Argos bracing for possible time without Ricky Ray

Chris Van Zeyl let out a big sigh when he contemplated playing without Ricky Ray at quarterback for the Argos.

“You want to say the next guy is going to step up and do an incredible job, but that’s Ricky Ray, that’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, it’s very hard to replace him,” Van Zeyl, who has been on the offensive line during Ray’s entire tenure in Toronto, said.

“I know that guys behind him will work hard to get themselves ready. It all depends on how severe the injury is, I’m hoping for the best,” he said. “But it’s very hard to replace a guy like Ricky Ray.”

The 38-year-old signal caller took a hit from Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Michael Kashak late in the third quarter. He spent a few seconds down on the BMO Field grass, then got up and went immediately to the Argos sideline.

“That’s our job and when things don’t go right and he gets hit and ends up on the turf it tears you up inside,” Van Zeyl said. “He’s the last guy to ever say anything negative to anybody. He’s even keel, he keeps to himself, when he’s hurting you can’t tell – he’s the iceman back there. Right now that’s really all I can think about, we lost a game but it pails in comparison to how my quarterback’s doing.”

After consulting with the Argos medical staff, Ray tossed the ball twice near the bench – each time he had a noticeable grimace on his face – and decided to sit out the rest of the game.

“He was sore and couldn’t really complete the throwing motion. He wasn’t in a great amount of pain, but enough that it inhibited his throwing,” head coach Marc Trestman said.

Anthony Coombs, the Argonauts longest-serving receiver, verbalized the team’s worst fears.

“You hope it’s not what you think it is,” he said.

Ray has injured his shoulder multiple times in the past. It was a game in Toronto back in 2013 when Charleston Hughes drove the three-time Grey Cup champion pivot into the turf at Rogers Centre, tearing the teres major muscle, which required rest and caused him to miss six games.

That’s how the shoulder issues started.

After suffering a torn labrum and small tear in his rotator cuff in the second last game of the 2014 season, Ray underwent surgery soon after the season ended. That recovery took longer than expected and he missed the first 16 games of the 2015 season.

“Obviously a lot of things are going through my head right now the way things have been the last few years,” Ray says. “Just a little sore, took a shot on the arm and it was aching a little bit. We’re hoping it’s just a bruise – a direct hit there and it doesn’t feel good right now.”

Ray leads the CFL in pass attempts by a wide margin, attempting 292 so far this season for a CFL-best 2,421 yards.

“We’re a pass-first offence and we know what’s at stake. We know that we gotta keep him upright, when he goes down it’s not that there’s going to be a drop off, but you almost expect a drop off because he’s so freakin’ good,” Van Zeyl says. “You don’t really know how to move forward without a guy like that.”

Ray is due for a follow-up medical examination on Friday.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
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Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (428 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

14 Comments on Argos bracing for possible time without Ricky Ray

  1. Ricky just couldn’t find any open receivers. Was Calgary’s coverage that good or did the receivers just not do a good job to get open? As you can see in the video above, he was on his third arm pump when he got hit. There were a couple of other times we (the crowd) were yelling for him to throw it … and then he got hit, again. Fajardo, on the other hand, rarely threw the ball, but wasn’t afraid to run it himself if he didn’t like what he saw. And he ran a TD himself.

    My bet is Fajardo starts the next 2 games against Montreal – because he’ll beat them the first time and Trestman will send him back out there for the next one.

  2. Hors E Power // August 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm //

    Ricky Ray is one of the all time greats. He was having an amazing season with a patch work team and a great coach (imagine what Trestman could have done for Durant had Sask not made a hasty deal with the devil Jones)
    For those that don’t know. Ray won the Grey Cup in 2 of his first 3 years as a starter

  3. He’ll be back next home game.

  4. cvmurrieta // August 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm //

    Given that the East is so weak, the Argos may be able to hold onto the top spot if Ray is only out for a short period of time. If he is out for an extended period of time, then it will be “Fasten-Your-Seatbelts” time.

    • The East teams have to play each other and that’s what it’s going to depend on. I doubt whether any east team will beat a west team this year.
      Without Ray it’s going to be a battle to stay out of third and avoid the west cross over.
      Ottawa and Montreal will likely take the two playoff spots

  5. Fajardo will get the job done, even better than Ricky, because he’s young, tough, big, fast, good arm, smart, mobile and gutsy. Ricky was pretty much one dimensional, nothing subtle about his game, just a good drop back passer playing in a league that needs more from its QBs than that. Mobility is a major requirement of QBs in the CFL.

    • Hors E Power // August 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm //

      That may all be true Jimbobray
      However Ray has experience !

    • Fajardo is going to be special, I think he will be Argo future if we just give him the ball unconditionally.

      Great arm and runs great. He is a passer through for 10,000 yards plus in his college career, even surpassed Crazy Colin P, I believe.

      And as a bonus Cody is a family man with great wife and stands for all the right things.. A bonus in my book

  6. That is why a QB like Ray needs excellent protection so he can use the skills he has and does not have to rely on the ones he doesn’t.

  7. Ray’s lack of mobility makes him a sitting duck behind a weak offensive line that can’t run block either. As much as I admire him, defences can use
    pressure to force him into quick throws or trap him in a collapsing pocket. Ray has a lot of passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. I counted five in one game. That’s way too many blocks. The Argos need a mobile QB who is as smart as Ray at finding receivers.

  8. The way the Argo Oline has been playing as of late the Argos better use Fajardo. He is mobile and can scramble out of a Oline breakdown and still make plays. Matthews has the same makeup as Ray and will just end up on IR with him and get walloped like Ray has been. Will see real fast if the Argos are a contender or a pretender.

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