More on this from Steve Milton's Spec article:
[url=http://www.thespec.com/sports/ticats/article/600492--speed-kills-at-least-it-did-in-moncton]http://www.thespec.com/sports/ticats/ar ... in-moncton[/url]
Some of the article's KEY POINTS COPIED HERE:
"Engaged in the long ordeal of trying becoming a model franchise, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have usually strived to maintain a certain type of balance on the field.
They’ve always kept one eye on the standings and another on a planned talent development process, conceding they’ve sometimes taken one step backward hoping to result in two or three forward.
The endgame is to improve so much at every position that eventually you become Upper Canada’s Montreal Alouettes: challenging in every game and every season, and winning most of them; changing a few players each year to keep the motor finely tuned but never having to break down the entire engine.
But the Cats put part of that balance on hold last week, faced with a sub.-500 record and finally admitting to themselves that which is so hard to admit: They cannot go toe-to-toe with the rest of the league and be much better than sea level. In other words, they don’t, and won’t, have enough talent this year to be an elite team.
So Marcel Bellefeuille and his coaches looked within for answers to their season-long conundrum: With the team likely to continue to surrender some big plays, how could they reduce a few of them against and create many more of them for? And do the only thing that matters in the final third of a season, which is win.
Their conclusion was simple. Look at the resources on hand and ramp up the speed. If you aren’t outmanning them, try to outrun them.
Elements of this were already in place on defence with Markeith Knowlton, Jamall Johnson, the off-season addition of Rey Williams and last fall’s acquisition of Stevie Baggs.
It escalated on offence a few weeks ago when undersized sprinter/high jumper Chris Williams ran his way into the receiving spot held down by the proven, but slower, Arland Bruce.
But it really skipped into high gear over the weekend when fairly fleet and very slippery Marcus Thigpen got his first start of the year erasing the “tall? receiver spot formerly co-occupied by Aaron Kelly and Bakari Grant, with another couple of giants looming in the wings. Size scares, but speed kills.
And, with Thigpen a regular part of the offence, the hybrid role that he sometimes played — kind of a semi-tailback, semi-slot receiver — opened up for Terry Grant, whose wheels rotate like he’s starring in a Roadrunner cartoon.
Williams was starting to draw the quick, veteran defensive backs, which affected how often he was open, but which team has three of those types? Not the Calgary Stampeders, it turns out. They were faced with Williams and Thigpen, and often Grant coming at them in a weaving blur. Grant also was a speedy counterpart to Avon Cobourne on certain series.
In the passing game, Williams had the extra attention and Kevin Glenn found the other two for critical receptions, including several big plays: a 21-yarder from Grant and a complete, brilliant menagerie from Thigpen"
So, the "COLES NOTES VERSION" would be:
The Ti-Cats coaches' main plan is/has been to "develop talent," but while also "keeping an eye on the standings." They admit to having sometimes "taken one step backwards, while HOPING to take two or three steps forward." Recently, that "one eye on the standings" caused them to realize "they don't, and won't this season, have the talent to go toe-to-toe with the rest of league." And, I expect they also realized that their chance of making the playoffs might be close to slipping away. So, "they took a look within" for answers to "their season-long conundrum" and "the conclusion was simple."
Hopefully, on offence at least, they see today that there is, and has been, plenty of talent right there in the dressing room that, for some reason, wasn't being used, I guess, because it wasn't on their development list.