Argos can't win without a top QB

Argos are rumoured to have signed quarterback Steven Jyles (left) to a new contract but he's hardly...

Argos are rumoured to have signed quarterback Steven Jyles (left) to a new contract but he's hardly played like a guy capable of leading Toronto to the Grey Cup. (QMI AGENCY)

Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:11 PM ET

Scott Milanovich may or may not be ready to lead a team as its head coach.

It goes without saying that only in time will Milanovich be judged, wins and losses notwithstanding.

But what should be watched closely is how Milanovich adjusts to an Argos team that is so different from the offence he helped oversee in Montreal that any similarity is strictly accidental.

The system Milanovich knows, one that convinced Jim Barker to hire Milanovich as his successor, starts with a passing quarterback.

The system Milanovich learned under Marc Trestman was a west coast style taken from the Bill Walsh tree and converted for three-down football.

It’s a system where reads are required, poise and precision in the pocket demanded, a system that under no circumstance is suited to Steven Jyles, whom Barker has repeatedly called the future face of the Argos franchise amid speculation he has inked Jyles, even as the Henry Burris to Hogtown rumours circulate and percolate.

By going with Milanovich, an announcement that is likely to be made as early as Thursday, Barker is making a good move, but it’s a move that will require plenty of time to be properly assessed.

There will be challenges, beginning with the pivotal position at quarterback, but at least there’s experience and a guy whose background is on offence, the one area that simply must be upgraded for the Argos to have any hope of being relevant in the Toronto market place.

But the most impactful move Barker, or whomever is really calling the shots in Argoland, makes involves the quarterback.

It doesn’t matter who draws up plays, who calls plays, with no competent quarterback under centre Milanovich has no chance of turning the Argos around.

Sadly, offensive co-ordinator Jamie Elizondo becomes the latest Chip Garber, a decent man who simply got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the interim, it’s up to Milanovich to figure out what he’s got, what’s required, what system must be put in place.

Change was necessary with the Argos, but further change has to be initiated.

Ditto for Milanovich.

Cory Boyd has to be used as a receiving threat out of the backfield and not just as a downhill ball carrier.

In Milanovich’s world, it’s a pass-first offence, but he comes into a new environment that was run first.

Is it possible the Argos entertain offers for Boyd and decide to put Andre Durie as the backfield stalwart at a time in CFL history where Canadian running backs have become the rage?

With the Argos, anything is possible because it’s now abundantly clear that every option will be explored, every unwritten or written rule either broken or bent to take the best shot of winning the 100th Grey Cup, which will be played in Toronto.

It’s why any coaching move to augment the hiring of Milanovich is also possible and why any holdover from Barker’s staff is now expendable.

John Hufnagel took a shot at the Argos, no surprise given his feud with Barker, when word leaked that defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones is Toronto-bound.

The Argos claim no contact was made, but it’s of little significance how it gets spun or whose nose gets out of joint.

What’s significant is that the Argos now mean business.

If it means getting their hands dirty, more power to them.

Pro football is a cut-throat business and it’s time the Argos embrace it, accept it and make moves that actually make sense.

There’s sense in Milanovich, but more needs to be done.

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca

 


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