Argos prepare for Game One A.B.

Arland Bruce

The first game of the post-Arland Bruce III era takes place Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre when the Argonauts host the Blue Bombers. While some might say that in reality that title belongs to last week’s game when Bruce was sent home, the reality is that the distraction is gone and the team can focus on football again. But are the Argos better for it?

In exchange for Bruce, the Argos acquired a third-round pick in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft, a conditional pick in the 2011 draft and the rights to non-import defensive end Corey Mace. Mace had spent the past two seasons on the Buffalo Bills’ practice roster, dressing for one game and recording one tackle. However, TSN reported on Friday that he has signed with the Bills, meaning that though his rights still belong to Toronto, he’s a write-off for this CFL season.

So apart from the locker room distraction being out of the way, the 2009 Argonauts are not better as a result of the trade where it matters most: on the field. (Furthermore, from TSN’s Duane Forde: “Bruce clearly had his followers in the Argo room. Don’t be surprised to see one or more of them continue to follow him [out of town] in the coming weeks.”) For the record, I trust Forde’s insight…

The Argos are quickly finding out that this season won’t be like most of this decade, where they could play the season blindfolded and still coast to a second place finish behind Montreal and enjoy a home playoff game. Hamilton has clearly shown itself capable, and that’s even before Bruce makes his Ti-cat debut tonight at Ivor Wynne against BC. It’s also the understatement of the year to say that a loss tomorrow to Winnipeg wouldn’t be all too endearing to fans.

Nevertheless, I’ve always been a Kerry Joseph backer, and I think that even though the Argo receiving corps reeks of inexperience, Joseph is capable of patching up a less-than-desirable situation. I’ve always maintained that he’s a top-four quarterback in the CFL along with Ricky Ray, Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris, and if he can lead the Argos to a few wins (especially with the Alouettes on the docket next Friday) there will start to be believers that the 2007 Kerry Joseph is back.

Find out tomorrow at 1:00, and if you can’t make it to the game, follow my updates on Twitter @YYZsportsmedia.

-Marc Tessier

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