Last night the Argos dropped their season opening contest to the Calgary Stampeders, 30-16. Amidst a so-so outing by Cleo Lemon and a spectacular punt-return touchdown by Chad Owens was an Argos team that looked incredibly different than the one that limped into season’s end last year.
The numbers in yesterday’s game weren’t great for Toronto, and clearly there is lots to do before the Argonauts once again becomes a contender. But there were flashes of optimism last night, and for a team that lost their final eight games of the ’09 season, flashes will have to be enough for right now.
The Argos defence, expected to be a strength for the Boatmen this year, played well despite allowing 30 points. They employed the “bend-but-don’t-break” strategy; five field goals allowed and only one touchdown. Considering the Stampeders offense is quite talented, it’s a performance the Argos can build off of.
The Toronto offense was a different story, although some of the shortcomings can be attributed to the fact that most faces on that side of the ball are new to the organization and need more game-time in order to feel each other out. The 85-yard TD drive in the second quarter proved the team has that potential; the blown two-point convert that followed proved the opposite.
So how does one rank the Argos after a game like this? The answer is…you don’t. A rebuilding team needs way more than one game in order to properly evaluate them, and any positives or negatives from this game must be taken with a giant grain of salt.
But if you’re one of those sports junkies who needs to judge and evaluate right away, think about this: if you took last night’s Argos team and put it against any Argo team from last year, last night’s team probably would’ve won.
If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.
Oh, and by the way, maybe I’m just World Cup deaf, but did I hear vuvuzela’s playing during “Sweet Caroline” in the third quarter? Maybe they were just regular air horns and my hearings been permanently compromised by South Africa, but I could have sworn it was that bloody buzzing sound I’ve been hearing for three weeks now. If so, then I propose this question: can there ever be a more damning combination of sound than a vuvuzela and Neil Diamond?