Now that looks like a sick linebacking core. I know Butler played the weakside in Saskatchewan, but I hope they give him a chance on the strongside in Steeltown. It would be nice to see a Canadian start at strongside linebacker because it always seems to be an American.
Even with the losses of Lawrence and Johnson the Cats have tremendous depth at the linebacking position
As to who will start and who will platoon and back-up,it looks like the outside spots are going to be barring any unforeseen injuries Butler and Plesius at WILL and once again the tandem of Murray/Isaac at SAM. The MLB spot should be between Bowman and Kromah.As usual ST demon Beswick will be listed at LB on the game day,but in all likelihood won't see any action at the position.I am also going to keep am eye on newly signed Western grad Pawel Kruba,who IMO has a great shot at making the final roster,adding more depth,but will more than likely won't see much game action in rotation but should be a key member on the special teams.With Butler starting,the team will need a Cdn as his back-up,thus I see the move from MIKE to WILL for Plesius.So after it's all said and done,my LB depth chart forecast is listed as follows:
Safety and Will are the two positions that lend themselves to the most crossover. Similarly, DHB and Sam have the same relationship. You need a bigger, more physical body at safety and Will. Butler fits both roles nicely. I’m not sure he has the attributes to be effective at Sam, a position occupied almost exclusively by converted defensive backs.
Beswick isn’t likely to play any LB,solely for the reason that he plays pretty well exclusively as a special teamer,but since that technically isn’t a position he is listed as a LB on the gameday,his 1rst 4 seasons here,he was listed as a DB on the roster.Beswick is a baller though,and I’m pretty sure that if a rash of injuries occurred in a game that he could step in at LB or DB in a pinch and do just fine.
Agree there is no way that Butler can Play SAM LB. that position takes coverage skills of a HB which Butler does not have. He is a sfety by trade but made a big splash moving to Will LB. A little smaller than some of the Will LBs but makes up for it with his hard hitting.
Bowman is the man in the MLB spot for Austin. If he was healthy earlier he may have been the MLB of Johnson.
Isaac is an experienced SAM LB. Probably one of the hardest positions to play in the CFL as you have to be a LB during the run and the pass you are a nickel Back.
Kromah was defnitely brought in for deepth. He played his rookie pro season in the CFL starting at Wil for the Riders and was playing great until he got hurt.
Plesius played Will and Mike while at Laval so he can play both as well as being great on special teams.
Beswick also does not have the cover skills to play SAM either.
The problem is Canadian HB/CB are very rarely seen in the CFL. playing CB/HB in the CIS does not prepare players at those positions very well for pro football. The recievers are just so much better when they get to the CFL.
If you look around the league and where many of these players went to college they are from some of the bigger schools in the pwer NCAA conferences where they see much much better receivers and QBs.
Also you will see a lot have also spent time in the NFL first TC, PR, or regular roster prepares them for the recivers they see in the CFL.
Especially now that there are also more then a few top Canadian receivers. Many teams 1st 2nd or 3rd receivers are Canadians. They are no longer just plugged in at the 4 and 5 receiver spots out of ratio neccessity they are for real beating out several of their import rec teamates in yards.
Actually with stewart they may be able to both hit the starting line up. Murray is ver flexible but being in on every down would be preferred. Now with Issac don't be surprised to see Murray possibly start at CB for Davis. Or stewart slid into the HB slot opposite McCoulough.
Both Hobbs and Davis did a nice jobe last season but Stewart and Murray have more experince and may just be better.
Both Hobbs and Davis are still young. Davis came right from the NCAA to the CFL last year and Hobbs spent hist rookie season in an NFL TC in 2012 before landing in Hamilton
I know this is a LB thread but
Well that answers that part. Moving Stephan to the backup cover 2 role gives them a super strong safety duo.
Leaves the Wil LB spot up for competition.
Kromah signed just for that very reason after what he had done his rookie year.
Plesius also a young player also could be in for the battle.
Plesius defintely will have a spot on the roster for special teams. If he wants to add atarting LB he will need to earn it.
re signing Beswick is also big for the LB corp. He is a special teams monster but also fits in nicely on game day as a back up to the Wil LB spot.
Austin really has done a fantastic job in putting this team where it is. there is talent all over the place Canadian and Import. Steinhuer has a lot of talent to work with
With the exception of Craig Butler as Austin has already said he wants Butler at Free Safety, also Frederic Plesius their has been talk of having Plesius fill a rush end position on the D line similar to Joe Montford, both have equal size.
Look for the Cats to go after one or two more Linebackers either current free agents or from the Canadian Draft in May.
I remeber that was the talk about Plesius playing a rush end spot. I am not sure if that is still the plan though as last season his former Laval Teamate Nadon-Gascon took the 3rd rotation DE spot.
Depending on how much better Plesius will be after being in Training camp this season it would not be out of the question to see him starting at Will LB with his game Back Up being Beswick who will be on the 42 anyway for his special teams ability.
Depending how many Canadians will be starting we may or may not see fitting Kromah on the 42 game day roster.
Medlock already has a DI spot locked in.
If starting 5 on offence 3 OL and 2 Rec, and three on defense safety, DT, and Will LB plesius could start and be the 8th Canadian and not be part of the 7 ratio spots enabling Kromah to get onto the roster not as a DI.
DI spots usually a import Utility DB, A Import Back up RB, a 4th import receiver, or a return specialist.
Banks could double as a 4th import receiver and returner on the 42, Lidsey Lamar could do the same bak cup RB/Return specilist still would put them over One DI spot forcing Austin to make a decision.
Stewart Is a HB by trade I think but Sam LB/Nickel Back is a tough position to play so it is often filled by a more expereinced CFL player if no young player stands out.
Stewart may very well be starting at HB for Hobbs this season.
If Brandon Issac can still olay at the top of his game could be the full time starter at SAM and Murray a CB by trade before heading to the CFL could start at a CB spot over Davis
Depending how it plays out I don't see any reason why Beswick will see more time on defense as a back up Wil LB.
Austin already stated to have Butler slotted in at safety. In this day of age in pro football you need two good safeties on the roster So Butler may start but Stephan should see plenty of action in different packages.
With two ratio spots on defense Safety and DT and 5 on offense Could very well see Plesius either starting a Will or baking up at MLB. If Kromah can return to his rookie form he will be hard to beat out at Will LB.
A few young safeties may also be trying to fight there way onto the roster as Special teams guys King and Mutablo from Wester were two guys Austin liked but neither was ready to start and it showed as King had to start in the Grey Cup.
Also an early signing of another young safety from SFU who played half a season with the BC lions Kyle Miller.
Austin will assure this year that they will not get caought short at safety.
Yes Butler was a western all star as a LB. In his 2011 rookie season he was also an all star at safety.
So who knows how this played out. Butler may have wanted to play Safety again and Hamilton gave him the oppuritunity that the Riders did not.
Austin may also want to start him at safety but now being an all star at two different positions in only 3 seasons in the CFL that could all change come opening day
Bowman will be the MLB. Austin thinks he is a tremendous player. They will bring in a young import LB to back Bowman up.
The outside starting LB's will be Isaac and the new guy they brought in as a FA from the Riders (they didn't throw money at him to have him ride the bench). Pleseus will be one backup, and they will probably draft another Canadian to serve as the other backup.
Brandon Stewart will play in the secondary, as will Rico Murray and Craig Butler. These three can also be shifted in and out of the LB core to mix up the look, and to match up against certain key players better in certain situations.