Jason Maas has always enjoyed great professional vision.
The new Hamilton Tiger-Cats' quarterback certainly likes what he sees taking place with his new team from his off-season home in northern Alberta.
Since the Tabbies acquired Maas in the first week of December, the Balsam Avenue North bengals have re-signed a blue-chip Canadian receiver (Brock Ralph), a veteran running back (Josh Ranek), a former 1,000-yard receiver (Kwame Cavil), a veteran offensive tackle (Jamal Powell), a proven CFL center (George Hudson), a veteran guard (Pascal Cheron), a former CFL receiver (Sulecio Sanford), a former NFL receiver (Talman Gardner), an offensive line coach (Kani Kauahi) and an offensive co-ordinator (Joe Paopao).
All in the past three months. And that doesn't include the club's defensive changes.
Maas said in a telephone interview from Edmonton this past week the Tabbie group of cheetahs that will be employed to chase down the tossed leather, including D.J. Flick, Kwame Cavil, Craig Yeast and Canadians Kamau Peterson, Mike Morreale and youngster Iain Fleming, is impressive.
"I'm excited. I think the one thing you can look at from that roster of receivers is the youth of that receiving corps. There are a few guys with good experience in Morreale and I think Yeast is about 29, but the majority of those guys are pretty young. But I think they are all exciting. I think there is so much room for them to grow as players. I think they are all talented and very good. I'm very excited. What I like most about them is there willingness to work and get better," the Tabbie passer said.
Maas said he is tickled pink to have Ranek, better known as the Little Ball of Hate, to keep the pass rushers honest.
"I'm a fan of the CFL and I'm a big fan of his. You know what you're getting with him. You're getting a guy who has stayed healthy his whole career, a guy who is a 1,000-yard running back, a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield, he blocks well and the best part about him is that he has been in the offence -- the best part of all three of them (Ranek, Hudson and Cheron) is that they have been in Paopao's offence. To have three of the six guys who are going to be blocking for me (already experienced with the offence), that's a pretty good thing."
Maas said the Ticat training camp should be a jungle, where only the best and strongest at each position will survive by being named to the regular season roster.
"The job of the GM and the coaching staff is to make that camp as competitive as possible and I think they have done that this off-season. They have filled holes that they needed to fill and they have filled them with quality players and I think this is a team coming out of camp that is going to be very tough to beat," he said.
Maas has Friday, July 7 circled on his calendar. That's the date the Ticats travel to Edmonton to meet the Eskies, the quarterback's former team. "I'm very aware of how the season starts. Obviously the July game against Edmonton is going to be something I'll look forward to. But that's our fourth game of the year. I'm going into it taking them one by one and you want to win them all," he said.
Maas plans to arrive in Steeltown around the second week of April to begin preparing for the May 20 start of training camp at McMaster University. "I'm very excited about it. Talking to the guys, we're all ready to roll. ... Everyone is working hard and very excited about this upcoming year."