How good were we in the last 10 games of 2017?

The Tiger-Cats have committed to playing 2018 with the same core roster that ended 2017. This decision seems to confirm the view that we have the talent to win. I don’t necessarily disagree, although I wonder if some people have overstated our success in those last 10 games under June Jones.

Sentiment has included statements like “best team in the league”, “everyone feared meeting us in the playoffs”, etc.

Here’s a few different ways to look at the results:

Overall record: 6-4

Record against winning teams (.500 or better at end of season): 2-3
Record against losing teams: 4-1

Record against playoff-bound teams: 3-4
Record against non-playoff teams: 3-0

Comment: Back half of the schedule was easier, and at least one team (MTL, for two games) had given up on the season. Need to beat the best to have any hope of winning it all.

Record against teams missing their starting QB for all or part of the game (OTT, SSK, WPG, MTL, MTL): 4-1
Record against teams with starting QB playing and finishing (TOR, BC, TOR, CAL, OTT): 2-3

Comment: Probably can’t count on playing against backup QBs so often (i.e. half of the games) in 2018.

Unlucky losses (lost by one score or less): 3
Lucky wins (won by one score or less): 3

Record in close games (decided by 8 points or less): 3-3

Comment: I’ve read many times that our record could easily have been 8-2 if we’d won a couple more of the close ones or made better decisions at the end of those games. But of course, it could just as easily have been 4-6 if we’d lost a couple more of those close ones (e.g. when TOR’s kicker missed an easy late field goal on Labour Day, or Chris Williams dropped an easy catch in BC). The reality is, a lot of games are close in the CFL and you have to judge by your actual record, not what your record could have been if only you’d scored another late TD.

Blowout wins (won by more than one score): 3
Blowout losses: 0

Comment: Definitely a great sign that we never got blown out, especially after the terrible start to the season. Note that two of our three blowout wins came against a terrible MTL team that had given up on the season. Should have had at least one more big win if we’d kept our foot on TOR’s throat in late Sept instead of allowing a miracle comeback.

I’m not trying to slam the team, just start a discussion - because this is a discussion board. I was very happy to re-sign all of our key starters. I also would not have been surprised if we’d added another top-flight DB, OL, SAM LB or WR. And I’m a little worried about our depth in a number of areas given the inevitable injuries that always hit us. Hopefully we have a very successful off-season of recruiting and drafting.

Excellent post Expat.

Some are over-rating this team based on the last 10 games.
I believe we are a .500 team now. If we get hot at the end like RB and Argos respectively over the last 2 years; potential champions - but by no means are we an elite team.

Thanks for posting Pat!

I think we were very good our last 10 games, I loved it

This team still has a ton to prove.

That being said, this team is almost totally intact from last season on both the offence and the Defence.
Glanville is a big question mark ? Our defence last season was not stellar, but,
HOPEFULLY should be improved.

Lirum should make our ST's solid.

On Offence, Everybody is back, Oline, QB, RB and REC's, They will hit the road running

IMHO, Training camp and pre season is going to amount to a 5 week practice for this Offence, because there will be very few changes in personnel.
Look for Coach Jones to add even more plays to the existing playbook to take advantage of our players strengths.

The first 5 games of our season will be pretty tough, but I am confident that the Offence will start extremely strong. I would be happy with a 3-2 record

One big disadvantage we have is both OTT and TOR get to play MTL 3 games and we only get 2. >:(

Super post, Pat. Very insightful and a very fair assessment.

I feel pretty good about the upcoming season. You're right, it could have gone better last ten games, and it could as easily have gone worse. I think there are some good reasons to be optimistic that it will go as well or better:

*More experience with JJs coaching approach for the players, and a full training camp for him to install his system and evaluate the team.

*All our key FAs back. I find that more important than hiring away those from other teams...the one we really needed was a P-K, and we got a good one.

*We can sign new players in other areas of need. Some of our recent signings may turn out to be gems.

*Orlondo S back in the fold.
I like the sense of continuity, and his return is part of it.

If it goes about as well over this season as those last ten games, we'll end up about 11- 7. That may not make us "elite", but it would make us a contender.

Yes good post. Wanted to add that I think refereeing calls made in several games during that stretch, mostly went against us and cost us a game ( for sure) and maybe 2 (eg. stupid pass interference call on SJG of Argos). So YES that we still have core group is great!

When was the last time we were more than a .500 team?

2013 - 10/8
2014 - 9/9
2015 - 10/8

That's about as good as we get. We have really struggled to elevate from ~.500 team, to great regular season team in ages. Here's the last time we won:

11 games - 2001
12 games - 1998
13 or more games - never

Hasn't been much regular season success for this franchise :cry:

What I've noticed throughout Austin's coaching and GM tenure was his seemingly obsessive habit of tearing apart the team and rebuilding it every year. And every year they seemed to struggle out of the gate. I chalked it up to the relative weaknesses of the East. That getting off to a quick start was never deemed as that important. It seemed the team was making continual changes through the first half of every year, then hopefully be more solid in the second half.

Hopefully this year they can be a bit more cohesive right from the start.

I've never been a fan of this mantra that "the season really starts after Labour Day"

I seem to remember (without doing any research of details) that we had at least two years of starters and their backups going down. We had the likes of Ricco Murray and others who made the team then went down early in preseason or early season and backups were not very good. So Austin/Tillman had to parachute people into action. No continuity.
Having our core group back should certainly make for a better start to the season.

We’ll see how good our OC & DC are pretty quickly. Glanville worries me a bit.

Sad that, through 64 straight seasons, the Tiger-Cats have never equalled their best ever regular season record (Determined by % to compare 12, 14, 16 & 18 game seasons).

While I can't see anything accomplished, so far, that would have me expecting anything better than a .500 season this year, I do expect this team to, at least, be better prepared to the start the season than has been the case in recent years. But, the early schedule is extra tough, this year, and there may be weak spots in both the line-up and staff. Time will tell if .500 is only a dream.

Questionable DPI on Labour day - setting up the winning TD.
Questionable DPI against Sask - setting up the blown call/play by Jones/Masoli.

We benefitted as well.

I have to agree. The Tiger Cats have done nothing to improve except bring back a seasoned defensive coach and I am not referring to Glanville. I certainly hope I am wrong but other teams have shuffled the deck chairs and made some improvements on paper. The Cats have signed a national kicker......,.Yup that's it and no one else.

For the most part the most valuable FA to sign by a wide margin are your own most important FAs.. Hamilton has done exactly that. They had a great FA period imo.

Who should they have signed?

I fully agree.

Had we lost several of our own FAs I might be concerned about not signing others. Since we re-signed ours, we didn't need to backfill. The one new FA we did sign filled an area of need extremely well, and is a Canadian too.

Budgets don't allow you to sign all your own FAs and then land a bunch of good ones from other teams in addition.

Which of our own pending FAs were we supposed to let go to make room for someone new?

I think we had a great FA season.

Prime is the only starting FA not re-signed, Maybe he doesn't fit into Coach Jones playbook?

With the large number of new players entering the league every year, it's really difficult to rate teams off season moves. A large part of being a successful team is the ability to bring in unknowns on low salaries to play important roles (Wilder, Posey with the Argos last year).

Were Austin/Jones/Tillman able to bring in a few game changers this year? I guess we'll find out when the season starts.

What is the status of Andy Fantuz?

Surely we saved some coin with the departures of Chick, Gable, E Davis and Collaros, and from Laurent taking a bit of a haircut.

I haven't done the analysis, but it seems like every other team did more tinkering than we did. That includes the Grey Cup finalists and other teams that won 12+ games. The implication is that they felt they needed to get better, while we felt we are already good enough. Hence my opening question - are we really?

As people have pointed out, continuity is a positive in its own right. Those opening four or five games are sure going to tell us a lot.