Argos QB Ricky Ray not living up to billing

Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray looks to pass against the Eskimos at the Rogers Centre in Toronto,...

Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray looks to pass against the Eskimos at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., Aug. 27, 2012. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 AM ET

TORONTO - That first half was as bad as Ricky Ray has been all season.

The second half was a little better, but the boo birds that were out in the first half were still going strong in the second. And like it or not, their wrath was directed at the guy brought to Toronto to get the team into the Grey Cup.

Last nightís 26-17 loss to the visiting Edmonton Eskimos made that goal that much tougher.

Sure you can blame Rayís ineffectiveness on a lack of top-tier targets and there was that one dropped pass by Andre Durie on the first play of the night for the Argos, but the time has come where Ray has to be held accountable for his own shortcomings.

Simply put, he has yet to live up to the large investment the Argos have made in him.

And last night there was plenty of proof of that. And weíre not just talking about the two first half interceptions ... bad as they were.

Ray just looked unsure and flat from the time Durie dropped that first pass.

At first glance the stats actually paint Ray in a much better light.

He finished the night with 251 yards passing, making good on 26 of 38 pass attempts.

He threw for one touchdown and had two interceptions.

But dig into that 26-for-38 night and the numbers arenít quite so impressive.

For the half he was 9-for-15 in the passing department. But four of those completions were to running back Chad Kackert for a total of 19 yards. He had another one to Durie for a yard, and one to Dontrelle Inman for two yards. The only pass of any significance in the entire first half that he completed was a 14-yarder to Inman.

Twice the Argos were in scoring range in the first half and settled for a lone field goal. The first time down he had Jeff Johnson in behind the defender in the end zone by a step and couldnít get him the ball to him. On the next play J.C. Sherritt sat back, read exactly where Ray was going with the football and picked it off.

The second scoring chance the Argos had ended when Ray threw into double coverage at the back of the end zone trying to find Inman. The pass had zero chance of being completed.

Now he did come out with a purpose in the second half leading the Argos to a touchdown in a three-play drive. He capped it off with one of those perfectly thrown Ray balls that drops over the defender and in this case into Inmanís arms in the corner of the end zone.

But that was the only Ray highlight worth noting.

Donít be fooled by the numbers. This was not a vintage Ricky Ray game. In fact it was exactly the opposite of vintage.

Ray has to be better. The Argos are all in with him so this isnít about bringing someone else in. This is Rayís show and the Argos will sink or swim with him.

Right now theyíre sinking.

WAKE-UP SHOT

Fred Stamps didnít take his first hit in practice this past week until Friday. The team felt he was taking a beating and could use the break. Argos defensive back Pat Watkins re-introduced him to what it felt like to be punished. Stamps ran a five-yard route early in the second quarter, turned and caught the ball but before he could turn around Watkins drove his shoulder into the Eskimos receiverís rib cage. Stamps had to be helped to the Esks sideline and got worked over on the trainerís table but did return. His only play of significance the rest of the half was a 40-yard reception on the final play of the first half. Kerry Joseph attempted to throw a Hail Mary but the ball slipped in his hand and was up for grabs. Stamps outleaped Robert McCune for the ball on a meaningless play.

JYLES ONLY IN FOR AWHILE

Steven Jylesí return to Toronto didnít last very long. The former Argos quarterback who went to Edmonton in the Ray trade lasted part way through the Eskimos third possession before he came up limping after what looked like the entire Argo defence had fallen on him.

Jyles never did return making way for another former Argo in Joseph. Joseph was by no means on top of his game but he did enough, mostly with his legs, to take advantage of a truly forgettable night for the Argos on offence.

THE BOYD FACTOR

Call the whole Cory Boyd return to Toronto overdone. Boyd spent most of the game on the bench while Hugh Charles got the bulk of the work. Boyd did factor in the result with three big plays including a back-breaking first down on a pass out of the backfield that helped sustain a 10-play Eskimos drive that killed any hopes the Argos had of a comeback.

Boyd finished the night with 45 yards on nine carries and had another two catches for 30 yards.

COACH NOT UNSCATHED

Argos head coach Scott Milanovich opened himself to some second guessing when he didnít attempt a field goal on the Argos second to last drive when his team trailed by nine points.

The Argos had moved the ball well within Swayze Waters range but instead of taking the three points that were there, Milanovich chose to gamble and got neither. It was a strange call to be sure.

QUICK HITS

Ahmad Carroll had a nice interception in the game but all anyone is going to remember from this game is his inability to turn to the football in coverage. Carroll was twice called for big pass interference penalties because of his inability to do just that. He also took an untimely objectionable conduct penalty and did not see the field again ... The lone bright spot in an anemic evening for the Argos offence was the 117 yards receiving from rookie Inman ... If the Argos are looking to add to their stable of quarterbacks theyíre too late on the Vince Young party. The former Buffalo Bill, who got his walking papers Monday, was added to the negotiation list of the Montreal Alouettes, according to TSN reporter Dave Naylor.


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