Ever the optimist, David Cynamon didn’t see this coming.
This, of course, is an 3-7 start for the Argonauts, who face a large uphill battle in their remaining eight games to make the CFL playoffs.
“Disappointing and a little surprising,” Cynamon, a co-owner of the Argos, said yesterday at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate, where the Argos unveiled a program called Level the Playing Field, which will bring varsity football back to four Toronto high schools.
“I thought (quarterback) Kerry Joseph would have a better start. The Arland Bruce thing has been very disappointing. I liked Arland a lot as a person and as a player. We had a lot of years together and he helped us win the Grey Cup in ’04.
“But I have not given up. I really do believe we will be okay at the end.”
Before the 2009 season started, Cynamon figured the Argos were capable of winning 12 games. But even with the unlikelihood that Toronto wins out, it can’t finish better than 11-7. An overtime win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week has infused a higher degree of confidence in the Argos as they prepare to take on the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Saturday night.
Cynamon threw his support behind the management staff of general manager Adam Rita, his assistant, Greg Mohns, and head coach Bart Andrus, whose inexperience with the nuances of the CFL game has shown at times. That support could change if the Argos are unable to turn it around.
Joseph stumbled and has been replaced as the starting quarterback by Cody Pickett, Bruce was traded after a public fallout with Andrus, and injuries have taken their cuts at the Argos’ roster. Even so, the club has been close enough that three losses were not decided until the final minute.
But as the setbacks piled up, Cynamon had more than a few reflective moments.
“We don’t have a record that doesn’t allow for doubts,” Cynamon said. “I think we underestimated certain talent we brought in and overestimated some of the talent we brought back. The trick is now, can you adjust quick enough in mid-season?
“There always is mistakes, but I think we can overcome them to make a real run at it.”
The idea to bring football back to several high schools was hatched by Cynamon nearly a year ago after he listened to a radio show about disappearing teams.
“We were losing a demographic, and they were losing their football teams,” Cynamon said. “We’re not shy to the fact that his has to help the Argos, but at the same time, we are a community team, and if we can help build grassroots football, it can only be a good thing.”
For Cynamon, the return of Dominique Dorsey and the emergence of Pickett, who has tossed only one interception in four starts, are reasons to keep his optimism flowing.
“We’re 1-0 as far as I am concerned,” Cynamon said. “I’m always glass half-full. I’ll see you in Calgary at the Grey Cup as far as I’m concerned.”