Hogan: Argos looking for QB2 - Toronto Argonauts (2023)

No controversy, but there is a quarterback question to be answered.

Chad Kelly will be the starting quarterback for the Toronto Gold Seekers this season; that wasn't discussed in training camp. However, whether he can become his main substitute has not yet been determined in the game.

Three running backs competed for the bench job in camp; sophomore Argo Ben Holmes, and rookies Bryan Scott and Cameron Dukes.

This is a trio that has had its ups and downs. Some days, one of the three seems to be starting to improve in a positional battle, and the next day it's regressing, while one of the other quarterbacks is doing well.

According to the head coach, that was to be expected for such an inexperienced group.

"You can't get them too high or too low," Ryan Dinwiddie told Argonauts.ca after Monday's practice. "While we continue to work on the process, there will be some difficulties. We just need to see continued improvement. We've done some good things (in Hamilton's pre-season game on Saturday) and the lights are on for this race. Starting (against Ottawa on Thursday night) we did some things that we had to improve on."

Holmes is the "veteran" of the three. A year ago, he was the QB3 spot behind Kelly and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. He knows the system, but last year he threw very little in practice and none in games.

Like his colleagues, he had some good days and some not so good days. He said the first few practices were fast for him, but things slowed down as training camp progressed and he got more reps.

"It put me above some people," Holmes told Argonauts.ca. "But we still have to come out and execute every time. Learning from Mac and learning from Chad last year obviously helped. I know where my reads are, I know where my outline is, I know the lows of every game, so I Get familiar with the offense, it just helps you flow in the game or in practice."

Holmes was a surprise starter on Saturday when Kelly had a tight hand before the game. He made a couple of interceptions; obviously he wanted to bring back some passes.

What does he want to do against Ottawa on Thursday?

"It would be nice to have no interceptions, wouldn't it?" he said self-deprecatingly. "It's my first fight in 12 months. I agreed after the first three or four series. There are positives and negatives; you have to wash the negatives and build on the positives."

On Saturday, Bryan Scott watched his first CFL game. Like Holmes, he had flashes here and there in training camp, most notably against Hamilton when he completed 10 of 12 passes (83.3 percent) for 97 yards and a touchdown.

His performance should come as no surprise; he led the USFL in passing yards and TD passes last year before a knee injury ended the season.

"It's been a great learning experience," he said of his debut. "It's a lot of fun hanging out with these guys, playing as a unit. The environment is really fun for me."

Scott even tried singing along to the national anthem before the game, even though he didn't know all the words. Like some of the nuances of a three-player game, it will become natural over time.

He has grown fond of some rule differences, such as the 20-second game time.

"I think it helps me find my rhythm," he explained. "Coach Dinwiddie has done a fantastic job of prepping me and our quarterback. I've told him and I've told people here, but he's probably the greatest offensive coach I've ever seen. Only him , training me every day, it’s fun. I get better every day because of him and coach Miller (QB coach Mike Miller). I’m excited to continue to improve and look forward to this week.”

The third QB trying to slide into a backup role was Cameron Dukes. After being named All-NAIA in 2021, he entered the pro pool with Las Vegas in the minor leagues last year.

The Dukes also had a good day Saturday, going 15/21 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He knew he was in serious competition with Holmes and Scott.

"It's a game at the end of the day, but it's a friendly game. We all want to see everyone succeed. We want to push each other up every day, so we want everyone to lift everyone in the room. This It's a great room, we work together every day, stay up late, arrive early."

Dukes showed his knack for improvisation during the game, at one point emptying out of the pocket and underhanding the ball at or near the end zone.

Is this a game we should get used to?

"Not outside the end zone," he said with a laugh. "I used it once in Vegas last year. It's an instinctive game and I just had fun playing it."

With so much competition right now and time running out before training camp ends, Thursday's three games could go a long way toward final rankings.

"It's important," Dinwiddie said. "See if you're two, three or maybe not here. They're fighting for a spot on the roster, but they want to be number two because they're one game away."

Argonaut Notes

There was some positive injury news out of training camp Monday. Chad Kelly was able to practice and didn't seem to be cutting the workload. Kurleigh Gittens Jr. didn't practice, though head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told Argonauts.ca the shoulder injury the receiver suffered Saturday was just a bruise. He added that Gittens was available on Thursday, but the coach leaned toward ruling him out. Robert Priest attended training but did not participate. Shawn Oakman trained with pads and helmet for the first time this season...Kelly showed no hand issues in skelly's first game. He threw a deep throw to the left sideline, was caught by Damonte Coxie on a 40-yard TD, and he made a sensational catch that took the ball away from the defender... Most unexpected play of the day In an all-out scrimmage, Deionte Knight bounces the ball into the air. When he fell, he fell into the hands of defensive lineman Jared Brinkman, who sprinted about 25 yards to the end zone... The most memorable play of the day came at the end of practice. On Sunday, head coach Ryan Dinwiddie spotted Sydney Webb -- the 14-year-old son of longtime equipment manager Danny Webb -- kicking the ball after practice and scoring several long-range shots. On Monday, Dinwiddie invited Webber Jr. to try his luck on a 32-yard field goal. Webb had never shot with a long snapper and a butt before. With the entire team watching and trying to distract him, Webb delivered a shot to the cheers of everyone. He attempted a second field goal from the same distance and it hit too...Wednesday's practice was the last of the entire camp and will run from 9.55am to 12.20pm at Guell Jeff's Alumni Stadium. This is the venue for Thursday's preseason game against Ottawa at 7:00. For tickets, visit gryphons.ca/tickets.


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