Argos have many decisions left with roster

Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich runs drills during training camp, June 4, 2012. (DAVE...

Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich runs drills during training camp, June 4, 2012. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:49 AM ET

TORONTO - The Argos were planning to hold court Thursday afternoon, a team gathering to review the video evidence from Wednesday night's pre-season opener in The Hammer.

As they like to say in football, the eye in the sky does not lie and therein lies the necessary evaluation tool as the process to get ready for the June 30 season-opener continues.

Short of grasping at straws, only a complete idiot would think they could identify who will line up where, outside of Ricky Ray starting at quarterback, how the Argos will look on the offensive line and who will get asked to line up in the defensive backfield.

While impressions were made in the wake of Wednesday's 29-24 win, no jobs were secured and no one should take anything for granted.

With one more exhibition game to be played, a Tuesday matinee at Rogers Centre featuring the visiting Montreal Alouettes, rookie head coach Scott Milanovich and his staff will have one final game backdrop to see who responds when football's proverbial lights are on.

"I think you'll see a lot of improvement just in their demeanour and confidence between now and Tuesday," said Milanovich of his group.

Outwardly, Milanovich oozes a calmness that belies the competitive fire that burns inside, a guy whose attention to detail is unwavering.

He knows some tough decisions await, that these Argos are far from a finished product and that plenty of work is required to get this unit ready for the regular season.

"We got to coach them hard,'' Milanovich said. "We've got to make the adjustments that need to be made and find out the guys who can get it done when it matters."

Ray is as solid as any player -- the one concern involves his comfort zone with the receiving unit.

Someone must emerge as Ray's go-to guy and yet no one was able to leave his mark against the Ticats.

During his appearance, the Ray-led offence got off to a slow start, settled down and took advantage of some Hamilton penalties to produce two touchdowns and a 14-0 lead on the strength of two Cory Boyd rushing majors.

Whether it was the pass game or the running game, Milanovich wasn't particularly impressed with either dimension and expressed some mild concern, at least by his standards, at the lack of aggression on the line of scrimmage.

"We need to come off the ball and move people,'' he said. "We didn't run the ball real well."

Thursday's film session will confirm everything, but it appeared Hamilton's linebackers were tight to the line of scrimmage, forcing the Argos to execute single blocks.

When tough yards were needed near the goal line, the Argos went to the right where tackle Chris Van Zeyl and guard Joe Eppele line up.

Ray's blind-side protection at left tackle began with Wayne Smith, an ex-Ticat and former first-overall CFL pick.

With so many personnel decisions that need to be made, on both sides of the ball, it's far too early for the Argos to commit to an all-Canadian line.

Defensively, players were rotating all night, but it was hard to overlook the blown coverages in the secondary.

When the Argos did send pressure, they were effective and Toronto did force Hamilton into committing seven turnovers.

The Argos would end the night with a plus-six in the giveaway/takeaway ratio, but it's of little consequence given all that needs to be addressed and ironed out.

MILANOVICH GIVES HIMSELF PASSING GRADE

In his first game as Argonauts head coach, Scott Milanovich couldn't find much fault in his game management.

Admittedly, a late game-delay-of-game call fell on his lap, but other than that one sequence, Milanovich felt good on how he communicated with his staff and players.

"It went smoothly,'' Milanovich said of Wednesday's pre-season opener in Hamilton. "There was an understanding of the type of info I want and the info I didn't want."

Milanovich, who wore a headset, was in contact with receivers coach Kez McCorvey, who sat in the press box and provided Milanovich with down and distance.

'Very calm'

Along the sideline, one of Milanovich's eyes and ears were provided by special-teams co-ordinator Mike O'Shea.

"I felt comfortable,'' Milanovich said. "Mike O'Shea is very calm, very verbal and we spent a lot of time talking situations during the game."

When they convened at halftime, the goal was to force a punt on Hamilton's opening possession and produce points when Toronto's offence had the football.

As it turned out, the scenario would play itself out. "Our young guys did their jobs,'' Milanovich said.


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