August 18, 2012
Argos defence can take a bow
By MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency
This might not have been a game for the guy who likes to see lots of scoring in his football, but for the guy who appreciates good hard-nosed football, there was plenty to like.
We’ll exclude Argos defensive coordinator and assistant GM Chris Jones from that former group. He had to be tickled by the way his defence shut down a very good Calgary offence in a 22-14 Argos win.
Quite clearly there is a lot of dislike between these two teams.
Maybe it’s all the former players and coaches who have moved from Calgary to Toronto.
When Jones jumped ship to join Scott Milanovich in Toronto, he eventually wound up taking some bodies with him.
Robert McCune and Brandon Isaac are starters in Toronto although McCune was released by Calgary. Isaac took a shot at the NFL and the thinking was if that didn’t work out he would return to Calgary. He chose to join Jones in Toronto instead.
Whether that was beneath all the pre-game talk between him and Nik Lewis, it certainly found its way into the game.
Isaac was also involved with Lewis after the latter completed a nice pass and run play that took Calgary all the way to the Toronto five. Lewis was up and chirping at Isaac right away but took things too far with a pair of officials in between the two players. One official flagged Lewis for objectionable conduct.
The penalty took the Stamps back to the 15 where the drive stalled.
It was like that all night, comically so early in the second half after Keon Raymond had stressed so strongly in a halftime interview how important it was for the Stamps to keep their cool in the middle of all the bad feelings. It wasn’t more than a handful of plays into the second half that Raymond tried to put Dontrelle Inman’s head through the McMahon Stadium turf after a stellar one-handed catch.
Raymond was subsequently penalized for unnecessary roughness giving the Argos 15 yards more.
The Kackert effect
Chad Kackert was thrust into the spotlight when the Argos cut the league’s leading rusher and handed the job to him.
Kackert didn’t dazzle in his first start of the 2012 season and just the fifth of his career but he did more than enough to keep those still questioning the decision to release Cory Boyd from getting back on their grandstand.
Even the Boyd supporters have to admit that while the former starting tailback is at his best making yards after contact, Kackert is no slouch in that department either.
But what was most important to the Argos was that Kackert bring that they weren’t getting from Boyd: some help in protecting their quarterback.
Ricky Ray took a beating in the B.C. game and with the fortunes of the franchise pretty much riding on his arm, the decision was made to perhaps give up a little in the rushing department if it meant an improvement in the protection department.
With Kackert’s help and a bit of a revamped O-line, Ray was sacked just twice in the game.
That’s not to say that Kackert can’t become the kind of productive back that Boyd was over two seasons in Toronto. Fact is no one really knows yet. He hasn’t had his chance.
But his first run at the job has to be deemed a success. Yes, there was that one procedure penalty that was Kackert’s fault as he lined up improperly before Ray had to physically move him leading to the time-count violation. But 135 yards of offence including 94 along the ground on 14 carries is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
Game Ball time
Kackert is probably deserving, given the circumstances, but if it were up to us we’d hand the game ball to the Argos punt and kickoff cover teams. Facing Larry Taylor, one of the best in the game returning kicks these days and a guy who had torched the Argos for over 400 all-purpose yards the last time these two teams met, the Argos special teams unit was at its very best. Taylor returned four punts for a total, a total of 12 yards. On kickoffs he averaged just under 15 on three returns. That is blanket coverage.
To top it off Swayze Waters was a perfect 5-for-5 in the field goal department including a 48-yarder.
Mike Bradwell kept a good special teams night going with a nice open field tackle on Taylor in the third quarter again keeping the dynamic returner in check ... Very strange call by Stamps head coach John Hufnagel going for a third and one with seven seconds left in the half from his own end of the field. Had they come up short, they would have been handing the Argos a pretty good shot at three free points the way Waters was kicking ... Waters should lose his helmet more often. After a delayed arrival on the field for a punt just before the end of the half, Waters got off a 60-yard punt. The Argos punt cover team, solid all night, was there again to maximize the advantage of Waters’ strong leg ... Andre Durie ends the Argos touchdown drought at just under 10 quarters with a 26-yard reception from Ray just before the end of the third quarter. It was the first touchdown of the season for Durie ... Seriously Argos? A field pass for Rob Ford? Wouldn’t most people want to distance themselves from this train wreck of a mayor? We can only hope it was a Calgary connection that got Ford the pass ... With that 0-3 times in the red zone in the first half the Argos success rate fell to 29% in the red zone for the season. The league average is 54%. Quite obviously that is an area that is going to have to be addressed and soon ... The late hit on Cornish by former teammate Brandon Isaac, while quite likely deserving of a penalty, did seem to take some of the fight out of the Stamps.