I borrowed this "looked good on paper" line from the Saskatchewan game thread; someone made this comment.
I am sure that we are all struggling to understand what is going wrong with this team, because they "look good on paper". But the unique thing about this season is the fact that this implies that we are evaluating players based upon reputation & past accomplishments, & in this case because of the lost season, all of those accomplishments occurred 2 or more seasons ago.
Some questions / examples:
Chris VanZeyl lasted less than 2 Q's yesterday before he was re-injured, so it is impossible for us as fans watching on television, to evaluate his performance. But there is a very strong possibility that even a healthy VanZeyl is no longer capable of playing at the same level as he did in 2019. Please note that VanZeyl is about to turn 38 years old !!
. . . that O-Line has many issues, other than just ROT, but I will move on.
"On paper" Ja'Gared Davis is supposed to be one of the best pass rushers in the CFL. As far as we know, Davis is not playing injured. But so far he has provided very little pass rush, and he has been a liability in terms of the Run defence. While Davis is only 31 years old, is it possible that the guy that we expect other teams will have to account for, when designing their pass protection schemes, is no longer a pass rushing threat?? Is it possible that he can no longer play at the elite level that he displayed in 2019 (2 years ago)??
Ted Laurent has been one of my favourite players on that D for 3 or 4 seasons now. And in his case, we have not had a chance to see him play much as he comes back from injury and has to get back in playing shape, but we are expecting big things from big Teddy, based upon his reputation. He is 33 years old. Can he replicate his level of play from years gone by ??
I will stop at this point, but similar questions need to be asked for several other players including Brandon Banks . . . definitely in the twilight of his career.
But I really want to conclude with this thought . . .
While it is totally acceptable for the fans & even the media to evaluate a team's prospects by how they look "on paper", especially at the start of the season, the same concept does not apply to the coaches & the personnel people on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They have been watching these guys perform (albeit against each other) for a month now. If Simoni Lawrence or Ja'Gared Davis or Speedy B (or anyone else) have lost a step during the last 18 months, they should know all about it. And if that is the case, past performance & reputation no longer counts for anything.
There is a lot that ails this team right now. Our coaches have 2 weeks to identify the many problems and fix them before the next game against a very good Montreal Alouette team.
If they don't, this version of the Tiger-Cats, who many thought to be a 2021 Grey Cup contender, based upon how they played in 2019, may not even make the playoffs.