There is no question in the mind of McLeod Bethel-Thompson who the Argos’ No. 1 quarterback will be.
“I see myself as the starter and I see myself leading this team to a lot of wins this year and be a very competitive team — I think we’re flying under the radar in a lot of ways,” Bethel-Thompson told TSN reporter Matthew Scianitti.
“I am the starter of the Toronto Argonauts as I see it right now. There’s going to be more quarterbacks that come in here. I assume we sign somebody in the next week or so that is there to compete with me.”
Free agent QB Matt Nichols visited Toronto after being released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Bethel-Thompson’s backup for most of last season, James Franklin is a pending free agent as is Dakota Prukop.
“McLeod Bethel-Thompson is going to be a Toronto Argonaut and it’s his job to make sure that he’s the starter on day one. He is a leader who guy really respect in the locker room. Having a guy who has delivered as well as a guy who is respected, when those two things come together you know you’re in good shape,” general manager Pinball Clemons said.
“He expects that he’s going to start and that’s the most important thing. We know that this guy here believes that he’s going to be the guy. It’s our job is to bring in other guys who challenge him to that point so that we get better as a group.”
Bethel-Thompson led the CFL with 26 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions and was one of only three passers to break the 4,000-yard passing mark in 2019. He went 4-10 as the starting QB for the Argos last season.
“I’m here for the Toronto Argonauts in 2020 to win the Grey Cup, that’s my job and I’m going to do it on the field. My best ball is ahead of me and it lies in 2020,” Bethel-Thompson said.
Former CFL quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie was hired by the Argos as head coach in December. Prior to coming to The Six, Dinwiddie worked with Bo Levi Mitchell and Nick Arbuckle in Calgary.
“He’s a hell of a football coach and he’s in a position that he’s ready to take the next step and so am I. Throughout the season we hope to push each other to be the best that we possible can and win a lot of football games and put a lot of points on the scoreboard,” Bethel-Thompson said.
Overall, Bethel-Thompson has a 6-16 win-loss record. The 31-year-old passer has played 42 CFL games passing for 6,227 yards with a 67 percent completion rate and 35 touchdowns versus 23 picks through three CFL seasons.
“We need to build a culture. It starts and ends with Pinball Clemons, he’s a special human being and he’s set a standard of behaviour and a standard of winning that needs to be followed from the top all the way down,” Bethel-Thompson said.
“On a day in and day out basis, we need to build a culture of winning and a culture of respectability and deliver on the promise that Pinball has come to lead our Argos to a new place and to a 2020 Grey Cup.”