Armless Argonauts

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

The Toronto Argonauts don’t have a starting quarterback.

Of course, some skeptics said that last season while watching Kerry Joseph disappear under another pile of tacklers.

Skeptics can be cruel. Correct, but cruel.

Still, this is different.

They don’t have a backup, releasing Cody Pickett, too.

Then, yesterday they got rid of clipboard holder, and third string quarterback Stephen Reaves. Zeke Moreno, their all-star linebacker, went from captain and go-to guy to just gone. Released.

Also departed are Andre Talbot and fan favourite Dominique Dorsey. In most Canadian Football League cities this might be slightly alarming. But, in the upside-down world that is Argoland, this is called progress.

And, considering how lousy the offence was last year, maybe not having any quarterback is an upgrade.

Incoming Argos’ coach Jim Barker hasn’t just cleaned house, he blew it up; then bulldozed and buried the bodies of those who contributed (and we use the term loosely) to a 3-15 season. “We needed to go in a different direction,” Barker said.

The end zone would be nice.

Last year the Argos had a league-low 328 points.

The only place this group could end up looking like a first place team is in a Chinese newspaper. But nine out of 10 people who wouldn’t know rouge from lipstick could tell it was time for a change.

How to affect those changes is another thing.

Question is, are the Argos, in trying to escape the alligators nipping at their shorts, just stepping into the lions’ lair.

Wanting to go in a different direction is fine but more importantly it should also be in a better direction.

Out with the perceived bad is simple.

In with the good, that’s a bit more complicated.

Barker has been very clear on what he doesn’t like; not so expansive on who he does like.

“(Joseph) was just not the right fit for us,” Barker said.

So, what’s the plan? So far, he’s not saying.

It’s not just as simple as changing quarterbacks. It wasn’t Joseph’s fault that his receivers often looked like they wouldn’t recognize a pass unless it came at them in a bar at last call.

So, having no quarterback does have an upside. With nobody to throw the ball Argos’ fans won’t see as many dropped passes, thus reducing their frustration quotient.

I guess.

Look, I’m trying to be an optimist here, OK.

While Joseph’s statistics weren’t impressive, Moreno’s were. The 31-year-old former San Diego Charger had 95 tackles. It’s difficult to understand how dumping a guy who is second in the CFL in tackles makes this a better team.

But, Barker says his brave new Argo world will all be revealed in the next month.

They have added Jeremaine Copeland, so at least they’ve got someone who’ll go after a pass without looking like he’s trying not to step in doggy-do.

But, he’s also just a couple of birthday candles this side of Methuselah.

And, there don’t appear to be a lot of great options to go to at quarterback. They could get cozy with the B.C. Lions, who own five quarterbacks.

But this presents another dilemma since both the Argos and Lions are now owned by David Braley.

So, how would the optics appear if Buck Pierce or Jarious Jackson suddenly got released and showed up in Double Blue?

There isn’t anyone who would suggest the Lions were packaging a gift horse to their, ahem, ahhh ... eastern farm team. Honest.

But, if someone did think that, suddenly the Argos’ problem becomes the league’s dilemma and the CFL once again comes away looking like a nickle-and-dime operation.

Even if it is, there’s no sense going out and proving it.

The Argos have expressed an interest in Gibran Hamdan, currently the property of the Buffalo Bills.

Toronto, of course, has not-so-secretly coveted the NFL franchise for years.

Guess maybe Toronto can get them — even if we have to sneak them into town one player at a time disguised as Argonauts.

bill.lankhof@sunmedia.ca


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