Monday, 10 December 2012

Three Questions: Toronto Argonauts

The off-season is underway and every team faces questions. Today, I look at three questions concerning the Toronto Argonauts.

1. Can they build on Grey Cup win?
I don't mean on the field, because they seem to be doing a good job of that. But I wonder if the Argos can build their fan base following a championship-winning season. Getting fans to pack the Rogers Centre SkyDome has always been difficult for the Argos. They had the second-lowest attendance average in 2012 and they are only ahead of the Als because Montreal's regular season home holds fewer seats than Toronto's. If the people of Toronto were ever going to fully embrace the Argos, now is the time to do it. They have a talented young head coach and a quarterback still in his prime, so the Argos look like they will be contenders for at least the next half decade. But like everything in Toronto sports that isn't connected to the Maple Leafs, I feel that those who became Argo fans during Grey Cup week will not be there at the start of next season and we'll be back to the same conversation about why Toronto doesn't support the Argos.

2. Will they be able to re-sign Kackert?
A concern that never would have come up a year ago is all of a sudden priority no. 1 for the double blue: can they ink running back Chad Kackert to a new contract? After the release of Cory Boyd, Kackert assumed the starting role and performed more than admirably. In the playoffs, he was a force and was named the MVP of the Grey Cup MVP. The price for his services went up big time after that and he might now be too rich for the Toronto's blood. But they must re-sign him, even if it means cutting players to do so. Kackert may not be a transcendent player, but he is a key cog to what the Argos want to do and they made room for him by releasing, at the time, the league's leading rusher. To let him walk now would be a huge mistake. The Argos need to sign Kackert and I think they probably will.

3. Can they fix their discipline problem?
Despite winning it all, the Argos spent most of the year accumulating penalties at an alarming rate. They employed some of the dirtiest players in the CFL – Ejiro Kuale, Brandon Isaac and Adriano Belli to name just three – and even had a player (Belli) ejected in the Grey Cup! Toronto may have won the Grey Cup, but if they don't fix their discipline issue they won't win a second one next year. With Belli retiring and Kuale being released, it looks like the Argos are serious about cleaning up their act. Isaac will probably remain, but most teams employ at least one line crosser. Cutting ties with the others is a step in the right direction.

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