I think the term my kids would have for last night's game is "Epic Fail". This was a game for the taking. The Eskimos did not look that strong, and the Ti-Cats had this game in their hands and just gave it away in the fourth quarter (up by 10 points with the ball, and then gave up 14 unaswered points). They ended up coming up a yard or two short of winning it on the last play.
The problems were pretty easy to see, some poor decisions and execution by some young QBs, an O-Line that is still getting established, a lot of poor penalties early on, an offense that often sputtered and had trouble consistently sustaining drives, a defense that was occassionally burned on blitzes, and IMO not enough utilization of CJ Gable in the offense.
I could go on to discuss all the things that went wrong, but we all saw the game, and most issues are not difficult to see.
Although we are 0-2, I don't think it is too difficult to see some good things, and know what to expect this year. The CFL has a short training camp and pre-season, so you can see lots of teams are still rounding into shape. We have three young unproven QBs, and I fully expect to see some inconsistancy out of this position. Hopefully one will step up to lead the team and will stay healthy throughout the season. Collaros looks pretty good, but is still a little slow to make reads, and sometimes struggles throwing the ball, Masolli has a cannon but it isn't accurate and after last night showed his inneperience, LeFavour is a powerful runner but he is not composed and his arm is supsect. Each of these QBs made some good plays last night, but each was also incosistent and turned the ball over. Reduce the turnovers, get them a little more protection, learn how to deal with the blitz and the team will improve considerable. As much as the O-Line got beat a few times, they looked much better this week. With our ratio situation, I am certain we will get this worked out, and have a better line as time goes on and they play together. CJ Gable continues to look solid, and are receivers played pretty well with two starters currently out. Our defense played much better last night. While there were not a ton of sacks, there were plenty of hurries which ended up in poor passes. The speed on the defense is evident as they swarm to balls. The D-Line also looked solid against the run, Lawrence was a beast shooting gaps and stopping the running back on several occassions. This defense is also tough. They put a licking on the QB and made numerous big hits. That's real Ti-Cat defense. Our special teams coverage was nothing short of amazing. Edmonton only had one lengthy return. Most were very short, and again these guys are really tough. The return game could still use some work. There were a few good returns, and most were OK.
I still can't believe the Ti-Cats lost the game. When they were up by 10 I was thinking if they scored again I would go to bed. Boy, that didn't work out.
I like a lot of what I saw. They need to work on the little things, and we all need to realize that the QB situation is what it is. Hopefully as we get further into the season our QBs will be making plays to win games instead of plays that lose the game. As a friend of mine have always said, in the CFL you will only go as far as your QB will take you. Right now it's a little uncertain where the Ti-Cat QBs will be able to take this team. Unlike a few short years ago, I also have a lot of faith in the Ti-Cat staff to continue to improve the on-field talent as they did last year.
For those making predictions about the next few games, I wouldn't look too far ahead. Things can change in a heartbeat in this league, just like they did last night in the fourth quarter.