NEWS
09/12/2016 14:13 EDT | Updated 09/13/2017 01:12 EDT

Argos to stick with LeFevour as their starter after acquiring Wily from Bombers

TORONTO — Dan LeFevour remains the Toronto Argonauts' starting quarterback — for now.

LeFevour will make his second straight start Saturday night when Toronto visits Winnipeg, not newly acquired Drew Willy. The Argos landed Willy from the Blue Bombers on Sunday night for defensive back T.J. Heath, a 2017 first-round draft pick and 2018 third-round selection.

Wily joined his new team early Monday. Head coach Scott Milanovich said while it wouldn't be impossible for Willy to start in Winnipeg, LeFevour earned that right after Toronto's 33-21 home win over Hamilton on Sunday night.

"I see Drew as a bona fide starter, an upper-tier starter," Milanovich said. "Now, when or if that will be for us, I don't know.

"Dan played outstanding. I don't think people realize what he did and how difficult that is to do having zero reps going into the week. He keeps playing well and he'll keep getting the ball."

The six-foot-three, 230-pound LeFevour made his first CFL start in over two years Sunday, replacing injured incumbent Ricky Ray (ribs). LeFevour completed 27-of-36 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions while also running for 39 yards on 10 carries.

But LeFevour's mobility allowed Toronto to include naked bootlegs, a moving pocket and even the option in its offensive repetoire. Those are all plays the Argos couldn't do with Ray, who's a drop-back passer.

Willy, 29, began the season as Winnipeg's starter but lost his job to backup Matt Nichols after the club's 1-4 start. The Bombers are 6-0 since the change.

Argos GM Jim Barker began talking to Winnipeg counterpart Kyle Walters about Willy after Ray was injured in Toronto's 49-36 road win in Hamilton on Sept. 5 He admits he paid a steep price for the former University of Buffalo quarterback, who signed a three-year extension with the Bombers in 2015 reportedly worth around $400,000 annually.

"Anytime you go get a quarterback you're going to pay a price," Barker said. "A quarterback is as vital as any position on the field.

"We felt the No. 1 thing for us is to give our team, our coaches and our fans a chance to win the Grey Cup this year."

Toronto now has six quarterbacks (Willy, Ray, LeFevour, Logan Kilgore, Cody Fajardo and Brady Bolles) but Ray and Fajardo are both hurt. Willy's arrival, though, does prompt questions regarding Ray's future.

Ray, 36, is under contract through 2017 and his deal is reportedly incentive-laden. But more importantly, he's battled an assortment of injuries since joining the franchise prior to the 2012 season.

"Those are things that are going to play out over time," Barker said. "Ricky is 36 and I know he's frustrated by what's happened but the bottom line is I can't worry about that.

"I have to look at where we are right now. We'd lost four games in a row and we needed to do something and so I went out and did something."

Toronto (5-6) is tied for second in the East Division with Hamilton (5-6) however the Ticats have the tie-breaker after winning the season series 2-1. Both teams are just a point behind front-running Ottawa (5-4-1).

The six-foot-four, 220-pound Willy began his third season in Winnipeg and fifth in the CFL. He has completed 650-of-972 passes (66.9 per cent) for 7,858 yards with 36 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.

Willy was watching the Toronto-Hamilton game at home Sunday night when Bombers' head coach Mike O'Shea came to Willy's residence to personally deliver the news.

"Yeah, I was surprised but I've talked to enough quarterbacks around this league that tell me anything is possible at any time," he said. "We (Bombers) just got off to a slow start.

"A lot of those guys will be life-long friends and I wish them all the best."

However, Willy isn't sure how he'll be received when he returns to Winnipeg.

"It's definitely going to be different being in the visitors' locker-room," he said. "I can't really tell you what my emotions will be but I will do everything I can to support Dan.

"Obviously I know Winnipeg very well and I plan on helping him with every single read he has out there."

Willy joins a Toronto offence that's been very quarterback friendly under Milanovich, who has garnered a reputation of being a quarterback guru. Not only has Ray excelled — when healthy — but so too did youngsters Zach Collaros (Hamilton) and Trevor Harris (Ottawa).

"You can tell by the way the quarterbacks play, they always know where they're going with the ball," Willy said. "Whatever he thinks that quarterback is good at, he's going to make sure they feel comfortable with the gameplan.

"I'm excited to work with him."