Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 9)

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Football has always been a sport that the more team than the individual as every player needs to do their job to be successful.

If there is an issue with anyone on the field that is when big plays can happen against you.

It is extremely rare to see one player make all of the difference for any team in the sport as they are simply not enough to win a game by themselves.

Even the best players in the sport can do everything but without the rest of the team, they will more often than not lose in the long run.

So it was strange this week when the Toronto Argonauts experienced what it was like to have a player change the game for them.wk9.jpg

In Week 8 the Argonauts took on the Montreal Alouettes in a battle for first place in the east and that game didn’t really go their way.

It wasn’t an overly great performance from the Alouettes either as Montreal could only put up 21 points against the Argos defence.

What really struggled was the offence as the Alouettes defence stuffed everything they attempted to do.

They struggled to make any progress throughout the game with Lirim Hajrullahu scoring the only points of the game kicking three field goals.

They couldn’t do anything else and that was not good news for a team that started well but struggled through the weeks before.

There was a big piece missing to the team though and that was starting quarterback Ricky Ray who had been injured the week before against Calgary.

The Argonauts sat Ray for their first game against the Alouettes hoping that he could heal up and not miss any more time.

That is exactly what happened as Ray returned for Week 9 where the Argos welcomed Montreal to BMO Field for the rematch.

Although they had their starting QB back the lack of any offensive production had some worried about the Argonauts offence with or without Ray.

The fact that nothing could be done was going to be hard to fix even with Ray who had his own struggles this year.

Then Ray came in and took over the game throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns in his return to the lineup.

The Argos won easily beating the Alouettes 38-6 in the rematch and taking over first place in the division.

The difference was staggering as there was a different team on the field in the second game than was in the first game.

It is rare that a player can have that type of effect and with nothing much changing beyond the introduction of Ray to the lineup.

football-sidebarHe changed the way the team played both on offence and on defence whether directly or indirectly.

That is a good thing when he is in the lineup but for the Argos, it is a dangerous proposition because it means their playoff hopes might just ride on one guy.

That one guy is also ageing and has had issues staying on the field over the last few years with injuries almost ending his career last year.

As good as he has been this year the fact that there is little else to help them through tough times if Ray is no longer there.

If he ends up going down at any point this year things could get tougher for them in a division where the unexpected is the expected.

Even for the organization’s future the fact that Ray means this much for them and that he doesn’t have many more years to play leaves concern for the future.

As rare as it is for a single player to have that much impact on their team it does happen and often it doesn’t work out.

The best teams are the ones that might not be the same without that star but can still get the job done.

The Argonauts have not been able to get the job done without Ray and that is bad news if anything happens.

They will ride him as long as they can though and hope that he can be the difference for the rest of the season and hopefully into the Grey Cup.

Fourth Down

Changing Teams

The Edmonton Eskimos have been in injury trouble all year despite their strong start to the season. This week after suffering their first loss they decided to go out and get some reinforcements trading for John Chick. The move provides some much-needed depth to the defensive line and if Chick can return to his Saskatchewan form back in the west the best team in the league might have just gotten better.

Moving up the Rankings

The Alouettes didn’t have a great week this week suffering a bad loss to the Argonauts and losing grip of first in the division. They still had something to cheer about though as their slot receiver, Nik Lewis became the second all-time leading catcher in the league. With his 1,017th career catch, Lewis passed Ben Cahoon to become second all-time on the receptions list. After the game, he finished only 11 catches from the all-time leader Geroy Simon making it a good chance that he takes the top spot.

Coombs Hits the DL

Injuries have hurt a lot of teams this year but the Argonauts seem to miss their lost starters more than the rest. Their training room just got more attendees though as Anthony Coombs will miss a number of weeks after a shoulder injury took him out of Week 9. Coombs was just coming into his own under Marc Trestman but will undergo surgery and could return late in the season if at all.

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