Philip Blake moves to left tackle, first-round pick Gregor Mackellar draws first start as Argos battle offensive line injuries

Photo courtesy: Toronto Argonauts

The Toronto Argonauts have been forced to do some roster shuffling in the trenches after both of the team’s left tackles have been placed on the six-game injured list.

Starter Isiah Cage was already on the shelf last week and has since been joined by backup Trevon Tate, who went down in the team’s Week 7 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That means that veteran left guard Philip Blake will push over one spot to protect McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s blindside.

The 36-year-old veteran Canadian has experience starting at tackle from his college days at Baylor but has primarily played along the interior at the professional level. A former NFL fourth-round pick of the Denver Broncos, Blake has suited up in 84 games over seven seasons since returning to Canada with the Montreal Alouettes in 2015.

With Blake moving over one spot, 2022 first-round pick Gregor MacKellar draws his first career start at left guard.

The Argos took the Nova Scotia native sixth overall this past offseason after a stellar collegiate career at St. Francis Xavier University that included a pair of second-team U Sports All-Canadian selections. The transfer from Rice University in the NCAA has primarily served as the Argos’ sixth offensive lineman but will play this week over former first-overall selection Shane Richards.

To complete the trio of Argos’ first-rounders up front, 2020 ninth-overall selection Theren Churchill will dress as the seventh lineman, suiting up for the first time after missing the first part of the 2022 season to be present for the birth of his child.