Argos’ RB Carey shining bright in opening games

Toronto's new back reaches 2 career milestones in Week Three win

Ka'Deem Carey, Toronto Argonauts
Toronto running back Ka'Deem Carey (#25) splitting the Edmonton Elks' defence. Carey is back on form in his first year with the Argos. Photo: Sarah Maat/Toronto Observer 

It’s been a long road for running back Ka’Deem Carey, but things seem to be turning around in his first few weeks as a Toronto Argonaut.

The former Chicago Bears’ backup had an all-star season in 2022 as a member of the Calgary Stampeders where he led the CFL in rushing yards (1,088) and touchdowns (10).

Things took a turn last year, however, when the five-foot-nine, 206-pound ball carrier missed a total of nine games with turf toe and quad injuries, leading to his eventual release at the conclusion of his fourth season with the Stampeders. 

Carey, 31, made the decision to join the Toronto Argonauts in February and entered into a familiar offensive system with Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie at the helm. The latter was a quarterback coach in Calgary from 2016-19, has been impressed with his running back’s performance thus far.

“He’s living up to what I expected,” Dinwiddie said, after the Double Blue’s 39-36 victory over the Edmonton Elks, last Saturday at BMO Field. “I think he’s in a great room, a great environment, where now he’s taking on a leadership role.

“He’s doing everything it takes. He wants to win.”

In Week One, Carey finished with 105 all-purpose yards and a receiving touchdown to open the scoring for the Argos in their 35-27 victory over the B.C. Lions.

Carey brought that momentum into the start of their second game of the season against the Elks.

On their second possession of the game, the Argos ran four consecutive plays through the runner where he picked up 31 yards before Deeonta McMahon exploded for a 44-yard rushing touchdown down the left side of the field.

The Argos made their game plan clear in the first half with 15 rush attempts. Ten of those attempts were from Carey, who did most of his work in the middle of the field in the opening half, contributing 47 of the Argos’ 109 combined yards on the ground through 30 minutes.

While Toronto has balanced their offense nicely between the pass and run game through their opening two contests, the opportunity to carry a heavy workload in the backfield — like he was tasked with against Edmonton — was another reason why Carey wanted to join Dinwiddie and the Argonauts.

“That played a huge role, and (Coach Dinwiddie) made that very clear from the beginning,” he said. “Then he made it very clear we had a beautiful offensive line, so it was almost a no-brainer.

“I just felt like I was going to be a good piece for the team.”

After the Elks tied the game early in the third quarter, the Argos stormed back down the field and gave the ball to Carey on the Elks’ four yard line before navigating through traffic to find the end zone, scoring his 20th career touchdown and putting Toronto up 29-21 heading into the fourth.

Just four minutes into the fourth quarter, he reached another major milestone, eclipsing the 3,000 career rushing yard mark with an eight yard carry up the gut of the Elks’ defensive line. 

To cap off a special night, the Argos turned to Carey in the biggest moment of the game, and he delivered. With 57 seconds left tied 36-36, the Argos got the ball at the Elks’ 45 yard line and handed it off to Carey, who cruised along the left sideline for a 15-yard gain to put them within field goal range.

Lirim Hajrullahu then nailed a 37-yard kick for the game-winning score as Toronto went on to win 39-36.

Carey finished the night with 104 rushing yards, bringing him to 169 on the season, which is second in the CFL behind William Stanbeck of the B.C. Lions despite playing one less game. 

“It just feels like a breath of fresh air,” the former Arizona Wildcat said, of being an Argo. “I feel great with the offensive line over there, pushing it five yards so I can juke out a defender, I can lower the shoulder, and I can really just show my talent.”

Carey and the Argos will look to extend their winning streak next Friday against the Montreal Alouettes back at BMO Field.

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Posted: Jun 25 2024 1:03 pm
Filed under: CFL Football Sports Toronto Argonauts