Argos axe 13, including QB Brannagan
By Terry Koshan, QMI Agency
|The Argos cut 13 players Friday, including Canadian quarterback and Burllington, Ont., native Danny Brannagan. (REUTERS)
No less than 13 players were shown the door by the Argonauts on Friday, and for those who have been paying attention through training camp, there was not one surprise among them.
Head coach and general manager Jim Barker has stressed the importance of continuity, and not one veteran of consequence lost his job.
The only two names that really jump out of the players who Barker cut are Canadian quarterback Danny Brannagan and receiver James Robinson.
Brannagan worked hard to improve, and he did, during his time in an Argos uniform. But did anyone think he was going to have a future in the Canadian Football League after the Argos signed him last year? A wrist injury scuttled Brannagan's chances, but the fact is, he fell further down the depth chart with the acquisition of Steven Jyles and the signing of B.J. Hall.
"The Danny Brannagan experiment is over for now," Barker said. "B. J. has a lot of athletic ability. He is a work in progress, but he is a sponge. He does not make the same mistake twice and that means he is paying attention."
Robinson spent parts of the past three seasons with the Argos and had 22 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. But in Winnipeg on Thursday night, he could not do much but watch as Brandon Rideau, his competition for a job at wide receiver, kept hauling in passes against the Blue Bombers.
Rideau finished with 162 yards on four catches. Robinson had one catch for 13 yards.
After the game, Robinson took his time to take his uniform off, apparently well aware his days with the Argos were done.
Also cut by Barker and his staff a day ahead of the 3 p.m. deadline on Saturday: wide receivers Jedd Gardner and Kwame Osei and defensive back Shane Herbert (non-imports) and offensive tackle Shannon Boatman, linebackers Ray Cheatham and Durell Mapp, defensive back Dovonte Edwards, defensive tackle Mike Hancock, slotback Jerome Hewitt, wide receiver Curtis Walls and running back Dwayne Wright (imports).
"It was a very difficult day," Barker said. "The worst day I have of the year. It's over now."<
AT THE HALF
Brannagan secured a spot on the practice roster for much of 2010 but Barker said he could warrant giving Brannagan a spot there again. The seven players the Argos plan to put on the practice roster include two of their picks in the 2011 Canadian draft --defensive tackle Gregory Alexandre and defensive lineman Alexander Robinson. Five imports headed for the P.R. are defensive tackle Chris Bradwell, defensive back Nick Clement, offensive tackle Edawn Coughman, wide receiver Jason Harmon and defensive back Armando Murillo ... There were just a handful of players who won jobs outright, and among them are running back Chad Kackert, slotback D.J. Boldin and wide receiver Djems Kouame. When Kackert went for a 73-yard run on a broken play for the winning touchdown against the Bombers, his competitor, Dwayne Wright, had to know he would be cut. Boldin, meanwhile, didn't drop many footballs. "Not to toot my own horn, but I think I had a great camp," Boldin said. "I understood my role, I had to be fundamentally sound. I feel good." Expect to see lots of Kackert and Kouame on special teams more than anywhere else ... About Kackert, Barker had this to say: "Kackert came out of nowhere. He was a guy coming into camp, I was not totally sold on." ... With the 46-man roster set, the seven non-import starters, unless there are injuries in the next week of practice, will be defensive end Ricky Foley, linebackers Jason Pottinger and Kevin Eiben, offensive linemen Taylor Robertson, Dominic Picard and Cedric Gagne-Marcoux, and running back/slotback Andre Durie. Slotback Spencer Watt could be in that mix as well ...The social -media world was atwitter on Thursday morning when it was posted that Durie had suffered a concussion in Winnipeg and would be seeing a doctor. "I have no idea where that stuff comes from," Barker said. Durie will be good to go for the season opener, as will Watt, who bruised an ankle against Winnipeg.
Free safety Wes Lysack could be gone for a long period after he suffered a torn hamstring at Canad Inns Stadium. The expectation is up to six weeks, which means Lysack would go on the ninegame injured list. When asked if Jyles (shoulder) would be put on the ninegame list, Barker said he had not spoken yet to the quarterback. Can't see how it doesn't happen ... Rideau made 10 starts for the Argos last season, but had just 24 catches for 443 yards and one touchdown. What helped him in camp? He's not trying to trap the football against his chest. He's using his hands more to make receptions ... Hewitt returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown in Winnipeg, but fumbled twice. After the second, the Bombers scored the tying touchdown. "The whole key is a coach has a warm fuzzy feeling when he is back there," Barker said, "and I did not have that." ... The majority of regular starters who did not travel to Winnipeg, including receiver Chad Owens, offensive tackle Rob Murphy and slotback Jeremaine Copeland, will play on Canada Day.