You probably couldn’t blame head coach Scott Milanovich for kicking the lone photographer off the Downsview Park practice field Wednesday in mid-practice while his Toronto Argonauts squad readies for their final game of the year Saturday against the Edmonton Eskimos.
After all, it has to be frustrating for coaches, players and front office personnel to be the ‘focus’ of quite a bit of attention and criticism after a dismal record of five wins so far this year, and the real potential to end the year on a seven-game losing streak.
About one month ago, Milanovich and his Argos essentially kicked four receivers off the field – and off the team – in what could be seen as a bid to shake the cobwebs of mediocrity from the roster and halt a losing slide on the field.
That didn’t work.
One of those receivers – Kevin Elliott, pictured below at an Argos practice one week before being released- was picked up by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and has contributed nicely on the field for the Black and Gold.
Meanwhile, for the Boatmen, it’s sink or swim time. Ricky Ray, below, looks to be the guy behind centre Saturday in Edmonton to round out the year and turn this last game into something positive for the upcoming offseason.
The Argos have two capable young QBs on the sideline in Drew Willy and Logan Kilgore ready to step onto the field should Ray have difficulty Saturday, or even decide this is his last year as a three-time Grey Cup-winning signal caller.
It’ll be a tough way to end the season, or a career.
Ben Malena, below, a rookie running back for the Argos, has a few years ahead of him, though. The 24-year-old product of Texas A&M was picked up by Toronto following a few stints on the Dallas Cowboys practice roster after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
Malena should get plenty of help on the field from offensive lineman Gregory Van Roten, below. Van Roten, who played ten games for the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and 2013, was honored last year by the Argos with the Most Outstanding Lineman award after starting 17 regular season games at centre, guard and tackle in his first season with the Boatmen.