Mincy eyes a return to all-star form in CFL return with Argos
Jonathon Mincy is ready to make mince meat of opposing receivers, a fundamentally solid defensive back who will re-enter the CFL’s waters this week when he makes his Double Blue debut.
Whether Mincy can duplicate the all-star form he showed when he first came to Canada as a member of the Montreal Alouettes is yet to be determined, but the guy is talented and he knows just enough about Toronto’s defensive system and concepts to allow him to line up at corner against visiting Saskatchewan on Saturday.
While Mincy is versatile and can likely line up anywhere in Toronto’s back end, slotting him at cornerback will give him the opportunity lock in on his man.
He also has a physical edge.
Typical of many American players, Mincy made the most of his time in Montreal during the 2016 and 2017 seasons to draw attention down south.
Recently released by the NFL’s Chicago Bears, the Argos put in a call and Mincy was glad to hear from the CFL club.
“I’m just blessed to have another opportunity to get back on the field,’’ said Mincy, 27, who won a U.S. national championship at Auburn. “The game for me, with its style, I’m just ready to go out there and compete and help my team.”
His return to the CFL comes at a time when the Argos have been hard-pressed to put together a complete game from start to finish.
Despite the near-misses and opportunities that couldn’t be seized, the Argos find themselves on the thinnest of ice at 2-10.
Regardless of the team’s plight, the excitement of getting back on the field fuels Mincy.
“This is exciting,’’ he said. “I can showcase my skills again and help our team.”
As soon as the Argos signed Mincy, he quickly became the team’s top defensive back, at least based on his previous tenure in three-down football.
The Argos will quickly get a barometer and where Mincy stands as he plays in his first game for Toronto.
“Football is my job,’’ he added. “I know a few those guys (on the Riders roster), a few former teammates. It’s going to be a hyped game. Anytime you get to play against former teammates it makes the game a little bit more competitive.”
ARGOS’ TOP PICK RICHARDS STILL A COWBOY AT HEART
While his primary focus remains on the Argos and continuing to absorb life as a professional football player, Shane Richards can’t help but occasionally cast an eye on Stillwater, Okla., his former collegiate home.
Cowboys Nation has been abuzz at the running exploits of Chuba Hubbard, whom Richards knows intimately as part of the Canadian Connection that first landed at Oklahoma State University.
Given the high-profile position Hubbard plays, Richards understands the appeal, but at the same time no running back can chew up yards if the line isn’t doing its job.
Richards mans the trenches and was taken first overall by the Argos in this year’s CFL draft.
During the week of the Argos’ second game of the season, Richards suffered a serious groin injury that sidelined him for months.
He made his return last Friday night and will be back for this Saturday’s visit by Saskatchewan.
Whether it’s discussing Chuba’s prowess in the NCAA or his own evolution, there’s been plenty to chew on for Richards, including linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga, a fellow Albertan who also plays at Oklahoma State.
“Chuba has been getting the spotlight,’’ said Richards. “But Amen has been going crazy as well. It’s been great seeing what those two guys have been doing. The line has been doing a great job. They don’t get a lot of love, but a big shout-out to them.
“It’s not really a surprise for anyone who knows Chuba and who has been around the program since he came in. It was just a matter of time. I’m proud of him for sure.”
Richards made his pro debut in Toronto’s season opener against Hamilton.
It was during the week of practice as the Argos were preparing for a road game against Saskatchewan when Richards injured his groin.
“It’s part of being a pro, still learning, taking care of my body,’’ said Richards. “It sucks to be out that long, but I guess it’s part of the game, even if it was during my rookie campaign. I am happy to be back.”
Rather than sulk during his injury absence, Richards used the occasion to stay mentally locked in while at the same time doing all that was required from a physical standpoint during his rehab.
‘‘When I first came in, I was like: ‘Wow, it’s noon. What am I going to do for the rest of the day?’ You can only watch so much film, but you learn how to take care of your body and what works for me because everyone is different.
“I’ve got some of it done, but it’s always a learning process, what I like, what I don’t like, what things I’ll try.”
The Argos are down to their final six games, for many likely their last time to make an impression.
Richards is a building block for the franchise.
Admittedly, given his extended injury absence, it’s as if he’s back to training camp.
“Missed the majority of the season and for these last six games just go out and do the best I can, for one, and also make sure my technique is tight,’’ said Richards.