Here is an interesting article posted on cfl.ca by Daved Benefield titled "Training Camp Looms For The 'Playas'", with an emphasis on our own Hamilton Tiger-Cats:
"Monday, April 23, 2007 - 12:00PM
By Daved Benefield,
It’s April and the clock is ticking, the sound getting louder every day like that digital clock on the television show 24, only you’re not Jack Bauer.
Pretty soon you’ll be out there and there will be no do-overs, no timeouts, no time to get the bench up and gain the extra weight which probably isn’t needed but for the mental comfort.
It’s always nice looking good with your pre-training camp buff on for the first week of camp when the coaches and players take that long look at you during team player introductions.
I always wondered why the body-builder guys were always trying out for my position at rush end. Let’s face it: Most coaches get all jacked up for the guys who look like Tarzan, but the only problem is the CFL is played on the field and these guys have game like Jane and a brain like Cheetah.
Will the newly signed players be ballers or bums? Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw a bio you didn’t like? I mean I rarely see a bio come across my screen that says “a slow-reacting JAG (just another guy), Johnny on the spot who was a well-known pile jumper in the conference who gets credited for tackles because he’s a real nice guy.?
Or for the receiver, “Thank God for the new technology in sticky gloves cause this guy couldn’t catch a cold butt naked in Winnipeg.?
The question going into training camp is always who is real and who is a figment of an all-star bio writer? The truth is, a lot of small-school guys can’t wait to expose the big-conference, big-school, been-in-the-league playas in the real time, real world of the CFL.
Cats Are The Team To Watch
It’s been a fairly quiet off-season with a big signing here, a trade there.
Then you have the Tiger-Cats, who are making the most noise on the block. First they cleaned house – good move – then they brought in head coach Charlie Taaffe – great move – who will bring back loads of experience and a no-nonsense football attitude to end the drought that has been suffered in Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Now if the Cats can play anywhere near as good as their Steeltown cousins in pre-Super Bowl Blitzburg or with the same sort of attitude, there could be a new beast in the East.
So since the Tiger-Cats popped off the most this off-season, let’s peep their game.
For the Ticats, the questions that need to be answered are:
Offensively, will quarterback Jason Maas finish his therapy sessions in time to forget 2006 and get back to the guy who saved Edmonton in the 2005 playoffs en route to their Grey Cup win?
Incoming quarterback Timmy Chang set all kinds of records at the University of Hawaii under head coach June Jones. The problem is, that was in the NCAA and this is the CFL where there are three downs, the field is bigger, and the extra player may be the one hitting you if you aren’t careful. Timmy, when the defence lines up seven across the line of scrimmage, get rid of the ball quick – and duck. Aloha.
Will Corey Holmes and Jesse Lumsden become another all-star combo similar to the Mike Pringle, Thomas Haskins tandem with Montreal in 2002?
Is the offensive line ready to roll? Speaking to one of the players last year, the guys on the line had no idea which foot they were stepping with. It was, “figure it out yourselves, you are pros.?
With Coach Taaffe, they will be stepping with the “good foot? downhill.
What does Oklahoma and Nebraska of the ‘80s and John Robinson’s USC back in the day have in common with Coach Taaffe when he was in Montreal in 1999 and 2000? Textbook, drive blocking, head on the proper side, hands inside and driving poor defenders like the seven-man sled. I haven’t seen Montreal’s line block like that since the man left. Defences better button your chinstraps and get ready.
And speaking of the defence, the Cats defence looks promising. Nautyn McKay-Loescher, a free-agent signing from the B.C. Lions, is a bomb waiting to explode. He will hold down one side of the front. Can he handle stardom and the bright lights?
And where do you start Steve Josue? He is an explosive 6-foot-2, 230-pounder with an NFL linebacker size and acceleration. He also displayed great closing speed to go along with great instincts. He is a physical athlete who can play linebacker or defensive end and played in nine games last year in his first season in the CFL, so he has got to get a serious look.
Middle linebacker Zeke Moreno is from California, so I’m biased being a native Californian, and he played at the house that Head Coach Pete Carroll built at USC.
The word on the street is that the undercover baller is Ray Mariuz at linebacker. He is tall, lanky, athletic and can play. Could this be Coach Taaffe’s new Stefen Reid, who starred for Montreal from 1996-2002?
Should Rob Hitchcock start at linebacker or safety? Rob should play safety for the simple reason he has the knowledge. As for being well into his 30s, 30-something is the new 20-something in both the CFL and the NFL, and if anyone can do it Rob is who you want. The rest of the defence has some standouts, but this camp will be heated.
Could the Cats become the Montreal of the late ‘90s? Stay tuned."