Owens disappointment at receiver
By FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency
|Argonauts receiver Chad Owens straight arms Eskimos linebacker T.J. Hill on Friday. (Reuters)
TORONTO - With so much blame to go around and so many areas that require improvement, it would be pointless to single out one individual among many associated with the Argonauts.
Whether it was Jim Barker “gut feeling” to go for a long field goal rather than try to convert a third and four late in Friday’s loss in Edmonton, miscommunication between the quarterbacks and receivers, untimely penalties and costly turnovers, there’s no shortage of reasons why the Argos lost to the Eskimos in dropping their fourth game in a row.
At least in Edmonton, no player emerged as a greater disappointment than Chad Owens, who had as many fumbles as he had receptions.
Perhaps this week’s visit by the team that wouldn’t grant Owens his wish to line up at wideout in a starting position will inject some life into a player who simply must provide more on offence.
The guy remains a game breaker on special teams, capable of going the distance each time a punt or kickoff lands in his hands, but it was as a receiver many believed Owens would thrive.
To date, he hasn’t, showing more a penchant for coughing up the football than hauling it in.
One of Dalton Bell’s two interceptions in Edmonton was thrown to Owens.
Much like a most costly turnover committed in the scoring zone involving Jeremaine Copeland, it appeared miscommunication played a factor in Bell’s heave to Owens.
Regardless, catching two passes for seven yards is inexcusable given how Owens can turn a simple pass in the flat for a big gain.
Like everything with the Argos, there’s no simple explanation as to why Owens has failed to become a receiving presence.
Maybe he won’t and that his best role is served on special teams, but the Argos made a financial commitment many in the league questioned when Owens was brought back this off-season following a failed attempt down south.
Maybe the Als knew something when they refused to grant Owens’ wish on a team loaded with receiving talent.
The Argos are still waiting for Owens to break loose on special teams, where he earned his reputation last season by changing games with his explosive abilities and at worse providing the Argos with field position.
Owens hasn’t exactly been a bust this season on special teams, but Matt Black has more touchdown returns than Owens, whose longest return was an 89-yard kickoff in Montreal that would pave the way for an Argos touchdown.
With so many games to be played, so many moves the Argos are likely contemplating, one of the most immediate areas that must be addressed is to get Owens in better positions to make plays on offence.
As a receiver, Owens had a break-out game last season when Montreal paid a visit, producing 163 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.
Owens is best utilized when he’s in space, which allows him to use his speed in the open field, an area the Argos capitalized in their win over the Als.
Much like the way they use Andre Durie, the Argos need to get Owens the ball quicker.
One difference between the two is that Durie lines up in the slot, which, for obvious reasons, is closer to the line of scrimmage and more conducive to getting more touches in creative ways.
Simply put, Owens needs to be moved inside at slotback, a move that must be made soon.
With so much speed to burn and so much potential once the ball is in his hands, Owens has to be featured more and in more creative ways.
No matter what the Argos do with Owens, he has to exercise better ball security.
Heading into Week 6, he’s earning more a reputation for his fumbles than his big-play capabilities.
Owens isn’t alone.