Argos to bring back a Lemon

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No wonder Cleo Lemon had trouble completing passes at times during his first season in the Canadian Football League.

The Argonauts learned on Tuesday that Lemon, who started all but one game at quarterback in 2010, played for at least the final two months with torn ligaments in his throwing hand.

“He’s a gutsy kid,? Argos head coach Jim Barker said on Wednesday from Phoenix, where he is enjoying some down time.

“His hand hurt bad when he was holding the ball.?

Lemon will have surgery but Barker said it’s too early to tell when the 31-year-old will be healthy.

Lemon wore a glove on his right hand and there were indications as early as September that he was trouble holding on to and throwing the football.

The Argos finished 9-9 and won the East semi-final against Hamilton before they were thumped in the East final by Montreal, but Lemon won’t have many great memories of his initial professional year north of the Canada-U.S. border.

Lemon had just 15 touchdown passes with 19 interceptions while throwing for 3,433 yards.

As for the quarterback picture as a whole, some changes will have happened by the time camp opens next June.

Lemon will be back, as will his backup, Dalton Bell, whom Barker thinks will challenge for the No. 1 job.

Matt Grothe, who had been on the practice roster, is in the mix as he was one of five players added to the active roster on Tuesday.

But Ken Dorsey will not return. The third-stringer for most of this past regular season, Dorsey will retire and try to embark on a coaching career.

Canadian Danny Brannagan will be back, Barker said.

The plan is to add at least one more quarterback during the winter so there’s a healthy competition in camp.

“I’m expecting to have four (not including Brannagan),? Barker said.

“That’s a good number for us. Grothe has a lot of good qualities, and he has to get in a game and play. We have three or four other guys on our radar, but you don’t want to sign them too early.?

And if Argos fans are hoping that some improvements come via free agency when the doors swing open in mid-February, they don’t have to hold their breath.

Barker is not planning to be overly busy at any position when the CFL’s free agency period starts in mid-February.

“I don’t really expect to be active,? Barker said.

“I don’t believe you build through free agency. You have to build with good drafting and a good scouting system, and the occasional trade.

Dual roles?

“With free agents, you usually end up over-paying. There just aren’t a lot of players that you would go out and over-pay for.?

The Argos aren’t sure who will be the general manager once Adam Rita’s contract expires at the end of the calendar year, but Barker appears destined for dual roles.

As it is, Barker and the front office staff are working on re-signing a number of Argos who have the potential to go free in February, including three starters on the defensive line — Kevin Huntley, Ronald Flemons and Eric Taylor — as well as slotback Jeremaine Copeland and special teams captain Bryan Crawford.

Improving the Canadian content continues to be one of Barker’s big mandates.

It will happen naturally in some cases as receiver Spencer Watt will challenge for a starting job, as could Steven Turner, who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, an injury that occurred in training camp.

“There are always major additions and deletions, but I expect to have the same core of guys next year,? Barker said of his roster.

“The players now know what needs to be done, and they know the recipe for winning is there.?

i don't think you can chalk-up lemons mental mistakes to torn ligaments.
how many times did he toss up an air-ball in the red zone, when he should have taken the sack?
can't blame the ligaments for poor dicision making.

For sure he hand didn't help but he simply wasn't great last season. Not horrible but he still has a long way to go. Its smart to keep him around for a while. A lot was invested in him last year and it would be foolish to toss it away. While he may not turn into a Callvilo (at least not for a while), he's better than anything else the Argos have and has gained a lot of very valuable game experiance. He will with out a doubt be better next year.

Then why the heck was he still playing? If he didn't tell the team and kept playing, he was being selfish. If he did tell them and they kept playing him, then shame on them.


Along the lines of this previous post and others, Lemon also needs better personal around him than just the extraordinary Boyd for sake of the core play-action offensive strategy and set of the Argos.

Consider Calgary and Saskatchewan running each often similar sets but with their QBs surrounded with far more skilled and talented players.

Lemon can be successful in such a system with a healed hand too, but I agree also by implication with Grims that it's more than the hand that needs healing for sake of some of the really stupid decisions he made.

I agree with both the comments of Grims and of Drummer.

Who if anyone from these lists would have at least the skills to stick out for potential to compete for this job either in reality or just in imagination (i.e. "I wish but he'll be tied down to the NFL ..."?

Seneca Wallace
Tim Tebow
Colt Brennan/Chase Daniel


Agreed. Sure Lemon made some mistakes last season (including a few real bad head-scratchers), but he's new. Durant makes an equal number of dumb mistakes. I said it before... Nothing against Durant, but I think Sask wins as a team. Durant's a good QB, but I think the backs and receivers deserve a lot of credit for that team's success. I imagine Sask could have just about anyone at QB, and they'd still win.

Except against Montreal...

One thing that always kind of annoyed me... When Ricky Williams came to the CFL, all the experts expected him to tear up the league, but the CFL fans "knew better." And as it turns out, he didn't tear up the league. Then comes Cleo Lemon, and for some reason these same CFL fans expect so much of Lemon. What exactly is the difference between Ricky Williams and Cleo Lemon?

Exactly. This story alters nothing about my perception of Lemon. If he kept this to himself, he put himself and his prospects ahead of the team. If Barker knew but still played him, then he's not only a terrible person but idiotic to boot -- how is a QB with a bad hand better than your backup?

Well, that goes without saying. :smiley:

maybe it was a ligament in his head.. :wink:

Obviously Lemon deserves to be brought back. First year in the league and the coach likes him so a no brainer to bring him back. If the injury heals ok.

New, to the CFL, yes.

But he's 31. . . he's not some green kid with a lot of upside potential. I have a feeling that what you see is what you're going to get. He had a full season as the starter, didn't show any growth or improvement over the course of the season (rather the reverse) so it's unlikely, it seems to me, that he's going to get any better. If he played the way he did over the course of the season and was, say, 24 or so, then maybe there's some growth potential. But at 31 I am doubtful.

I don't think in reading the pre-season posts that anyone thought Lemon would tear anything up in the CFL. In fact, the same folks who overrated Ricky Williams probably underrated heavily Lemon and the Argos for that matter.

Later a lot of the complaints about Lemon certainly were understandable for sake of the many stupid core mistakes he would make at critical moments of the game.

Otherwise consider the differences in background relative to each of the positions of Ricky Williams and Cleo Lemon:

Williams at running back at 230+ pounds has the statistical odds heavily against him at being a feature back for more than 3 seasons in any league. Williams remains such for the NFL game, but he splits carries with Ronnie Brown and I think he is on his way down and out. For the CFL, such a back for only one down per three-down series when teams run the ball did not help Williams' brawny case it turned out.

Lemon was never a feature NFL QB though started a few games. In fact he was not very good either. However as explained previously in my prior post and links, Lemon looks to me to have the skills to run a play-action West Coast offence type system that includes many an option for the screen pass. So much the better for Lemon with a healthy hand and head in the right place I would think as well.

If such a system devised around Lemon's skills by Barker could not prevail in the CFL, the Argos would not have made it to the playoffs let alone the semifinal.

No one of record or honest on here to my knowledge though much of the Argos in the preseason and there you go the Argos impressed.

No way, Lemon with or without being hurt and especially if the latter is true, should not have been playing near the end.
Bell clearly proved he is much better at throwing the ball.
Either way I don't buy the excuses, he was horrible virtually the entire year save and except the Montreal home game and should be toast.
The fact Barker is saying he will be back is a sad state on the future and especially for the most important position on the team.
We need a major upgrade as the status quo will not do.

This is a great perspective to the contrary of my opinion as expressed below in multiple posts.

The flip side is the Bell is not the solution, and no sharing this view ArgoT has anyone else in mind from all the names thrown around of which I offered a whole bunch if not only for a wish list for many of them.

Some have mentioned that some sort of mega-trade for another team's starter or competent backup is in the works. Adrian McPherson? Drew Tate? :?

I'm all ears to hear about potential QB solutions better than Lemon other than anyone on the existing roster. And c'mon if Bell or anyone else on the existing roster were really better you would think also Barker would have figured that out by the time of the playoffs right? Barker's far from a rookie coach c'mon! And now they'll all compete for the job again anyway too.

P.S. BOO-YAH now it looks like I am clairvoyant too YEE-HAWWWWWW! :cowboy: :roll:

Some people seem to keep seeing Cleo Lemon through rose coloured glasses. I don't see the guy ever being anything but a journeyman.
Holds onto the ball too long, can run but doesn't know how to, slow finding open receivers, can't throw long or short for that matter accurately (all the things you look for in your starting QB :slight_smile: I think not.

Good luck to David Braley and Bob Nicholson trying to sell new season tickets with Cleo as the main attraction at QB.

Barker blew it not playing Dalton Bell more to get him experience going forward. Argos won 10 games on defense, Cory Boyd, special teams and a bit of smoke and mirrors, not anything the QB did.

Then who would you suggest to start at QB who'll sell tickets and who isn't under contract with another team?

Michael Bishop! :smiley:

I honestly did not know that he was 31. I thought he was more like 27 or like DD.