Argos' Jones keeping up

Argos OL Andrew Jones (left) and Wayne Smith run drills with Javes Lewis (centre)during training...

Argos OL Andrew Jones (left) and Wayne Smith run drills with Javes Lewis (centre)during training camp earlier this month. (QMI Agency)

Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 PM ET

TORONTO - Andrew Jones was looking for an expanded role when he decided to sign with the Argos this off-season.

Life in B.C. would turn into a learning experience, making the transition to the offensive line after lining up at defensive at McMaster.

In the end, Jones would cap his stay in B.C. with a Grey Cup ring.

“I was looking for a bigger role,’’ Jones began. “There was more of an opportunity in Toronto. I want to progress more.”

There was interest from Hamilton and from the Lions, but the Argos ultimately would provide Jones with what he was coveting.

Admittedly, learning a new technique has been challenging, but it goes with the territory of adopting to a new environment.

“I’ve been plugging away,’’ said Jones. “I think I’ve been doing well.

“I’m catching on, but it has taken a little bit longer than what I would have liked. The more I do it, the more comfortable I feel, the more confident I become.”

About the only missing component to the Argos offensive line is continuity, which is expected given the new faces that will line up this season.

Jones, Wayne Smith and Marc Parenteau are some of the new faces to complement familiar faces such as Chris Van Zeyl, Joe Eppele, Jeff Keeping and Cedric Gagne-Marcoux.

Like Jones, Smith was looking for an expanded role and signed with the Argos, who are counting on the veteran Smith to provide the much-needed blindside protection for Ricky Ray at left tackle.

The O-line’s core began to work out together in the off-season, a time that did build chemistry.

“There’s lots of potential,’’ said Jones. “We’re continuing to get better each week.”

Interestingly, Jones and Van Zeyl were college teammates at Mac, starting defensive ends who are now reunited on Toronto’s O-line.

Switching sides on the line of scrimmage is fraught with difficulties, a transition that is more mental than physical.

“I’m still transitioning,’’ said Van Zeyl, who enters his fourth season in Toronto.

“By far the biggest transition is mental because in your mind you’re always taught to go forward, you’re never retreating.”

Given his athleticism, Van Zeyl believes his athletic gift has allowed him to compensate for the technical aspect that’s required to play the position.

“You have so much power stored up, but on offence the only time you have a chance to use it is on run plays,’’ he added.

“Even your foot work on run plays you want to run down and kill somebody, but you got to work on your technique.

“Even now, my mind’s trained to just go.”

 

 

 

NO SURPRISE CUTS

As expected, cut-down date in Argoland was reduced to an exercise of the inevitable as no well-known name was released.

The Argos got a jump following Tuesday’s exhibition finale by cutting players with ties to last year’s team, especially on defence.

When the team gathered on Friday for the first time since its win over Montreal, it was obvious to all that the Argos were no longer evaluating their roster as they were focused on game planning for Edmonton and next Saturday’s regular-season opener.

Names such as Demario Ballard, who remains an interesting receiving piece, his inexperience notwithstanding, were placed on the practice roster, while an import offensive lineman such as Stephen Good provides much-needed insurance if the Argos’ all-Canadian offensive line can’t keep Ricky Ray clean.

Also added to the practice roster were defensive lineman David Lee, linebacker Jasper Simmons, defensive back Pat Watkins and receiver Chandler Williams.

Defensive back Jamaan Webb and receivers Julian Feoli-Gudino and Quincy Hurst were released, while receiver Djems Kouame, who broke his left leg against the Als, was placed on the nine-game injured list.

The Argos have Sunday off.

 

 

 

CAPTAINS NAMED

The Argos picked their team captains on Saturday, a trio that brings to the field and off it experience and savvy, three players whose choices appeared obvious.

“For me, it was a no-brainer,’’ fourth-year Argos right tackle Chris Van Zeyl said when asked to comment on Jordan Younger, Noel Prefontaine and Ricky Ray, who will serve as team captains this season.

“In Noel, to me, he’s always been a leader,’’ added Van Zeyl. “Jordan’s a guy everybody turns to when a question needs to be asked.

“And ever since Ricky came here, he’s commanded respect in the huddle.”

Prefontaine, who is entering his 15th season in the CFL and 13th as an Argo, will serve as special teams captain.

Younger, Toronto’s starting free safety, will be defensive captain, while Ray will walk to midfield in his return to Edmonton Saturday night as the Argos’ offensive captain.

— Frank Zicarelli

 


Videos

Photos