Argos Still a threat in the East

Tiresome of talking stadium, MLSE, and BMO.
Hamilton is in the same situation as Toronto to start the season.

Schedule
Toronto weeks 1-5 3 straight weeks in the West a bye Week and week 5 in BC. Maybe, maybe not a bad thing. Here is where Braley's money could help.
Games 1,2,3 Edmonton, Regina, and Calgary. Some team bonding as they could stay out west for the duration. Nice practice facilities in Saskatoon could be available to rent and keep them close but out of any of the main CFL cities. U of Alberta and Regina also have first class practice facilities.

Weeks 6-12: 3 home games and two in Hamilton gives them the ability to game prep for 5 home games with hamilton being a short drive. Advantage of having their own practice facility now

Week 13 bye week. A very good part of the season to have a bye. Right in mid September. NFL Training camp final cut downs will be just getting done and NFL Practice Rosters begin to get set by this time.
Aside from any new Internationals there will likely be several former CFLers international and National will become available as free agents. Some National draft picks as well could be aquired via trade.
Often overlooked Arena Football season also ends the end of August. Not publicized too often but plenty of CFL starters and All Stars have come from AFL over the last few seasons.
The Argo's acquired both Starting LTs Tony Washington and Sir Vincent via AFL.

Weeks 14-20: The final 7 games include 5 home games with weeks including the final 4 weeks 17-20 all at home and all on Friday or Saturday. There will be no more trips west with the two road games being in Ottawa and Montreal.

You make some good points, Steve. The Argos are miles ahead of last year, with a brand-new practice field and training centre at Downsview. It's unfortunate their stadium is unavailable in July, like in Hamilton, but that's just a one-time event. Other teams will also be effected by the World Cup games (that darn soccer again! :wink: )

I sense the balance of power shifting to the east this year.

It's a two team race between Toronto and Hamilton, with the Argos as the team to beat.

Let's be realistic - - the hopeless Ottawa team has ZERO chance of competing. Not that their clueless fans will know what's going on anyway.

And Montreal is MUCH closer to how they played in the first half of the season than in the last half.

not sure about the defense, the Ottawa offense should be about 100 pts better, assuming the best players stay healthy

CFL Free Agency

Argo's have been criticized for not being active in CFL free Agency.
They did lose players in Free Agency. 4 starters from last season but two were to the NFL leaving only 2 to other CFL teams.
DB Jahlil Carter and WR John Chiles to NFL.
LT Sir Vincent to Ottawa and National WR Spencer Watt.

Overlooked are transactions made ahead of free agency.
First able to sign their former 1st round draft pick MLB Cory Greenwood late in 2014. Three season on the Chiefs roster mostly playing special teams and also a back up MLB from 2010-2012.
2013 on the Lions IR.
This enabled them to trade Shea Emery to the Riders for the return of Ricky Foley. Still a Premier pass rusher but also a national to boot.

They also re signed their own key potential Free Agents. Specifically National OL Tyler Holmes and top DI Curtis Steele RB/Teams star. Among others.

They also began re stocking International receivers last season with young NFL late cut Free Agents with time spent on NFL Practice rosters. Since Milanovich arrived they have had success with such new international Receivers Inman and Chiles who both moved to the NFL.

Ottawa should be much improved and certainly challenging for a playoff spot in the East with Montreal. Hamilton looks like the class of the East but what happens if Collaros gets injured again? What is Plan B??

The only hope the league has improving overall is if teams can further develop their QBs... BC is in the worst shape of all because they are fooling themselves if they think Lulay will be even half the qb he was before... I really hate to be negative, but the best thing for the Lions future would be if Lulay suffers a complete and total separation in training camp, so that Lions can move on and find the next Lulay... As for Willy,Crompton and Collaros. It is imperative for the whole league that they improve as much as Reilly did last season.. If the quarterbacking does not improve dramaticly in our league, there will be a repeat of last year and falling asleep while watching punt teams practice. At any rate there has to be at least a 30 percent reduction in penalties as well...
As for the power shifting to the East... Meh

Jesus. What brought this on? :?

While I'm not crazy about Burris or Demarco, imo Ottawa offensively looks a lot better than last season (on paper anyways). If their defense can be as strong as last season and they can start a decent kicker, I believe Ottawa will easily be a competitive team fighting for at least second in the East. At the same time I believe it's a two horse race for first between Hamilton and Toronto, both good teams, but I have to give the edge to Hamilton as I currently see them as the better team and also the team that looks as though they will improve over last season. Toronto imo is going downhill. Montreal so long as they keep starting Crompton will be mediocre at best imo, the team is getting older and IMHO last season was.just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much they'll continue to descend.

Welcome back Area. We missed ya! :lol:

DEFENSE

On the D side of the ball Tim Burke was able to acquire a lot of pieces for his new defense in 2014. Heading into 2015 he has only lost Jalil Carter to the NFL. So far they have actually improved on the Dline in the return of National DE Ricky Foley in exchange for National MLB Shea Emery who will be replaced by National MLB Cory Greenwood after a good run in the NFL.
Overlooked is their National Content on defense.
They have two starting quality National Safeties in Matt Black and Jermaine Gabriel. In a time where more National DBs are playing other positions than safety. Gabriel has the ability to develop at Field CB as well. Also Shane Herbert is developing quickly after missing 2013 with an injury. 6'1" 200 also potential at CB as well as safety.

Vetran James Yurichuk again has proven he can do more than play Teams. when called upon last season made an impact as WillLB as well as having experience in starting at MLB. Of Course the finally getting former first round Pick Cory Greenwood solidifies the MLB role.

On the D line a young Cleyon Laing has been a mainstay at DT among a rotating 3 man crew. Will be joined now by Ricky Foley THE premier National Pass rusher. Having these two on the Dline gives the Argo's a flexible rotation with a combo of International Dlineman. With starters at S and MLB for sure give them 2 solid ratio spots on defense.

At the DB/SAMLB the Argo's return a crew of very good expereinced international to fill in the starting line up. Vet Alex Suber acquired last season. To go with Robinson, Ware, Agnew, washinton, among others who have made the move from NFL to CFL within the last couple of seasons.

The one big hole that needs to be filled in the starting line up is at WillLB.

Always there will be new international around the league that emerge as impact players at every position. Toronto will be no exception.
Burke and GM Barker have been around the CFL for a long time and know how and where to find new internationals.

OFFENSE

Returning of course is Ricky Ray at QB. Back up Trevor Harris will be now entering his 4th season and has developed into a top young back up.
Milanovich is among the top QB guru's and offensive minds in football. Under Milanovich Marcus Brady a former CFL QB has developed into a top OC and Milanoviches right hand.
They will need to fill the hole at LT left by Washinton and Rogers who both left within the last year.
The Core of the Oline returns with National standouts Tyler Holmes, Jeff Keeping, and RT Van Zeyl solidified starters. International Jariel King has quietly become a top Utility Olineman who can start. Matt Sewell returns for a second full season and likely will become among a top National OTs very soon. Whether he is ready for LT spot yet is unsure.

RB - Steve Slaton emerged as a the Argo's number 1 back. Steele and National Hybrid Coombs fill out a solid RB unit.
At receiver the SB duo of Owens and National Durie will anchor the unit. Coombs as well will be packaged in at SB.
There will be some newer faces at receiver. With not resigning Jason Barnes or Darvin Adams means that Milanovich has found better options.
The use of a trio of National TE/FBs led by Zander Robinson will play big in the different looks and packages on offense.
Milanovich has proven to be along the lines of Huff and Dickenson in Calgary where he will always have a plan and players in place to execute it.

Special Teams

Walters hands down is the best kicker in the CFL. He is truly the one Kicker who can do it all at a high level.
Punting for distance he can flip the field. Deep Kick offs give the defense an advatage. FGs 50 yards is well within his range.

Owens importance as a receiver led the Argo's to relieve him of Kick off return duties. This season may also lead to someone else or a combo of players to handle punts on a regular basis. Coombs in year two could be one of the options on punt returns. A sure handed Bradwell used in certain situations as well. Steele duties could also include being one of the main KO returners. Owens may appear on long FG tries.

They have talent, agree with that.

K, here is my problem.

Toronto have lost national starters in Watt, Rogers and a backups in Woodson, Brown and Mitchell. Who else have they signed that improves their team? Mike Davis? Sure he's a prospect but not a game changer. Emrey for Foley? Sounds like a neutral trade to me. No one else. So basically the team that failed to make the playoffs, has only lost players and not made any big signings and has the same coaching staff is going to become dominant in the division? That doesn't make any sense.

Ottawa on the other hand has only improved, finally using their cap space muscle to it's fullest and signing exactly what they needed, some good receivers to compliment Marcus Henry.

Hamilton, who won the division, has pretty much maintained the exact same team, save losing a couple O Linemen and losing Delvin Breaux to free agency (although did lose an excellent backup in Ellingson and might lose Bakari Grant).

and Montreal is the team to watch out for. They've lost one impact player in Duron Carter and replaced him with Fred Stamps AND Nik Lewis and depending on your opinion, upgraded Dave Stala with Sam Giguere. They challenged up to the last game of the season, and have only improved during free agency IMO.

So in my opinion, no I don't think the Argos are a threat in the east if they don't do something during free agency, and I think with the fan support being as lacklustre as it has been, and rumors of management gong shows and cheapskating due to the lease/sale, I don't think they are going to be able to make a big splash on that front until those rumors clear. Meanwhile, you have Ottawa and Hamilton with brand new facilities and sellout fanbases, one with money, one with a winning claim to being back to back east division champions, I just don't see it happening. I see another 3rd in the east performance, which likely is going to end with a BC or Winnipeg crossover.

I would keep Watt over Bradwell 10 times out of 10. I was so disappointed to see him leave. Especially last season he was much more effective than Bradwell

well emery for Foley was even but you leave out that Cory Greenwood has finally returned from the NFL so that is an addition they did not really have last season. So Foley and Greenwood as National starters on defense a major upgrade.
They lost an offense skill player in Watt but Coombs will be in his second season and can line up in a number of places on offense.
Lost Rogers at RT who is an international but Sewell is in year two now and could make a good Canadian content on the Oline even better.
Did not re sign Adams or Barnes who played much at receiver for a team that did not make the playoffs. So they are looking at not just Davis but several other imports that have been developing or at least had signed during thoctober expanded PR roster. Who they see as upgrades to anolder Barnes and injury prone Adams.
That is the same way that Inman and Chiles emreged. They were not name receiver on the CFL FA list but were scouted through US scouting.

Sure Watt is better than Bradwell but adding Foley and the late addition last year of Greenwood and the defensive National content is much stronger and will strongly hold two ratio spots with depth.
On offense they will not need to start two National receivers. there will be 4 Nationals on the Oline including an all star RT and a top young OL in Holmes. to go with Durie. Coombs can pick up the offensive production lining up in a number of places.

Wow, how does loyal dedicated fans who never gave up their support get labeled clueless ? Just wow.