For the Toronto Argonauts last year was magical. Or perhaps to be more accurate, the last five weeks made for a magical year.
But when you consider at this time last year the organization had a new executive Chairman and CEO in Chris Rudge, a new head coach in Scott Milanovich, a new defensive coordinator in Chris Jones, and a new quarterback in Ricky Ray, to win the 100th Grey Cup 35-22 over Calgary was remarkable.
That being said, they were just a 9-9 team during the regular season and that still needs to improve.
On offence, three issues stand out: sixth in the league scoring points has to improve because 24 points per game is not enough; eighth in the league in rushing should easily improve with Chad Kackert now established as a true No. 1 running back; and most significant, eighth in red zone offence is a complete priority. Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns was a big reason for Toronto's 9-9 regular season.
The key to the Argos success last season was on defence and specifically, in leading the league in forcing opponents to run two plays and punt. It gave their offence extra opportunities and frustrated their opposition profusely. It was the team's best trait last year and made a big difference at the end of games.
I remember in the Grey Cup, opening possession for Toronto resulted in an interception, leading to a great opportunity for the Stampeders to score early, which in championship games is huge. Two plays later the Stampeders punted and there was no consequence for that early mistake.
There is no comparison between the Argos now and the team they were at this time last year. The offence, defence, and special teams playbook is the same so it is now so much more about mastering plays and technique than learning plays and technique.
Chad Owens will be productive and Ray, as always, will be calm, cool, and collected. The defensive personnel will change but with Brandon Isaac, Marcus Ball, and Robert McCune the middle level will make the plays until the front and back can catch up.
That's right, the opportunity is there for the Argos to repeat when November 24 rolls around. A little red zone here offence, a little running game there, and one more impact receiver. It's that simple.