MY 2011 TICATS SYNOPSIS

TICATS 2011
Another .500 season or less has been registered under the guidance of Marcel Bellefeuille. Some impressive moments mixed in with numerous down times, including setbacks that you just can’t figure out. Probably the most frustrating season in a long time because of expectations not being met, even in comparison to the 1-17 team a while back that met our expectations. Wins on that team were not what we envisioned prior to those games. Yet this team was to be a much better group of talented performers. Really?
I remember going to training camp twice and the one thing I said to others in attendance, as I have year after year….’they are still not there’. In translation, we don’t have the combination of players that you need to get to the big game. That doesn’t mean it may not happen, but it wasn’t a team that was filled with superior talent that made you think of the Eskimos and Alouettes, a la Warren Moon and Sonny Wade era, nor did it make you think of the Alouettes with Anthony Calvillo.
Regardless, there were some incremental improvements made in 2011, yet for 2012 ‘better is better’ should be re-jigged to ‘better than the opposition is better’. There is lots of work to be done on this team, whether fans want to believe it or not, and whether coaches would admit publicly. If we leave things as status quo, we barely make the playoffs next year, if at all. Over an 18 game schedule, we wont beat B.C. twice again, we won’t stop Messam in Edmonton at all, we won’t beat a healthy Montreal, we won’t match up against Winnipeg, we will barely contend with a much improved Argo team (not taking into account the free agent season ahead prior to the Toronto Grey Cup), and with Calgary handing the ball off to Drew Tate over Burris, and Saskatchewan being revamped, it just proves that we must improve and not just by 10%.
Saskatchewan will have a new coach and will be better guaranteed, and Toronto will probably have someone like a Mike O’Shea as their Head Coach, and his aggressive personality and respect across the league will attract so many free agents (Andy Fantuz) and add to that the Grey Cup Game in Toronto next year, and you can see how WE BETTER IMPROVE OR WE WILL BE MUCH WORSE THAN 9-9 OR 8-10.
I want to look at the roster as a whole, including the Coaching staff from training camp to the yearend finale. I will give you my viewpoints, and add in some recommendations. Again, this is just my opinion, and it’s all about getting much better rather than being happy with just surpassing minimum standards.

OFFENSIVE LINE

One of the main issues I had, personnel notwithstanding, is the use of 2 import linemen as compared to one that we had in 2010. Gauthier may have not been the happiest OT here last year, nor probably was the team happy with him, but the decision to go with an import in the second OT spot meant that a player with huge ability like RB Terry Grant wasn’t on the roster from day one. Sure there are lots of other ratio scenarios to get him in the game, but the OL scenario was prevalent all year, and it may have been a good decision but it hurts elsewhere. If we look at the OT’s, we look at a decent player in Jason Jimenez, but one who costs us some serious ‘procedure’ calls. It also meant we got to play Brian Simmons, who no doubt can play in this league and with improvement could play for years. It meant Belton Johnson giving us some valuable reps at OT, who in retrospect had a great year and played solid at LT or RT. On the other hand, was there not a Canadian available to handle one of the tackle spots? What would the insertion of Terry Grant in the line-up from game one mean to the team? Super speed to keep Cobourne fresh, and to have another weapon in the offence.
The interior has Dyakowski, Hage, Rottier, with Dewit and Wayne Smith in reserve. No doubt the loss of Hage hurt us, but Dewit battled and gave yeoman’s effort during his time. His time on field will pay dividends for this team or any other team if not with Hamilton going forward. I am concerned that we may lose Rottier to a western team as he is from out west. I am concerned with Hage and his eventual health status when he returns. Wayne Smith was a decent plug-in when counted upon, but unfortunately he is a player playing hurt most of the time, to no fault of his own of course. Belton is not getting any younger, but he can still play for a while yet. Jimenez will no doubt leave the team, and we only have a developing Cody Husband in reserve. When you look at the whole picture, we hope that the team places major emphasis on drafting offensive linemen every year (it hasn’t each year), as even if you have an abundance of them, every other team wants them, so using them as trade bait can fill another position on your roster. With the way teams are hiding players on injured lists and practice rosters, it also keeps Canadian offensive linemen away from other teams, forcing them to use imports.
The play of the line in general was above average if you look at the season as a whole, but it also had major breakdowns from game to game, especially picking up blitzes and stunts. Is that personnel or is that coaching? Hmmmm. I think it is both in our case.
We have Moe Petrus from Connecticut as a possible OG or Centre if Hage doesn’t return healthy. Baillargeon from Laval still needs to develop and he can only really play as a Guard in the CFL. Has Husband developed enough to play every day? Hmmmm. So if you look at where we are, we don’t have much in the pipeline in the way of Canadian Offensive Tackles, so we may have to stick to the 2 import scenario again. The one player Hamilton could have had was Jeff Parrett back in the 2006 Offensive Lineman draft, where we could have had 3 of the 4 best lineman as we already drafted Gagne-Marcoux and Dyakowski, but passed on Perrett in the third round to take DE Shawn Mayne, a player that would have had a hard time cracking our lineup. In fact he didn’t do much of anything before being released. Perrett would have made things a lot better this year, but of course him not being with Hamilton has nothing to do with this year’s management and coaching.
Ideally we need to go back to 4 Canadian offensive linemen if possible, but I doubt it will be. There are very few Canadian offensive tackles that are CFL ready, Perrett being one of few. We had our chance. Anyhow, we need OL upgrading, to cover possible defections, age issues and health concerns. There are not many top notch tackles with great foot work in the upcoming draft, but there are some guards that can definitely play in this league. Our depth here needs to be addressed as well.

RECEIVER

We traded Aarland Bruce III, which was a smart move both financially and to become better. Some may not agree because they think of what he did in the past, but if you look at him personally, he has lost more than a step. He is not a YAC yards guy unless someone misses a tackle or he is way behind the defender. In other words, he doesn’t create his YAC yards, they just happen to be there. They lost faith and interest in Marquay McDaniel, which to me was a terrible move. Coach says he dropped quite a few passes (there is more to it than that I am sure). So does this mean that 1000+ yard receiver Chris Williams gets cut too because he dropped quite a few this year? What about Thigpen?
Anyhow no use complaining, but McDaniel was one of the better second down clutch receivers in the CFL. He would know how to find a seam in the zone, and had a good connection with Kevin Glenn. In his first game this year as a Ticat prior to his release, you would have seen him prove my statement above. The most ironic part of releasing McDaniel was that they kept Maurice Mann. That was to say the least, a joke. Mann looks great with the Argos, or any other team for that matter. It just means he won’t be in Hamilton any longer after his eventual trade. I guess it took the team a while to figure him out…..a long while. No disrespect to any individuals as human beings here, only towards what they represent on the football field. So Bruce, McDaniel, Mann and the unpredictable Chris Bauman were let go. In comes Aaron Kelly, Chris Williams, Bakari Grant and eventually Marcus Thigpen as full time receivers. Great move to think about getting younger at the position. Great move to bring in further depth in Jeremy Kelley and even Terrence Jeffers-Harris (if he re-signs), but what was done about the Canadian receivers? Stala can still play and is a valid starter. Is Matt Carter a starter just yet? Maybe, more likely there are more qualified players out there. Then you add Glenn Mckay and Liam Mahoney, and those four are our Canadian depth. One that can play but getting up in age, one who is more of a depth guy, one who is even lower in the depth chart at that position, and one who is still unproven . Should we look at drafting receivers? Should we look at improving Canadian talent there?
Williams had a great year and should only improve. Thigpen added a speed option when inserted full time as a receiver, but he still has to learn the intricacies of the position to be an even greater threat. Working on controlling the football in his hand is one thing, or else he may be the second coming of Marquay McDaniel. Or is there only one McDaniel out there?
Bakari Grant progressed from day one to year end, but he doesn’t have the all out speed that makes a difference, yet he has the height along with Aaron Kelly who can catch 95% of passes going his way, but looks very raw at present. Both can certainly play in this league though.
Getting better probably means improving on everyone but Williams. Maybe even Stala. Maybe even Thigpen. Regardless, to be explosive at this position, we need to upgrade. Once again we can stick with what we have and do reasonably well, but are we here to do reasonably well or really well? One thing is for sure, we are much improved short term and long term by not having Bruce, Mann and Carter. McDaniel is another story in my opinion.
Upgrading the Canadian receiver position is mandatory. No disrespect but Carter or Mckay as starters does not put fear in the opposition, Mahoney is still young, and Stala’s lack of speed is a concern, his great hands notwithstanding. There are numerous players in the draft available, and some that may not start right away but can become valid starters down the road. This is a position where you can find a diamond in the rough in the later rounds, especially with players who can outright play but haven’t been ‘mentioned’ in media circles.

RUNNING BACK / FULL BACK

Avon Cobourne was a surprise signing in the offseason. Not that we didn’t need a player of his calibre, but that we ended up with him after competing with other teams. He didn’t bring elite speed by any means, but he brought toughness and a lot of leadership and a winning background to the team. Are we set at this position? I certainly don’t think so.
Terry Grant would have brought another dimension. Speed, speed and more speed, but would he be the bruising up the middle back that we need? Probably not. Used as a tandem would create more issues for the opposition. Finding a player that has speed and power in one package is what we need. Avon will be 33 prior to the 2012 season. We have Darryl Stephenson who was brought in as insurance in case of an import RB injury, as it is easier to keep a Canadian backup RB than an import backup RB. Darcy Brown was used sparingly in the backfield, and mostly as a blocking TE. Darcy has the perfect physique for a blocking back but is very poor in every aspect of blocking. I don’t blame him as the team drafted him and made him something he isn’t, but even as a backfield player, he isn’t going to carry the ball, and he isn’t great at blocking so as much as he has progressed as per the team, what is his real value to the team? Goes back to drafting. You can bench press 225 pounds 40 times but if you can’t play football or a position very well, then what’s the point of reaching for someone in the draft on numbers alone.
Daniel Porter was just a fill in at the end of the season, but you can plainly see how far back he is in comparison with what we have. We need to find out if we can find a RB that has Cobourne’s power but with a little more speed, and at a much reduced salary. You can see why Montreal released Cobourne in favour of Whitaker. Power, faster, quicker and less costly.
The Canadian RB spot can be improved even though Stephenson was great in university. Edmonton’s combo is everyone’s wish, and Calgary drafting Cornish in his draft year is going to pay dividends for years to come.

QUARTERBACK

Sad to say, but if you look at it realistically, Glenn’s best days are behind him. At his best, he is fun to watch. That Montreal playoff game was one of his best in that he was on target, sharp and very confident. When he played Edmonton this year or Montreal during the season, he couldn’t do anything at all. That inconsistency just shows begs to ask “Is Glenn the best QB out there for this team’?

Porter is a super guy, a talented football player, but can’t seem to put all the pieces together. A bit awkward in his throwing motion, his reads need improvement and holds onto the ball too long causing sacks. On the other hand, he is one of the better running QB’s in the league and best in short yardage with his height. You hate to lose someone like that because you figure he could improve on his deficiencies, but how long will it take, and will it ever happen? That is the tough call for team management. I think he can still be a 2nd QB if that 2nd QB is to play up to 20% of all snaps in a year, but right now if he is to take the bulk of the offensive plays, he doesn’t fit the bill.
Jason Boltus barely saw action this year but did a super job holding for Medlock’s field goals. It isn’t easy holding for left footed kickers and Jason did a great job. Once again, do you foresee him being a possible starter in this league? Probably not. Which begs the question, ‘Is he the best number three guy out there for a possible future number one position??
Me thinks we may have 1 of the 3 still with us come May 2012. If we have 2, that means our hopes in finding who we really want does not work out.
Glenn will not be running the ball much, if at all, and he is a few bad blocks away from being hurt badly as he doesn’t take big hits very well. Granted he has taken his fierce hits this year and came back from them, but you wonder how healthy is he really playing.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The team went with import Albert Smith in favour of Demonte Bolden in the middle. They found out much later in the season that he wasn’t better than Bolden in the first place. Bad personnel decision. Eddie Steele was probably thrown in too early at tackle because of necessity (Kirk injury and ratio issues) although he still needs grooming. Interior line play was an issue all year. Being manhandled on the line, and not enough strength to stop the run was a cause for the defence yet not much was done until 2/3’s of the season was basically over. Kirk returned late in the year only to get injured pretty quickly, which makes one wonder if he is in the picture for next year. Steele, to no fault of his own, improved over the season but shouldn’t have been the easy way out. Lack of finding the right players inside early on hurt the team. Robert Rose came in and usually was double teamed on the line, but at other times as much as he had power, he didn’t have the quickest feet to go with it. Luc Mullinder had some good games in Saskatchewan but the unfortunate thing about him is that he is too weak to play inside (where the team usually played him) and not fast enough to play DE. I doubt he will be with us, especially with his contract which is reported to be worth more than his value to the team. If he is back, it is ironically because of his high salary and/or bonuses that the team may have paid him. Whichever it is, the team can do better. Lastly Maurice Forbes has been around all year, and it remains to be seen if he was worth the draft pick or a bit of a reach.
The unfortunate thing is that just as Jermaine Reid was making a name for himself in 2010, we lost him to free agency. We lost more than Reid last off season and that makes one wonder why, apart from money, are players not sticking around???
We lost MacIntyre to the Jets of the NFL. That really hurt us big time. His energy and passion on every play is what you need at every position. His defection left us with Hickman and Baggs. Hickman did well in leading the league in sacks without a good interior line which says a lot about what he could have done with two better performers inside. Baggs on the other hand, a super guy, but didn’t perform as he did in 2009. I wonder if he could bring his 2009 game back to the CFL going forward? I don’t really think he can. Regardless of the team system (penetrate or contain) you should still be able to make plays if you are a highly regarded talent. This corner doesn’t think Baggs is the answer at one end spot.
We need to bring players of the calibre and fabric of a Mike Philbrick in the middle and a Tim Cheatwood or Mark Word on the end. Then and only then will we be feared by Offensive linemen. Until then, the D-line is nothing to be concerned about, at least in Hamilton.
Free agent or not, Canadian defensive linemen who can really play are hard to come by. Teams that have them won’t give them up, so when we have Canadian stars or up an coming talents, do your best to not to lose them a la Reid.
The draft won’t give us too many big names at this position this year.

LINEBACKERS

Everyone will say we have one of the best linebacking crews out there year after year. Really we do, and really we don’t. More than anything, our defensive system affected our linebacking crew above all other positions, including the secondary. The system in my view, made them make tons of tackles, but what good is that if those tackles are 8 to 12 yards downfield. Statistics covering number of tackles is so exaggerated depending on the team success and its system. A player may have the highest number of tackles in the league but what does that really mean most of the time? Does it mean the defence is always on the field and giving up 5 minute drives and 80 yards of field position each time, adding up to 6 tackles in one drive by your MLB? Does that mean your MLB is great? Not to me.
So I look at it with all the concerns, health, age, performance changes, system to name a few. I see Jamaal Johnson not as effective as he was last year, and not as quick to cover slots or backs as well. I see Knowlton who still can cover, but is not being used properly. He was a monster in Marshall’s system and just another guy in Chamblin’s system. That isn’t the player’s fault. I see Rey Williams as a non stop motor guy, but I also see him being too small in the middle, being wrapped up easily by linemen. Not my idea of a middle linebacker in the sense of what type of MLB I envision.
Mariuz played a great few games for us on the outside. I just wonder if he will return as he would be a bonus to have around, let alone his special teams prowess.
If healthy, my MLB for 2012 would be Ike Brown. Again no disrespect to the job Williams did, it’s just that Brown is bigger and can handle the blocking along the line, as quick as Rey, and is a heavy hitter. I just wonder whether he will stick around after always being by passed (Otis Floyd to Rey Williams).
Brandon Denson would have to push one of the three, but he would ideally play inside as he is not ideally suited to play Will or Sam due to foot speed. Not that he isn’t fast, but just not ideally fast enough in this league. Jonathan Hood and Nathan Kanya are mainly special team bodies, and good ones to boot. Hood was third in the league in special teams tackles.
Hopefully we get to see Yannick Carter next year, at the very minimum on special teams where he has succeeded at every year. Kyle Jones was used sparingly on defence and mainly on special teams.
Interesting to see what happens at 2 of the three positions next year, as well as improved depth.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Wow, where does one start and stop. I think in a different system where zone is used more often than it was, one would say the ideal quintet would be Hinds and Turenne at corners, Bo Smith and Marcel Young inside, and Collins at safety. Others used this year were Webb, Means, Thomas and Shivers, and these are only those that remained. We had many more. The secondary’s woes were the most evident, but let’s not just blame them. Nine times out of ten a receiver/defensive back competition will be won by the receiver. Then add the fact that you have no help and you are on your own covering that receiver. Then add the fact that your linebackers aren’t blitzing to force the quarterback’s hand, and then add the fact that our pass rush (not total sacks by individuals or as a team) was barely existent this year, and you can see why we were decimated in the secondary. Enter system used. The system cost players not only playing time, but their jobs in total. You can have great games here and there, but most of the time you will be eaten alive by passing oriented offences in this league.
We had about 20 defensive backs in camp, ok I am exaggerating, and only 5 of 9 are still here from training camp, and only 3 of them are starters. Just means the merry go round will continue next year, unless the system is changed. It means the selection of players has to be more scrutinized. Webb is not physical enough, Means has speed but is going against the grain of becoming taller in the secondary, Thomas played every position possible and did what he could but didn’t excel anywhere, and Shivers should be on his way out regardless if he knows Chamblin’s system inside out.
I know that for sure the players we have in any position on defence would have succeeded within the Greg Marshall system much better than Chamblin’s system. I am not, however, saying that Marshall’s defence was the right one either, just more accommodating based on talent we have or had.
Our secondary had 10 interceptions all season, compared to Winnipeg’s Jovon Johnson who had 8 alone himself. Why does he have 8? Not because he is the best corner out there because he isn’t, but because of the help from his front seven.
The Canadian backs included Barker who may be done with football altogether or if healthy may one day end up out west where he is from. If healthy, I would want him at safety but if you are out a whole year, there is more to just returning, but can you play again to the talent level before you were injured?
Wladichuk did ok on special teams and has some talent to play safety, Beswick is more of a special teams demon, best in the league in special teams tackles that is, and Rwabukamba went through his training year with the hopes of winning a spot next year or thereafter.
Obviously the secondary is an area of concern. The draft has some DB’s of interest but they are not the short term solution. Free agency might be, but scouting for better talent here is paramount.

KICKING/PUNTING

Medlock was pretty much as best as you can expect from a field goal kicker, with a great percentage of success, and missing most from long yardage. Yes there were some guaranteed chip shots he missed but you can disregard those in the whole picture. One beef I had with Coach Marcel is that on numerous times in games this year we had 3rd downs on or about the 45 to 50 yard line and we continued to elect to punt for field position rather than get three extra points on the board. I realize the thought process, as I have coached football myself, but sometimes to be better you have to take risks. Sometimes you have to make decisions to be aggressive rather than coach scared. It rubs off on your players.
Anyhow, the punting game wasn’t the best possible, as we were near the bottom in that category. We were in 4th place in number of punts, which means if we had a stronger punter, we would have had the field position that the Coach relies upon. Yet he was the one that released Wilbur after training camp. Yes I know it comes down to the ratio, but you have to put so much emphasis in all facets of special teams, and not choose one player that is great in one area but not so in another. That is what we had this year, and it was predictable from day one. I have no qualms whatsoever about Medlock and his punting because I know if it was his choice he would rather do what he does best and that is to be the field goal kicker. Yet if we managed the ratio even better we could have had Wilbur in there and we would have 10 yards extra average per punt almost guaranteed. Enough said though about that.
Next year, and with Medlock without a contract, who knows if the job is for Maveety to do both and Medlock will be sent packing. Hard to think that way, but that might be. Or maybe they bring in Burke Dales to do the punting and keep Medlock as they should. We can’t hope we get someone good, we have to be sure we have someone good, for both positions. These 2 positions are huge in this game of chess that is played on the field.
Or they may consider drafting Austin Anderson from McGill in the 2012 draft.
It is too bad what happened with Jordan Matechuk, but Kevin Scott came midway into training camp and did a super job. Not as strong a snapper but a little more accurate than Matechuk I would say. There are some graduating Canadians as free agents in the Canadian university ranks that can help in this area if needed.
Our punt and kick returns were basically Marcus Thigpen and Marcus Thigpen again. Perhaps we should lessen the load next year and utilize Williams or Terry Grant or another special teams wonder that will be signed.
I wasn’t sold on the kickoff teams, but was more content with the punting units in terms of coverage. Neither were spectacular per se, but you did see more performance on the punting unit.

HEAD COACH

Marcel has done an adequate job as Ticat Coach, but is adequate what we want. Ok we won’t blame him because his coaches make the calls. Ok so then who promoted Khari and who brought in Chamblin and his system? Marcel of course. So can we place the onus on Marcel? I think he comes across as a decent individual and I am sure he is. I just don’t see him as the guy that takes you to the next level. I don’t see him as the guy that makes you win because of coaching, but rather despite of coaching. I don’t see him as the rah rah coach that we need to motivate our players. I don’t think it’s a coach’s job to motivate players, but most top notch coaches fall in that category anyhow, or have an assistant or two that does that job for him. Coaching nowadays unfortunately is not just about x’s and o’s but it is managing chemistry, managing the atmosphere, eliminating outside distractions, and creating harmony among personnel. It is about getting the most from each player whether it is done differently among players or the same way for everyone.
I think Marcel has represented the team with class, although he is no Greg Marshall when it comes to media or fan relations. Nor is Scott Mitchell a Dave Sauve in terms of fan relations. I think Marcel can do better in reaching out to fans without the normal athletic mumbo jumbo responses and actually speak realities. I think however that we need someone else to take us over the top. I would have loved nothing better for it to be Marcel. Even if we were in the 2011 Grey Cup and won or lost, that doesn’t cover up for 18 other games. Over his years here, you would want to have seen progression, and you have in terms of talent improvement, but you haven’t seen it in coaching. What I mean is, I see Paul Lapolice totally outcoaching Hamilton during the last game against Winnipeg at Ivor Wynne. Lapolice pulled out all the stops on offence, defence and special teams including a fake field goal attempt that went bad due to a penalty. Simple things like that signifies a coach that is thinking outside the box, a coach that doesn’t want to be upstaged, a coach that knew the importance of that particular game, and a coach that knows both teams’ tendencies more than he knows his own.
In the end, there is more sentiment to push forward and make the change rather than keep the status quo, which is no momentum, no excitement. The team, or should I say Marcel wants status quo? Wow is what I have to say.

ASSISTANT COACHES

I have my thoughts on who should stay and who should be let go, and unfortunately the name of the game is change. Some it is because of lack of imagination, some because of not being able to adjust versus opposition, some it’s because they simply are not ready, some because of other reasons, but overall the key is to surround players with coaches who they believe in rather than players playing with reservations and without a sense of organizational strength.

GRADE

Hamilton improved personnel and you have to give them credit, but in no way did they become a Grey Cup team, nor do we have the talent to get to the Grey Cup with what we have right now. Don’t get fooled by beating Montreal, and it took overtime to do it, a team we beat that had numerous players out of the line-up. If beating Montreal was the decision maker for whether Marcel is retained, then that means the team disregards the previous 18 games. Yet not only is it the Head Coaching position that needs upgrading, but the assistants must be replaced. This isn’t a throw them under the bus decision, or something that is said in an irrational state because they season didn’t go well. It is based on more than one year (for most) production or lack of, and how they are outcoached by the opposition. Nothing makes you angrier than following a team that is being outcoached on several occasions. Too many games this year the team played with no emotion, no fighting spirit, no desire, no heart, and no direction. Too many games we played lost, not being able to adapt to the opposition. We had the players to ensure that didn’t happen, because apparently we improved the personnel enough. So says the coaching staff. So also says the coach that we must ‘stay the course’ for 2012. When people talk about not buying season’s tickets for next year, you know there is a problem. Unfortunately you wonder if the team knows this? That is the scary part.

Until next year, the next 6 months are my favourite time of the year. The time that teams overestimate and underestimate their personnel and coaching staff. The one with the right answers or should I say, least mistakes, usually ends up on top.

p.s…I don’t have season’s tickets, but I went to every home game less one, paying regular prices for tickets, which ended up costing me more than the seasons tickets package price.

vinny

Very Insightful as normal Viny

The loss of Hage definitely hurt the O-Line. Dewitt played okay but the run game seemed to lose its edge after Marwan went down. For a guy in his first year, Simmons played well and should likely be our LT heading into next season. I've been a fan of Belton ever since he signed here last year, but it's probably best to replace him with a Canadian. Unfortunately, Moe Petrus is probably going to get drafted in April to the NFL, so I doubt we see him here next year.

I love what Avon brought to the team this year, but i'm not sure if he's the best option going forward next year. As you said, he's going on 33 and lacks the speed that a typical CFL runningback needs. Not to mention his large cap hit. I like Terry Grant, but you never know how a guy is going to bounce back after a gruesome leg injury. One thing I would suggest here is bringing Conte Cuttino back next year. The guy made a stupid decision by taking a picture of his teammates injured ankle, but he apologized and took the high road by saying nothing but good things when he left.

I like the american receivers we have right now, but if you're going to go with speed guys like Thiggy and Williams, then at leats take shots down the field with those guys. Make the defense respect what is their strength. As for the Canadian Receivers, I like Stala, but i'm not sure if he's a capable #1 NI Receiver anymore. He did nothing down the stretch and (as you said) lacks the necessary speed to get open.

I have no idea what to do at Quarterback. The one idea that pops in my head is possibly making a deal with Joe Mack in Winnipeg to get either Brink (Who we traded to draft Steele) or Joey Elliot. However, I doubt Wpg parts with either of those guys.

Obie has going to have to bring in a load of DE's next spring. Baggs did nothing all season and Hick is likely going to leave for an NFL tryout. I like what I saw from Rose, considering he was thrown right into the fire with only a week of practise in the CFL. Steele is still very young, so hopefully he continues to improve. Forbes looked good in Training Camp but considering we never saw him during the season, I can't really make a judgement on him.

It completely Baffles me how Chamblin turned three great linebackers into average football players. I agree with what you said about Ike, but the question with him is can he stay healthy?

As for the Secondary, Hinds is a guy you can build around, but after that there are quite a few question marks. Imo Carlos Thomas is awful and sometimes looks like he's afraid to come up and tackle on run plays. Meanwhile everytime Milt Collins is in the game he flies around trying to kill people, which is what I like to see from a safety. I feel like with better coaching, Bo Smith could be a great DB, he always has great coverage but needs to learn how to play the ball. Tureene looked good in his limited play time. A guy I would like to see brought back is Francis Adjei, he looked great in Training Camp before tearing his ACL.

I can't even comment on the coaching because I could go on for hours about all the deficiencies that Marcel has and why he is holding this team back with his conservative personality.

Good post Vinny! Agree on most accounts.

Great and very detailed analysis. This should be forwarded to Obie's office. :thup:

Anyone who 's Vinny know he has Talent and very insightful.
I agree with most of what he said here
it was main reason I did not renew was I agree with the above.

Hmm, so does this mean Vinny knows Vinny has talent?

I agree with most of what he said here it was main reason I did not renew was I agree with the above.
With this "tough love" logic all you are going to get is a 2003 experience. You will be cheering for a bankrupt team that might achieve a 1-17 season assuming they are able to operate at all.

If you agree with Vinny you should be out helping the team raise the revenues necessary to recruit the higher quality players and coaches you and Vinny believe the Ticats need.

Oct. 8/11, the day after the 33-17 loss to WPG at home, experiencing the most frustrating season ever as a life-long (and long life) Ti-Cat fan, I made a decision to bang my head against walls in private rather than openly in this forum. I have continued to read and follow everything Tiger-Cat, everywhere, on a daily basis, without comment until today.

I almost hit the keyboard, a couple of weeks back, to express appreciation for the insight in the words of "The Caretaker" who wrote in one of these threads -- "Most of humanity will not agree with you most of the time on most any topic. Trying to get the world to agree with you is a leading cause of insanity. No matter how wrong the world is." What a great quote!

But, it is the insight of "vinny," in his synopsis, that has me typing again. I have not read, heard or seen from any fan, reporter, columnist, panelist, commentator, or team/league insider, of any connection, anything that comes anywhere near close to it.

vinny: Your post is likely the longest ever, but I, for one, read it as the best ever too. Congratulations on presenting your observations and thoughts, while referring to your frustration, without showing any signs of it, whatsoever, as you wrote.
IMHO, it's outstanding!

Not a chance!

I completely disagree, expectations or not. That 1-17 was horrible to no end, no matter what the expectations!

Did anyone really expect only 1 win? I don't think so.

While this season had its share of frustrations, they were certainly tempered by some of the highs, like:

  1. the unexpected Labour Day slaughter of the Alouettes,
  2. the 55 points against Calgary in Moncton ,
  3. the 42-10 destruction of the Lions ending their dominating winning streak,
  4. the dethronement of the Als in the playoffs with 52 points scored.
    Surely no one expected those great victories against the best teams in the league.

Cap'n: Can't blame you but you are just trying to make yourself feel good.
For a reality check.... repeat after me: 9-9, 9-9, 8-10.
Read Vinny's analysis again. Then perhaps you might consider changing your mind about "staying the course."

Re: the O-line…

Dyakowski played tackle at LSU.
If we’re “guard-heavy” with our non-import o-lineman, is it inconceivable to move him to tackle, to adjust the ratio back to a 4-NI o-line?
Or does he not have the proper footwork/technique/agility to play tackle in the CFL?
I’ll admit I don’t watch closely enough or have enough knowledge of the position to evaluate an offensive lineman’s technique and ability to switch between the different positions.

I really liked Steve Milton's piece in which he says it's hard to imagine Glenn as the starting QB next year.

[url=http://www.thespec.com/sports/ticats/article/627790--ticats-bombers-contest-a-total-mismatch]http://www.thespec.com/sports/ticats/ar ... l-mismatch[/url]

I read Vinny's piece, and agree with a lot of it. Most of it, I think, is self evident.

My post specifically dealt with what I quoted, and not what you refer to.

Comparing this season's frustrations, as worse than the frustrations, of the 1-17 season is, in my books, quite ridiculous.

The playoff win in Montreal, is in itself, a huge accomplishment.

Is the team good enough? No.

Does it need improvement? Yes.

I like Peter but he doesn't look very athletic to me. He doesn't have lengthy arms or legs that are essential to keeps up with the speed of a defensive end, especially in the CFL.

Not even taking his spatula technique into consideration?
You never know how that might translate into better hand and arm positioning.

THIS is the most frustrating part. Which team showed up before and after those great victories? The losses were embarrassingly bad. Clearly this is the core problem. We need to find out why this happened during the off-season.

I think the difference between that year and this one, as far as frustration goes, was that back then, the frustration started at the beginning of the season and stayed, eventually numbing us into accepting the team's fate. And while at the beginning of that year, no one probably would have predicted a 1-17 year, by the time that single win came along, many of us were resigned to a 0-18 year. To turn your question around, by the time we played Calgary (I think?) near the end of the season, would anyone have expected us to win at all? This year, the roller-coaster, Jekyll and Hyde results kept building our expectations just to drop us on our heads again. So the frustration was around the inconsistency, and maybe was just a bit worse because we could see the potential. It's all to do with expectations.

And yes, the team needs some changes. I think Vinny nailed most of the short-comings of the team. Personally, I think the priority needs to be on fixing the lines. Whether that involves a few new players, new strategies, or new coaches, I really don't know. Maybe all of the above?

Great to see you posting, Vinny.

Your views are always based on genuine knowledge and are very thoughtful.

Only thing wrong with your contributions to the forum is that they are not frequent enough!

Great to see your input as always, Vinny! I'll have my two cents' worth in a few days...

All the best this holiday season!

Oski Wee Wee,

Russ

re: 1-17 vs this year

That season i was upset every week, frustrated, mad, just wanted to see a win.

This year? - By the end of the year i didnt care, left games early, and after the Winnipeg loss i just laughed and switched over to the NFL.

Take it for what its worth but Vinny is absolutely right with the comparison in my opinion.

Vinny, you should post more often then it wouldn't need to be a Russian novel.

A few points in response:

  • agreed the blue team will be better next year. Expect Burris, Fantuz and O'Shea as HC
  • agreed two imps on OLine was a ratio killer
  • disagree on AB3. He brings a certain intangible that makes other receivers better
  • disagree that changes are needed in receiver corps. Stability!
  • Matt Carter suffered two concussions these past two years. I suspect he's done and Barker too.
  • if McDaniel was/is so good why is he on Calgary's PR?
  • at QB Glenn is servicable, Boltus unknown, which means Porter's time here is done
  • was Ike Brown really injured thus deserving of spending the year on the IR?
  • Secondary needs stability. Lack of it has been the only consistent factor these past years
  • Coordinators need to be Xs & Os guys. Head Coaches need to motivate, make player assessments, and be the in-game manager. Marcel doesn't seem able to handle these responsibilities. Inability to produce consistently competent game plans and half time adjustments questions Coordinators abilities. Can Marcel and the Coordinators learn on the job?

We had higher expectations this year which is why it was a disappointment. The inconsistency proved at times this team could beat anyone yet the next week lose to anyone else. If the good TiCats can be developed while the bad corrected we could have a champion next year. If is a big word - reality concludes the opposite could happen too - disaster. Going into the gypsy season of 2013 this franchise cannot afford a disasterous season in 2012. We can't change 46 players which necessitates change should come in the coaching ranks.