After the narrow 27-25 loss to the Als in Week 16, Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille knew that his team could not finish any better than third place. Although I am sure the Cats would have loved a home playoff spot, they have been able to take advantage of the past three weeks in order to get ready for a possible playoff run that could lead to a Grey Cup appearance in Vancouver.
Montreal and Winnipeg have been laying it on the line for the past three weeks, and in doing so, have provided the Hamilton coaching staff plenty of great game tape to evaluate. On the flip side, Hamilton closed the curtain on their game plan and decided to play exhibition style 'vanilla' football during that time.
The Tiger-Cats have done a great job of either sitting players that need to get healthy, or immediately pulling the ones who have the slightest chance of being injured.
For those of you that endured watching the game between Toronto and Hamilton last Thursday, I found it very confusing to see receiver Chris Williams literally dive to the turf prior to any contact from an Argo player. Then I realized he did the right thing. Why take the hit?
Another bonus is that players like offensive linemen Marwan Hage and Peter Dyakowski, along with defensive components Jamall Johnson and Jason Shivers are working their way back into the lineup. The Ticats have used the time to make sure impact players like Williams, Avon Cobourne, Dave Stala and Markeith Knowlton are fresh.
Not showing their hand
From a game plan perspective the coaching staff has done a very good job of holding their cards close to their chest so they don't give any advantage to either Winnipeg or Montreal.
With that said, finishing third may be the best thing to happen to Hamilton.
Although Hamilton's performance this year has been inconsistent, they have shown that they can play with any team in the CFL. As Montreal and Winnipeg limp into the playoffs, Hamilton is fresh.[url=http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/opinion/2011/11/dont-sleep-on-the-tabbies.html]http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/opini ... bbies.html[/url]
In essence, the Tiger-Cats have had four weeks to prepare for Montreal for the upcoming East semifinal matchup on Sunday, and I believe that you will see a very creative offensive game from the Tabbies.