Scott Radley calls for Chang

Scaredy Cats won't gamble

Mass's numbers say it all, but Ticats refusing to make a change at QB

July 31, 2007
Scott Radley
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 31, 2007)

While watching the last few minutes of the Ticats' latest entry in their quickly expanding loss column, my nine-year-old son turned to me and asked what many are thinking.

"Dad," he said.


"Why are the Ticats always bad?"

Would've been easier if he'd just asked how babies are made. But for someone who was still in diapers the last time the Cats were in the Grey Cup and whose entire sports-watching years have offered little but losing from his hometown team, it was a fair question.

"Lots of reasons," I answered.

Truth is though, one stands out.

If you're trying to accomplish something and your method fails, repeating the process that led to the failure time after time isn't going to yield a different result. Just more failure.

Yet that's exactly what's happening here. The Ticats have made plenty of changes in the last few years. They've gone through presidents, general managers, coaches, co-ordinators and players like there was a contest to see which team could employ the greatest number of people this decade. But at the most important position on the field, they have stubbornly refused to admit failure and make a change.

That, of course, is at quarterback.

Jason Maas is a good human being and a stand-up guy. And, according to head coach Charlie Taaffe, he's also going to be the starter again on Friday when Winnipeg visits. What he isn't is a player who's done the job expected of him or who is showing any real indication that he soon will. Instead, he's a player who's been adequate at best for a team that needs great.

Yes, he looked better picking up nearly 350 passing yards against Winnipeg on Friday, but once again he couldn't get the ball into the end zone. Yes, he completed a reasonable percentage of passes in the short-to-mid-range but once again he had little or no luck going deep. Yes, he performed OK, but once again he couldn't produce a win.

This isn't new.

Maas has now started 20 games for Hamilton. The team has won four of those. That's a .200 batting average, hardly the numbers you want from a guy at the heart of your batting order.

He's tossed just 10 touchdown passes while serving up 22 interceptions in that span. He's thrown for 250 yards or more -- a total that most CFL quarterbacks would see as a barely average day -- only five times. And 10 of his past 14 starts have seen passing totals of fewer than 200 yards.

Doesn't matter how you parse those numbers, they're awful. Bad enough that it's hard to imagine another CFL team obstinately plugging along with a guy who's performing like this.

Yet the Cats act like a compulsive gambler at a slot machine, refusing to cut bait and move on because they're sure -- or is it afraid? -- the next pull will be the one that hits the jackpot.

Some say now isn't the time to make the move to rookie pivot Timmy Chang because the team's still in the playoff hunt. After all, there's no way to know if he could be the great QB the Ticats need by Friday since the Canadian game is still new to him.

"There's still a big learning curve," he admits.

What we do know however, is that recent history dictates Maas won't be great. Even if he did put together a fantastic game, there's no current evidence to suggest he could do it three or four or five times in a row as the team needs. So continuing to give him the ball at this point is nothing less than wishing and hoping.

Three lengthy oh-fer starts at the beginning of consecutive seasons is unprecedented in its putridity. The Cats are well on the way to missing the playoffs for a third-straight season for the first time in the modern era, which is bloody hard to do in a league that awards post-season berths to just about everyone.

Meanwhile, this franchise keeps asking its dwindling fan base for a little slack. Fair enough. But the promise of a brighter day only holds when the radar shows the clouds will soon be passing. Calling for a different outcome while showing the same gloomy forecast just doesn't work. Nobody buys it.

No, Maas isn't the only reason they're losing. But to alter the forecast that continues to look like bad weather ahead, it's time for a change.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It reminds me of the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Maas will be history soon, what the key thing is is NOT to mess with Chang's development in any way so they aren't going to throw him into the Lions den right now saying "Timmy, lead us to the playoffs" and then ruin the guy's confidence setting him up with much more chance to lose than win. That is smart by Taafe, Desjardins, very smart.

Another way of saying this is that they are just using Maas for the time being and a) if we make the playoffs with Maas, great but b) when we're out, we'll let Timmy get in there under a less intimidating environment to learn the game this year and then be "the man" come next year etc.

Very smart IMHO. :thup:

Radley's article is scarey. I've wanted to see Chang start since game two but Radley's stats on Maas make the case crystal clear. He makes a good point too that even if Maas plays a stellar game on Friday and the Cats beat the Bombers, there's nothing to suggest Maas can do it for 4 or 5 or more games. Whatever he had in Edmonton, he's lost.

I wish I knew what was in Taafe's head. A playoff berth is still a possibility but another loss or two and this season will be toast. I keep repeating 0-5, 0-5, 0-5 in my mind and can't believe that Taafe continues to start Maas at QB. There was a time when a 0-5 start would've had Hamilton fans calling fot Taafe's head but I guess Cats fans have gotten used to losing.

An Argo-Cat fan

All this has been said before on this forum many times.
But Radley has tied it all up very nicely for those who are not privy to the wisdom on this forum.


Do you have any money? Perhaps we can start a new CFL team in Hamilton and win a few games. This one seems to be quite happy with the overall status quo, e.g. no playoffs--again, lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong losing streaks, a QB who "manages" games to loss after loss, a club pres who blows more smoke than a Stelco chimney, etc.

An Argo-Cat fan

Maas came off the bench to much success in Edmonton maybe we start Chang and if he struggles bring Maas of the bench.

A little patience guys, we do have our qb of the future, Mr. Timmy Chang, don't rush the guy this year. Not saying we take as long as what the Argos did with Bishop of course, but that was a different situation. We are set at qb with Chang and Williams or whoever as backup, Maas will toast soon, we're just using him to buy some time.

please don't get mad at me like the rest.but i don't think maas is toast yet. maybe friday will prove if i'm right or wrong.i agree chang is our future but being a long time fan you know what happened to calvillo here and looked how he turned out.
the same for tommy clements and everyone said he was done and ran him outta town went to the peg and the next season won a cup and an mvp. i'm just a little more careful before i decide when i think a qb is done.i've seen that used for an excuse for all that ails this team and it turned more than once they were wrong.

over a complete season isn't enough? WOW.

no, because i consider last season a disaster with no direction.
i decided for myself i was going to give maas the benefit of the doubt over his injury. i saw a great qb in the 2 seasons he started in edmonton and though they may be blind hopes to some i'm willing to see it thru.
it wasn't just maas last year no one could get the ball to vaughn flick or holmes the o/c was horrible last year. this season i say a different approach and a new staff who i think are going in the right direction.

And I decided to give Maas a chance to prove he's healed. He hasn't

You can't throw Chang into the fire...if people dont see that Charlie is not repeating the mistakes of the past Calvillo then you are greatly mistaken.

Who says Chang has to be thrown to the wolves? There have been a few that suggested that a platoon be instituted. Some have suggested that Williams should play. My personal favourite is to resign Fabio Felice and start hi at QB. No matter what tho, Maas should not be relied on to lead this team to victory this season.

I can agree with that but I dont blame Charlie in giving him some time to learn the game. Charlie has a history of developing his QB's and I trust Charlie in his decisions.

By pulling the plug on Maas wouldn't Ticat management have to take accountability for this bad trade and costly signing?
In other words, maybe the decision to start Maas is more of a business decision rather than a football decision. This way the organization saves a little face.
Isn't it interesting that management's pride takes priority over the team's performance?
Mr. Cynical

No, this mangement had nothing to do with the trade and sign deal of 06

Last time I checked, Mr. Young and Mr. Lancaster were still part of this organization.

They didn't make the deal and even if you argue Lancaster, he's already been fired from the GM post

In any business, problems are inherited by incoming management, and all I'm saying is that in this case, management is concerned with their perceived failure. I don't think it really matters who brokered the deal.