November 9, 2017

Hogan: Argos will enjoy the bye

Cassius Vaughn (26) during the Toronto Argonauts training camp at York University in Toronto, ON. Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

The waiting is the hardest part – Tom Petty

In most cases, a 9-9 record is not a major accomplishment. Former NFL coach Bill Parcells once said “You are what your record says you are.” For the Toronto Argonauts, there may be a bit more to the story.

The Argos finished last in the East a year ago, but the .500 record this year was good enough to win the division and get the gift that comes with it, a first-round bye.

So while Saskatchewan and Ottawa slug it out in the Capital this Sunday, the Argos will be resting and preparing to host the winner at BMO Field on Sunday, November 19th.

Toronto is coming off an impressive 40-13 win over the Lions in Vancouver, which many would say was their best all-around game of the season. A win like that will no doubt leave the Boatmen in positive spirits, leaving many to think the club may want to ride the momentum into the playoffs and strap the helmets on immediately.

Head Coach Marc Trestman was asked if there was a part of him that would like to ride that wave and play this weekend.

“No,” he replied without hesitation. “I feel it’s a privilege to have a bye. I think we’ve earned it.”

“We’re proud of the win,” he said of the victory in Vancouver, “We’re appreciative of the win, we’re grateful for the bye and we’ll get our work in and we’ll go to work next Tuesday with them and get them started on whatever team we’re going to play.”

Trestman limited practice to just one-hour on Wednesday, half the usual length, then gave the players another day off on Thursday. The time off is appreciated by the players, including quarterback Ricky Ray.

“It’s big. We’ve been lucky with as much time as we’re getting off with the bye week late in the season and then a little bit of rest here,” said the 38-year old, who then smiled and added, “Especially for old guys like me, it takes an extra day of two to get the body feeling good again, so I’m not complaining.”

“That’s what you play for,” continued the QB. “All year long you’re looking to get that first-round bye and we were able to accomplish that and we’re making the best of it.”

Ray was named an East Division All-Star on Wednesday, as was linebacker Cassius Vaughn. Coming off a two-interception performance against the Lions, the Ole Miss product is looking forward to using the extended time off to his advantage.

“I’m thankful that I have a chance to get better at my craft for an extra week,” said Vaughn. “And then we get an extra week to see what other teams are doing.”

Vaughn then took the opportunity to look big picture.

“We get a chance to work on ourselves,” added the Memphis native. “There’s nothing more important than self-scouting and working on your own individual skills, not worrying about what other people do. The mistakes come when you don’t know your stuff.”

For now, looking at the potential opponents will be the responsibility of the coaching staff. Trestman, who on Thursday was named the East Division’s Coach of the Year, said his staff will get a bit of a head start on breaking down film on both the Redblacks and Roughriders.

“There’ll be some,” admitted the coach. “We’re not going to overextend ourselves either in that regard.”

“We’ll do some groundwork for each team so we’re ready to go on Monday, so there’ll be less time to have to prepare,” continued the coach. “So these off days, these days that the players are not in, we’ll do some work to get some of that done, but as I said we’re not going to overextend ourselves either.”

There’s an old argument about “rest versus rust” when it comes to time off. Is it better to get some time off and rest, or is it preferable to keep playing as to not get a bit rusty.

There seems to be little doubt the Argos are happy for the downtime.