There’s no disputing Ricky Ray as the Argonauts unanimous team MOP, but there was a shocking name left off the Argos set of team award winners.
Arguments can be made for S.J. Green in particular as a challenger to Ray for MOP. The 32-year-old had the best season of his career – 1,462 yards – in becoming Ray’s No. 1 target and helping the veteran pivot accumulate more than 5,500 yards passing for the first time since 2008. James Wilder Jr. has been impressive but he’s only started six games at running back. Ray being the team nominee in the MOP category was the right call.
Bear Woods certainly has made a difference on Toronto’s defence, but it might not have been as impactful as Marcus Ball, Victor Butler or Shawn Lemon. Ball’s been around the football and changed some games for the Argos being directly involved in four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumbles). When on the field together, Lemon and Butler were possibly the best pass rushing tandem in the league, eight and 10 sacks respectively. The proven ability to harass the quarterback from Lemon left Butler with one-on-ones that he used to his advantage. Missing games likely cost Ball (4), Lemon (6) and Butler (6) legitimate chances to be the Argos most outstanding defensive player.
The biggest surprise was seeing Chris Van Zeyl omitted from the Canadian and offensive lineman category. No disrespect to Sean McEwen who has played well at centre. But playing right tackle is much more difficult and Van Zeyl has played it at an all-star level in 2017. He should be Toronto’s winner for both Canadian and offensive lineman. If Anthony Coombs stayed healthy all season he could have pushed Van Zeyl for the Argos top Canadian, but that wasn’t the case. Van Zeyl should have been the double nominee for Toronto.
Martese Jackson exploded for the Argos and deserves the special teams nod, just ask Karen about him having three return touchdowns instead of two. Llevi Noel ranks near the top of the league in special teams tackles (23), which should get some attention.
All that was wrong with the Argos rookie selection was that Jame Wilder Jr. wasn’t a unanimous choice. Over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and a 5-1 record with Wilder Jr. starting at running back is absolute dominance. Defensive lineman Dylan Wynn stood out with six sacks as did Jackson for what he did in the return game, but Wilder Jr. trumps his other teammates.