Dinwiddie mulls another decision on Argonauts’ starting quarterback

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Once again, Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie has a decision to make at quarterback.


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And once again, he’ll wait before deciding on his starter for Wednesday’s visit by the Ottawa Redblacks.

The Argos huddled on Saturday for a light workout that would see McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Nick Arbuckle share the reps.

One will start this week and Dinwiddie hopes to announce which one as early as Sunday.

The Argos are 4-3 this season, with both QBs directing the club to two wins. Arbuckle entered the season with an injured hamstring, which allowed the veteran MBT to start games in Calgary and Winnipeg. But Arbuckle was under centre in the Argos’ home opener against the Blue Bombers and held the job for a month until he aggravated the hamstring in the third quarter of a road loss to Saskatchewan.

When the Alouettes came to town on Sept. 24, MBT started, with Antonio Pipkin dressing as the backup in the latter’s Double Blue debut.


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MBT was clean and made plays down the field in guiding the Argos to a 30-27 win. He completed just two passes in the second half, but later in the first he guided the Argos to two touchdowns in 42 seconds.

If recent history is any indication, Dinwiddie will likely go with Bethel-Thompson.

It was MBT who stepped in for an injured Arbuckle in the Argos’ season-opening win over the Stamps, a similar backdrop to MBT’s start against the Als.

“He played well,” said Arbuckle of MBT’s performance against Montreal. “It’ll be tough to take him off the field. We’ll see where we’re at there. I feel good about both guys.

“I feel comfortable with both guys. They are different in their skill set, but I think Mac deserves the opportunity.


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“We’ll see where he’s at when we gather for practice (Sunday). I’m comfortable with both guys and both guys deserve to play.”

Dinwiddie wants both players to share reps as the Argos emerge from their bye break.

“We’ll deal with it as we get into the week,” said Dinwiddie.

Injuries aside, the issue with Arbuckle has been protecting the football and making smart decisions. In home wins over Winnipeg and Hamilton, he was sloppy in either fumbling the football or allowing it to hit the turf. He also has more interceptions (6) than touchdown passes (5), but he knows the Dinwiddie system.

MBT is new to the system, but he hasn’t been as careless in his three starts.

“I’ve always loved his arm talent,” said Dinwiddie of MBT. “He’s an exceptional passer. He’s getting the ball out quicker now. He’s seeing things better and that’s because he’s learning with more opportunities being in the offence.


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“For him to pick it up as quickly as he did early on I was excited about it. You see it now and it’s a different comfort level as far as seeing the field, getting the ball out of your hands, understanding what we’re looking for in each concept.

“He’s taken that next step. I truly believed he would take that next step in his career and I feel the same way about Nick. I felt more comfortable with both guys, maybe more comfortable than some other people. I believe our quarterbacks are darn good.”

Pipkin likely will not dress this week.

Dinwiddie liked what he saw from Pipkin when the formers Als QB took some live reps for the first time as an Argo.

“I was trying to get him some quarterback draws because he did well in our short yardage,” said Dinwiddie. “I think the kid is going in the right direction. He kind of got thrown to the wolves early in his career,like most quarterbacks, and struggled.


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“You lose a little bit of confidence. I think he’s getting that back. He’s getting better each day.”


Justin Tuggle is no stranger to the Argos, having broken into the CFL with Toronto in 2017, a year in which the club won a Grey Cup.

The versatile rush end. who can play at linebacker, crossed paths with Dinwiddie in Calgary two years ago as a potential free agent signing, though he eventually would sign with Edmonton.

Where and when Tuggle lines up for Toronto will depend on how Chris Jones evaluates him during practice.

“We’ve always had an eye on him,’’ said Dinwiddie of Tuggle, whose dad Jessie was a former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker with Atlanta. “He’s physical and has the character we’re looking to bring into this building.”


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His brother is Grady Jarrett, a stud defensive end for the Falcons. One of Jarrett’s former teammates in Atlanta is cornerback Jalen Collins, whom the Argos also have signed but is currently in quarantine.

“He’s in town,” said Dinwiddie. “He’s been on our radar. We’ll be having him soon.”


Chandler Worthy caught a deep touchdown pass in the Argos’ most recent win over the Alouettes, while a deep reception by Damion Jeanpiere led to another major.

Worthy doubles as the Boatmen’s kick returner. Jeanpiere got the start when veteran Eric Rogers was a late scratch because of a hamstring injury. The newcomer’s status for the Redblacks game will depend on the health of Rogers.

“He did a helluva job for us,” said Dinwiddie of Jeanpiere. “He gave us some more down-field speed. Chandler gives us that as well. Chandler will be up for sure, but we’ll see where Eric’s at and I’ll have to make that decision on Damion and Eric moving forward.”




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