I’ve been busy this off-season with my other business projects, but with our first exhibition game coming up now is the time to start paying attention to what Coach Austin and colleagues have been cooking up for us fans. Not having played a game yet is actually very liberating - we can express opinions unencumbered by facts.
While I know the names of our new players I have not had a chance to either google their past performances, nor have I been out to training camp (yet). As an old Ticat fan who cheers for defence more than offence it could be signing Ted Laurent. Which element of the 2014 Ticats do you think has been most improved?
well, Medlock is an upgrade over Congi in the kicking department and the LB core has shored up nicely over 2013 with the addition of FA Craig Butler, a more seasoned Plesius, a now healthy Bowman, and the return of Simoni Lawrence. not to mention the all-purpose Rico Murray who can play both SAM and CB comfortably.
Defense for sure. The Offense has some good receivers, Running back and decent protection, the QB is the question mark. We knew what to expect from Burris but until we see the first exhibition game we don't know what to expect from the new guy.
I honestly can't choose a specific position group. I truly believe Hamilton has improved at each and every spot.
QB = Yes - Collaros will be much more reliable than Henry.
Kicker = Yes - Medlock is one of the best. Leg strength will be huge advantage.
Receivers = Yes - Koch is a big upgrade. 1 of new speed guys will stretch the field.
RB = Yes - Gable will be even better & backup(s) Madu et al will contribute in 2 back set & ST's.
Oline = Draw - Addition of Myddelton helps - Loss of Dyakowski for 9 games hurts.
Dline = Yes - Laurent is a beast. Boudreaux will have a breakout year.
LB's = Yes - Bowman is a stud. Fans will be surprisingly impressed. Overall unit is extremely athletic & flexible.
DB's = Yes - Butler & Stewart added and returnees gaining in experience. Newcomers to push the group.
Overall ... I guess if I had to choose ... The TiCats are most improved in the area of TALENT and especially Non-Import Talent which gives the team incredible flexibility!
I would agree with most of the posters above that the D is the most improved. The LB and D line were nicely addressed albeit a little closer to camp time than I was conformable with. Where I am concerned is at QB. I personally believe that the team took a step back there. Unproven pivot with a few starts to evaluate him from (and some of those starts his play, quite frankly, stunk) and the fate of the offence based upon the "hope" that he is the guy. My sense is that for years 1 and 2 of his contract the plan is that he will be asked to get the ball into the hands of the play makers and not have to win many games on his own. I hope it works. Cuz if it doesn't........
And that's exactly what you'll see. For years 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 .... (Or for as long as Kent is coach/gm)
Protect the football
Spread the ball around & get it into the hands of play-makers
Operate the offense efficiently & effectively
I don't expect Zach to throw for +300 yards every game or for over 5K for the season. Execute the zone-read-run option. Stretch the D horizontally. Use Gable. Get the ball to Fantuz & Ellingson & Grant on 5-10 yard routes inside. Take calculated shots deep when the opportunities present themselves.
Operate Kent & Tommy's offense ... protect the ball ... sustain drives ... take 3 on the strength of Medlock's leg ... convert inside red-zone. Nothing fancy or wild or gun-slinging ... Pure surgical precision, efficiency & effectiveness.
Well, with Austin & Condell running the show, Hank had to throw for 4,925 yards and run for 298 yards for the team to put up points. That was just to get to 10-8. That's a lot to ask from Collaros. And he may not always have the play makers to get the ball to in subsequent years (assuming that he is still with the team) so he's going to have to be able to carry the team at some point. Every QB has to. Until then no one will know how good he will be and, when necessary he better be able to throw for 5K over the season because that's what will be required. If not, it's a step back, because for at least 2 years the team could have had 5000k or 300 a game.
I think the most important and long lasting improvement that has been made is the stadium the team will be playing out of. That facility for years will make the game day experience better - win or lose.
But please keep making personnel decisions that result in more wins - which I think has been what we've seen happen over the last 18 months or so. Because winning makes for an even better game day experience.
If our new QB is even close to just as good as last years Henry Burris make sure you are available for the Grey Cup parade.
QB remains the ONLY question mark with this years edition of the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Hank had the knack to avoid and play through injuries. Lets hope Zach does too.
And please make sure that you LOCK-UP Kent Austin. It has taken a VERY V-E-R-Y long time to put in place the proper person to run your organization and KA is THE MAN!!!
Thanks caretaker for this thread.
I was at the Ticats training camp last Saturday and was impressed with the pace and efficiency of Coach Austin’s practice.
They did a lot of scrimmaging which was fun to watch.
The defence is light years ahead of where they were last year at this time and the offence is about the same as last season.
They are going to have some tough line up decisions to make based on what I saw.
DE - Beaudreau , Norwood and Scott looked really good.
Dt - Bulke , Laurent and Hazime were solid I also liked Hall # 72
Gascon Nadon and Tory Davis were injured.
Atkinson( non import) was not taking part in practice but was running wind sprints in the end zone.He can really move for a big guy.
LIne Backers- Plesius looks like a different player. He was MLB the whole practice and he is solid. I won’t be surprised if he starts. I also liked Caldwell # 42 , Lawrence and Kromah #1. Landry ( does not look like a rookie ) probably won’t start but will get a look on special teams. Bowman was injured.
Secondary- What an improvement from secondary we had two seasons ago!
Butler and Stewart were great. Stewart ,by the way ,is fast.
The big surprise for me , it may not be for some of you, was the play of Neil King. He looks very solid on defence .
I always liked him on ST but he looks like a solid back up for the secondary.
Courtney Stephen was on the corner but was seldom tested. Eric Harris & Emmanuel Davis were around the ball a lot.
I also liked Michael Coe # 24 , Damien Jackson # 29 and Demetrius Morley # 39.
There were interceptions.
Qb - It was striking how prepared all the QB’s were . Last year in training Burris looked ready and the rest were scratching their heads . Not this year. Collaros stands out because of his ability to adjust quickly as the play unfolds. He finds his second and third reads very effectively and is elusive. Other than that Collaros and LeFevour look the same.
Robinson threw a bullet from the 40 yard mark aiming for the crossbar on the uprights. Klunk ! he nailed it.
Rb - Gable looks like Gable. The most impressive new player I saw in the whole practice was Madu # 26. Good size , good hands and can run effectively . If he can block … look out ! Sofele # 30 looks like Mike "the pinball " Clemons. If he made a mistake during the whole practice I did not notice it. Lamar and Moore also gave a good account of themselves.
O - line - Figuoroa is a beast. I think Landon Rice and Mike Filer a re coming on as well. Alford got injured during practice.
Simmons, Wojt and O’Neill look ready.
Recievers - Great group overall . I was really impressed with Brandon Banks. He looks like he wants to play receiver.
Special Teams - They really practiced this a lot . Welcome Home Justin Medlock . What a cannon !
However the best kick of the day was a booming punt by Brett Lauther that took the punt returners totally by surprise as it sailed over their heads.
While I have merely glanced at the suggestions so far (busy at work), so if this has already been mentioned, please forgive me. I think without a doubt the biggest improvement has been at Caretaker. You have learned, through trial and error unfortunately, how to hire the right people and let them do the job. Not wishing to jinx things too much, but I truly believe we have a great shot to add to our 15 championships this year - the best chance in a long time.
Way to go Bob. Bob for Premier of Ontario (you have my vote). :rockin: :rockin: