hang in there Cats Fans. Defense is taking shape

The last two weeks have produced two new starters and players to the CFL that have stood out and are for real.

Nate Bussey - He is a real Will LB. Austing gave Knowleton the chance but is not really a Will LB and has lost a step at SAM. When they released him there was a player to step in and take his place. Often times the word rookie is used loosely in the CFL. Bussey is in his first full season of the CFL but a pro rookie he is not. A 7th round draft pick of the Saints in 2011, out of Big Ten Illinios where he excelled on defense as well as special teams, spent the 2011 season on the saints practice roster.
2012 competed NFL training camp starting with the saints and ending with the Panthers was released on final cuts. A modern import who knows about the CFL did not wait around for an NFL PR spot but insted got some game play in the UFL and signed with Hamilton PR the last week of the season. & tackles in his first start and stood out among the defense.

Rico Murray - rookie free agent in 2009 out of a top mid major in Kent State spent the 2009 and 2010 season bouncing between the Bengals PR and active roster. Ended the 2010 season on the IR and that continued into his third season with the bengals in 2011 where he was released at final cuts. After 3 seasons of NFL bouncing signed with Edmonton in 2012 spent time on the IR after training camp before being released from a crowded and talented Edmonton D Backfield.
hamilton signed him after TC on July 6th and unleased him on the CFL last week where he stood out at Sam LB with 10 tackles.
hamilton singed Brandon Issac placing Murray on the bench to start as Austin will try to found out the best place for him in the D Backfield because he is a player. Played CB then back to Sam after two injuries to the starters at those positions. Again as you can see he is new to the CFL but he is no rookie.

Courtney Stephen - Drafted by Hamilton in 2012 and returned to another top Mid Major Illinois. Starting his career as a CIS all star transfered to the DI level where he would gain expereince at safety and special teams at a higher level of play. Finally got his start at safety and he did not disapoint looked very much in place as a CFL safety.

Emanuel Davis A little bit more of a project but had an excellent career at East Carolina where he was a lock down corner and holds the record for pass breakups. Undrafted free agent for the Browns another final cut player and hooked on with the UFL. Now a second year pro player went through the NFL mini camp rookie mini camp cycle and landed right in Hamiton's lap signing June 1. He also stood out for Hamilton last week showing some speed the kind needed to play CB in the CFL doing what he does best breaking up a pass to a deep and speedy Taj Smith in making up ground and catching him. Can't teach speed and who better to coach him up but Orlando.
Was released out of training camp with his position being part of the ratio where Hinds/Bucknor Canadian Combo were givien one last chance to prove themselves and they did not. So now with both being on the bench the last few games and entering for injury and getting beat each game shifting geers to an upside young second year pro like Davis has all of the makings of becoming a shut down corner. Taj Smith has been very effective this year but Drew Willy decided to pick on the other CB position should tell you something.

Eric Norwood a 4th eound pick out of South Carolina where he was a 3 time all SEC player so Austin knows him well as being Ole Miss OC during those. He played two seasons with the Panthers on there roster as part of their D rotation. His third season was released by the Pnathers in final Cuts in 2012 and since he played for two season's no PR eligibility it was off to the UFL. Did not get picked up by any NFL teams so he moved on Quickly by siging and playing in the Arena Football league. Allowing to give him as much game action as possible Austing did not sign him until after training camp on July second and has been part of the line up and has quietly played very well among the other distrations.

Before the season hitting the Free Agent Market signing a top HB in McCoulough and top Canadian DT Bulcke who for one week appeared he would be part of a double Canadian Duo at DT after drafting Gaydosh but Gaydosh got a late contract with the NFL after the draft.

The defense needed to be blown up for sure and while it may look like there is no rhyme or reason or plan in place look a little closer and you will see that is not the case

Got to hang in there, there's no other choice.

I don't see a D taking shape at all. It's the worst D in the league (again).

Other off season moves you neglected to mention are Renauld Williams and James Patrick.

I see tons of rookies, lots of injuries/turnover, an ineffective pass rush and the worst D in the league for giving up points after week 5 ( unless BC scores at least 43 points Tuesday night)

Going into week 5, Hamilton's D was last against the run, 2nd last in total yards against, last in interceptions (1), last in sacks , last in giving up passing TDs and last in giving up rushing TDs

For williams a change of scenery was probably needed. As for Patrick it was obvious that he had lost a step and Stephens a true rookie in his first pro season will get better with each game. -
There is a big difference between a rookie and a first year player in the CFL. You saw this last year in Toronto with Pat Watkins and others around the CF think the same can and will be said of Nate Bussey at Will LB when all is said and done Rico Murray and Norwood.
last weeks game was just a total defensive let down but to Drew Willys credit he found the weak spot in the secondary which is brown who filled in for McCoulough and breux and his replacement Hinds.
Issac another who may have needed a change of scenery and it started off great but injuries are tough. If Issac Can come back rather quickly and add McCoulough back at HB and that would leave Austin a place where Murray’s talents are most needed.
I do not know much about the guys on the Dline other than Bulcke and Norwood but both have played like quality starters but do need some help I agree.
I have a hunch about the kid Davis from East carolina via NFL TC and UFL now that Hinds and Bucknor seem out of the running for a starting spot. matched up with Taj Smith most of the day pretty much kept smith quiet

Why? He was 3rd in the CFL last year with 95 tackles. All that was needed was a new DC and he was fired by Cortez and being replaced. The search was on until Cortez et al got canned too.

As for Patrick it was obvious that he had lost a step
How obvious was it? If it was obvious, then why even sign him?

Was it not obvious during training camp and preseason?

head scratchers...

Also noticed the Tiger-Cats' defence is also last in takeaways with just 2, Winnipeg is 7th with 5.

All good points. For Patrick I think it came down to the begining of the season. orlando was looking for a Veteran safety to hold together a new Unit like in Toronto last season but getting to the games a step behind, so move onto the highly tauted rookie.
I agree Williams had a ton of tackles last year and was even an All Star yet still caught a lot of heat from the Fans. Austin eliminated that issue all together. Hard to make sense sometimes to get rid of an all star calibre player but a coach can sometimes see aplayer that can be een better. Nate Bussey is that guy. Although he is not playing the same position it did open up a spot in the LB core. JJ also a great player moving to the middle to make room for Bussey. JJ is also of all star calibre but they are also looking at Plesious in the MLB spot.

that is why I fear JJ may be on borrowed time due to the younger, less expensive Plesius model that is waiting in the wings.
..and unless Bussey falters badly in the coming games, JJ will likely remain at MIKE for now until Austin deems Plesius ready.

There is nothing redeeming on either side of the ball for me. Too many people saying that this rookie is going to be great down the road, just have to wait another five years. The D can't tackle, can't hold onto an interception and cannot keep up with a receiver, always trailing. O-line can't stop the pass rush and cannot make holes for the RB. The O-coordinator + head coach cannot figure out that if you throw the ball every down the opposition will key on this and prevent it.

I have tried to be positive but this is the worst Hamilton team I have ever seen, time for some people up stairs to pack their bags.

I am really not sure that Plesius may never be ready this season. He missed training camp this year and has never been to any pro football training camp. I think that may be a pretty big deal. Plus he really played mostly Will at Laval if I am not mistaken until the 2012 season. Lets face it he has never had to stop a pro RB with size and speed. In his conference alone stopping simpson or Whitaker and the west forget it Charles is probably the worst of the four and he is very very darn good

I think that we have decent effort from our D-Line, but physically, they just don't stack up to a good CFL D-Line. Saskatchewan, for example, has guys up front that look twice as big and twice as strong as every one of our D-Linemen. Same with Edmonton. When these teams go after the QB, it's like a bomb expoldes...a tremendous push that our team just doesn't have. I think that for years our entire D-Line has been undersized.

I like the potential of Rico Martin and Nate Bussey. Both look like great athletes who can really run. And Brandon Isaac will contribute when healthy. But right now we are paying the price for waiting until Bowman can play MLB. JJ is about 50 pounds too light to play that position. And Pleseus is nowhere near ready to contribute in a productive way, since he selfishly signed after training camp.

I like Raymond Brown, Arthur Hobbs, Breux, McCulough, and Eric Harris. But this core has been wiped out by injuries. Canadians like Courtney Stephens and Ryan Hinds are good players, too.

I think we are in a holding pattern right now in relation to just how good this D can be because of the injury situation (lack of cohesion), and the guys on IR who may come back to help later in the year (the Canadian DL kids from Laval and Boise State, Linden Gaydosh, and MLB Bowman). Talent-wise, if all of these guys were healthy right now, it is an upgrade from last year, but, again, we need bigger D-Linemen. Sucks that we didn't trade the #1 pick for Ted Laurent, in retrospect, if that deal was in fact on the table, like the rumor mill said.

that is where I disagree with you. too often any player new to the CFL is called a rookie but has been playing pro football in the NFL for about 3 seasons. The CFL really does not consider them rookies as they are not elgible for a rookie of the year.
I do understand what you are saying about rookies down the road talk but players like Murray, Bussey, and Norwood are no rookies and are playing well right now and the future is now for them as they are 3,4,5 year pro players in there prime. A lot of talk about Edem also in Montreal at Safety but Stephen could be as good if not better as of right now.
You are right though that there are still too many holes to fill and like Willy did teams will look to exploit these players some of which are do to injury but some are lack of talent at that position