By Stories by John Kernaghan
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 4, 2007)
You could call yesterday Turnaround Day for the Tiger-Cats.
That's the shift when Saturday's woes were given a final airing in the morning and prepping for the Argos visit this weekend began in the afternoon.
So there was an optimistic air in Ticatland born of knowing what they had done wrong and the prospect of redemption.
But there was one more session with the media to cover the many missteps in the season-opening 37-9 loss in Calgary.
On defence, said veteran back Wayne Shaw, "guys were nervous, were trying to do too much, covering for another guy and not taking care of their own area. We've got to learn from that and be calmer."
Head coach Charlie Taaffe termed the coverage errors differently, as in "discipline with gap responsibility. You can't be running around carelessly with a quarterback like that (Calgary's Henry Burris)."
He noted it made for embarrassing viewing as players got to live their mistakes a second and third time in video sessions.
They were equal opportunity sessions, though, as breakdowns occurred right through the roster.
And as if it was not already abundantly clear, Taaffe reiterated that Jason Maas was his No.1 quarterback.
When a TV reporter explained that editors want the quarterback question asked, the new Ticat coach said those editors should see the video he does, the clips showing a 17-of-23 passer Saturday.
Maas made some mistakes, he allowed, but others' mistakes hurt him, too.
Jesse Lumsden, arguably Hamilton's best player along with kicker Nick Setta, provided a strong endorsement for the quarterback.
"Jason is an outstanding quarterback. There is no doubt in my mind that he can lead us to victory after victory after victory."
Three Ws in a row would certainly silence the doubters.
Maas picked up Taaffe's theme that if critics looked close at the video evidence, they'd see how close the team was to creating a tighter game.
"When you look at the film and you see we were a play away here and there from making it a much different game, those are the things you have to stay positive about."
But Maas said it doesn't get any easier in facing a stingy Argo defence Saturday.
"They're just good at what they do. And I know everybody wants me to throw downfield this week, but if you try to make your living against Toronto that way, it's a long game."firstname.lastname@example.org
IMO, Maas does not have what it takes to get it done in this league anymore and the sooner the coaching staff admits it the better off the TiCats will be.