TORONTO - They have a new owner, a new coach and a handful of new players, but there is something the Toronto Argonauts are missing two weeks into their robust rebuilding spree: A quarterback.
The CFL team announced Monday it has released little-used reserve Stephen Reaves, completing a trifecta of cuts that has left Toronto without a single quarterback on its roster. The Argos released starter Kerry Joseph and back-up Cody Pickett in a separate move Sunday.
It is the latest in a string of dramatic moves aimed at reshaping a team that finished with a league-worst 3-15 record last season. The Argos missed the playoffs for the second straight year, and struggled to find any measure of consistency from the quarterback position.
Toronto acquired Joseph in a trade with Saskatchewan two years ago, after watching him lead the Roughriders to a Grey Cup win at Rogers Centre. He was quickly ensnared in a divisive duel with incumbent Michael Bishop in his first season with the Argos, and floundered under the inexperience of rookie coach Bart Andrus last year.
Andrus, billed as an offensive innovator when he was hired over the winter, was overwhelmed. The Argos finished at or near the bottom of the league in every meaningful offensive category, including points (18.2 per game) and average offence (282.6 yards per game).
The coach was fired in December.
"Kerry and Cody have contributed a lot to this team and we thank them for their past efforts," Argos coach Jim Barker said in a release distributed over the weekend. "We understand that it seems bold to release these quarterbacks before announcing the additions of new quarterbacks to the roster but we wanted to make this move immediately so these players could try to catch on with other teams."
It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Argos, beginning from when they were transferred to David Braley from co-owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon. Barker was named head coach, and he got to work quickly.
Assistant general manager Greg Mohns was dispatched, along with scout Miles Gorrell. Barker unveiled eight new assistant coaches last week, a group headlined by former Argos Mike O'Shea and Orlondo Steinauer, while quietly parting ways with every assistant who worked with the team last year.
Long-time Canadian receiver Andre Talbot was shipped to Edmonton, while linebacker Zeke Moreno was given his outright release.