Argos’ immediate future murky in wake of humbling loss
Corey Chamblin inherited a four-win team, or at least the remnants of a last-place club that underwent a series of player and coaching changes in the off-season.
He now presides over a two-win club with four games to be played, completely unsure what direction this franchise will take once the carnage of another lost season is assessed.
There will be changes, that much is sure, and perhaps a few immediate roster changes if general manager Jim Popp pulls the trigger in the days or even hours leading up Wednesday’s CFL trade deadline.
The Argos chartered home on a red-eye flight following Saturday’s humiliating 55-8 loss to the host B.C. Lions.
Their next game is Friday night against the visiting Ottawa Redblacks.
Short weeks don’t normally coincide with roster movement, but all cards are on the table with the trade deadline looming.
“It’s one thing to assume what’s going on, it’s another when you’re right in it,’’ said Chamblin, whose defence was chiefly responsible for Toronto’s 2017 Grey Cup title.
He prefers to run man coverage in the back end, but the Argos don’t have cover guys in the secondary, often resorting to zone looks that opposing offences have abused.
There’s been no pass rush to speak of, no playmaking linebacker, a special teams that has ironed out, for the most part, its early season issues, but one still clearly in need of an overhaul.
Offensively, the Argos have never found any semblance of rhythm, efficiency or identity.
If you recall, they were shut out for the first time in 10 years when the host Eskimos defeated them 26-0 earlier in the season.
Had the Lions not taken a penalty late Saturday night, the Argos would have been blanked again — Macleod Bethel-thompson hitting Armanti Edwards for a 27-yard TD with just six seconds remaining.
In the long history of Argos football, there have been some rather regrettable games and historically bad teams, but one can easily make a case that no team in CFL history has ever played as poorly as the Argos did in Vancouver.
How much falls on the shoulder of Chamblin is open to debate. But unlike Popp, he has a contract beyond this season.
Luck plays a huge role in any sporting venture, but franchises need shrewd minds to assess talent and procure players, the right coaches need to be hired and the right personnel pieces need to be assembled.
Since that improbable 2017 championship, the Argos have gone a combined 6-26 over two seasons.
Without a legitimate starting quarterback, there is no hope. Ricky Ray set the tone and no one has come even remotely close to filling his shoes.
It was then-gm Jim Barker who made the bold move in 2012 to acquire Ray, who would lead the franchise to two championships.
Popp tried to make a similarly bold move this past off-season by trying to sign free-agent quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who decided to stay in Calgary.
The evaluation of this Argos team has already begun with Michael (Pinball) Clemons providing an extra set of eyes for club president Bill Manning.
Clemons was in Ottawa earlier last month when the Argos blew out the host Redblacks. And he was at BC Place on Saturday night when the Argos were dismantled.
Clemons has been part of some of the most exciting, explosive and dominant Argos teams the CFL has ever seen. No doubt, he never witnessed anything quite like Saturday night’s slaughter.
Fans, especially the diehards, are fed up and many have already indicated how they no longer have any interest in renewing their season tickets.
Offensive lineman Ryan Bomben of the Argos, a veteran of more than 150 CFL games, wipes his forehead with the back of his glove as he sits solemnly on the bench during the second half of Saturday’s game against the B.C. Lions, in Vancouver. In easily one of the worst efforts ever put forth by the Double Blue, the Lions cruised to a 55-8 victory, officially eliminating the Argos from the playoff picture.