 record, provided the Argos with their best chance so far of getting a win.
The chances now are bleak with the real possibility this group may actually begin the season with an 0-8 record.
It’ll say a lot about MLSE’s intentions if nothing gets done to improve the current state of the Argos.
Even when they won the Grey Cup two years ago, at no point during the season did the team ever have a winning record. Last year, it finished with just four wins, prompting changes, but there’s an argument to be made that the changes didn’t go deep enough because MLSE wasn’t willing to absorb the financial costs.
Two solid football men — and quality people, we must add — in general manager Jim Barker and head coach Scott Milanovich left the organization following the 2016 season. Barker was released. Milanovich finally had enough in the wake of Barker’s dismissal and decided to accept a position with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
One has to go back to the one-third pole in 2016 CFL schedule to find the most recent time the Argos, at 4-3, had a winning record. But since those heady days, the Boatmen have compiled a woeful record of 13-37, which includes losing 11 of 12 to end the 2016 campaign.By any standard, that is unacceptable.
Much like the Raptors this past spring, the Argos got lucky two years ago in the playoffs when they won their second title in the Ricky Ray era.
If ever the Argos’ current lot was to be summed up, it arrived during TSN’s live-mic game Saturday night after they finally showed some offensive continuity by driving the field, scoring a touchdown and completing a two-point convert that tied the game, 17-17, with 40 seconds remaining on the clock.
Then came Drew Brown’s shanked kickoff that went out of bounds, giving the Lions excellent field position and plenty of time to secure the winning points.
“What are we doing?’’ head coach Corey Chamblin could be heard saying. “Is this a joke? Really?”
It really was comical. And it got worse when the Argos had no one in the back of their end zone for the Lions’ attempted field goal with three seconds remaining.
But after the Lions were penalized for illegal procedure and had to re-kick, the Argos put Chris Rainey in the end zone. When Sergio Castillo’s attempt from 42 yards went left, Rainey hauled it in only to have his foot on the back line.
Game over. Lions get the single point, an 18-17 win and a first victory as a rookie head coach for DeVone Claybrooks.
Such a calamitous ending, such a comical and utterly incompetent way to lose. And to think this sinking ship is about to take on even more water. The Argos visit Winnipeg on Friday night with the Blue Bombers the best team, and only undefeated team in the CFL.
Then comes a game in Calgary where the Argos have lost five in a row.
The Eskimos will play host to Toronto on July 25 before the Argos return home for rematches against Winnipeg and Edmonton.
To be fair, the Argos did show signs of improvement defensively against the Lions.
Still, the unit yielded a late go-ahead touchdown toss to receiver Lemar Durant with no one within five yards of him.
But even though the subsequent kickoff went out of bounds, the defence had to make a stop and it failed, allowing Mike Reilly to complete two passes to move B.C. into field goal range.
Offensively, the Argos have three TDs in three games. In Toronto’s two home games, it took theM until the game’s final two minutes to score a major against the Ticats, waiting until the final minute to penetrate the end zone Saturday night. On Canada Day in Regina, the Argos didn’t score a major until a two-hour weather delay allowed the game to continue.
BETHEL-THOMPSON IN NEED OF CLARITY
He had a 300-yard passing night and completed 76% of his passes, yet McLeod Bethel-Thompson couldn’t lead the Argos to a win as the team’s new starting quarterback.
Going back to last season, the Argos have dropped seven in a row with MBT as their starter. It’s not all his fault, obviously, but something needs to be done to get this unit moving in the right direction.
“He’s the consummate pro,’’ said head coach Corey Chamblin of his veteran. “He’s going to put the time in. He knows he has to get better (for) the offence to get better.
“He has to move the ball and see (the field) clearer and Jacques (offensive coordinator and QBs coach Chapdelaine) needs to change things around to make sure he (MBT) sees clearer.”
What’s clear is that this Argos offence is far too predictable.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019