Sunday, October 19, 2008

Possible Revenge Against Durrant

So the Cats have their final road game of the year against Saskatchewan and only three chances left to beat last year's 3 and 15 record. Fortunately we can't get worse than last year, nor are we as bad as the 1 and 17 year (with Saskatchewan the only victory). Plus having been officially eliminated from playoff contention, the 25% off season's tickets for next year kicks in for this year's subscribers. That's some spin.

Normally I would go to the Cats site and look at the depth chart and various stats, however the CFL and the Ticats site is apparently down for maintenance right now. I know it is a bit early on a Sunday, but wtf? So this will be a rather stat poor look at the next game.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to this game, as the Riders are apparently starting Durrant as QB rather than the erratic Michael Bishop. In the Cats last meeting with the Riders, the Riders started Durrant in place of an injured Marcus Crandell. I was expecting the Cats to go after the relatively green (and not in the Rider sense) QB aggressively and hoped to see the Riders suffer from starting such a QB as Hamilton has countlessly over the years (hello Billy the Skid!). However it was still early in the season, I was naive and ignorant and still thought the Cats had a pass rush. Of course after a few more games, we learned that the Cats have no actual pass rush, just a bunch of rubes going through the motions. We still had a chance to win at that game, but we couldn't seem to put it together. At the time I mentioned that the key was a fumble near the end of the first half by Lumsden as the Cats were driving that led to a Saskatchewan TD. Man, we've sucked this year at scoring at the end of the first half and preventing our opponent from doing the same. Then at the end, the defence couldn't hold on and a big gain and controversial fumble by Dressler, followed by at TD and that was that. I really believe that that game was crucial and having won that game, we might have ended up with a few more wins and a chance at a playoff spot. So I'm really hoping the Cats do a number on Durrant and the Riders in revenge.

That seems somewhat unlikely, however the Riders have been doing quite mediocre after their 6 and 0 start. I'm assuming that Porters is starting again for the Cats at QB over Printers and Williams. I suppose we're still evaluating, but if Porters can light it up this game, the dump Printers movement in the offseason will grow in strength. If Porters is sucking early, I wouldn't mind seeing the other QBs get some action. At running back, Tre Smith and John Williams again I assume? Somehow I don't think the Cats will be running much. Get the ball to Rodriguez? Seems like a smart strategy. Plus I hope that Porters makes a few more runs rather than holding on to the ball forever trying to make the play. Admirable, but at a certain point, the chance of an interception or a sack goes up and a first down with your feet is the best option.

On defence, try and put some pressure on Durrant, I guess by blitzing with DBs and linebackers occassionally. Don't worry about getting burnt, you'll probably get burnt anyways as you'll have four idiots in zone surrounding Dressler who makes the catch and picks up twenty extra yards on shoddy tackling. That reminds me, this week, actually make some tackles. That is all...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Epic Montreal Fail

So once again, I'm late writing about a Hamilton loss. What else is new? After beating Montreal at home the previous week, Hamilton gets smashed in la belle province 42 to 11. Sacre bleu! Enough with the francais. It was ugly and somewhat disturbing.

First off, Lumsden apparently injured his arm, or he was already injured or whatever, but he left the game in the first half, got taped up, played a bit and now apparently needs surgery on the same left shoulder that was operating on before. But a different part. Again, I like the concept of Jesse Lumsden, it is just the execution that doesn't seem to be working. Kenton Keith also proved that all running backs are inherently injury prone (hello Terry Caulley!) by getting has arm slashed to the bone by a helmet or something and also having to leave the game. Leaving us with nonimport running back, John (no not the Star Wars guy) Williams. Quinton Porter managed to rush five times for 25 yards. Hopefully next year we will bring back our draft pick Mike Giffin a running back out of Queen's.

Anyways, we managed to stay in the game for a while, but the TSN turning point was probably in the first half, where we had the ball on the one and couldn't punch it in. We would probably have lost even if had scored a TD there rather than settling for a field goal, but it would have been a lot closer. I believe we also failed on a third and one sneak by Porter. Sad, sad, sad. Shouldn't by this point of the season, we would have learned to make the one yard plays? How lame is the push our offensive line gets for these plays? Interestingly, Montreal in the second half starting to go repeatedly on third down beyond a yard, often in a passing formation (although then they would promptly run it up the gut of a flabby Ticat D). If you have a good offense, this statistically is a good strategy. Teams in the CFL are too cowardly on third and short (apart from the Cats who should be afraid).

Porter was mediocre this week, going 17 for 25 for 167 yards and two interceptions. Porter didn't look like the second coming this week, but his receivers didn't seem to do much for him. The play calling seemed a bit wonky, with Davis catching five passes for a whopping 28 yards. I guess they were testing him and out and it turns out he sucks. Prechae only caught three passes for 30 yards, although Montreal may have realized covering him closely would pretty much shut Hamilton down. So the offense was crap, although not as crap as the defence which was pretty much beyond shitty.

The defence was crap. What happened to the strong run defence from last week? Nonimport Dahrain Diedrick ran for 127 yards with only 15 carries, in place of the suddenly injury prone Avon Cobourne (it's not just us!). A lot of that was some shoddy tackling and the fact the Cats were petrified of the strong Montreal pass offense. Cavillo passes for 371 yards with three TDs and one interception, going 33 for 41. As per usual, the Cats got little pressure (although they did get one sack) and there was a festival of shoddy tackling down field, often leading to extra yards extending the drive. Ben Cahoon caught 13 passes for 164 yards as the Cats refused to make contact with him at the line of scrimmage. Not a lot more can be said.

The Cats have a long ways to go to compete week in and week out with Montreal. Although they split the home and home, so over the past two games they are 500. Next week is Saskatchewan, who they should have a realistic shot at, even at Taylor Field.

Monday, October 13, 2008

At Montreal, Two in a Row!

The Cats in Montreal on Thanksgiving, following up a win in the Hammer powered by a remarkable Quinton Porter. Continuing the holiday theme, does Porter become a pumpkin in Montreal or does he continue to amaze and nail Casey Printers to the bench? Obviously the Cats aren't favoured to win two in a row, as they haven't done that all year (ok so they have only had two chances). Montreal is again favoured by 12.5, similar to last week. The Cats may cover, is about as much as I'll predict knowing this group.

The depth chart is somewhat strange on the offensive side. Porter is listed to start, with Printers backing up, which in normal circumstances would be a bit strange, but with the Cats almost mathematically eliminated, not surprising (although I would like to see Printers again just to get a sense of what he can do). At the other slotback position, C. Davis (who dat?) is starting with Bauman backing up and Woodcock starting at wide receiver. Apparently Bellefeuille had Davis when he was a co-ordinator at Montreal and likes him. O'Neil Wilson two?

Both Kenton Keith and Jesse Lumsden are listed in the running back depth chart (with Williams inexplicably listed as the starter). We'll get to see going forward if this would work out next year. One has to wonder if there is room for both Jesse and Casey next year. My odds for Jesse to play the remaining four games this year? Ten percent. I wonder how much the Cats will bother running, as Porter seems to like to hang in there and throw. No doubt the Cats will get behind early, and that will be it for the running game. Too bad, as I think it can be effective, mixing it in and our line is still pretty mediocre at pass blocking.

On defence, similar to last week with Anthony at end again and Siskowic at middle linebacker. Cavillo completed a record 42 passes against the Cats last week (mostly short yardage shit) and still lost. I can't think we can allow that many passes again. Cavillo is old and crotchety, we have to get to him and make him pay the price for completing a pass. Maybe he'll hurt his thumb or his wife will get cancer again. Oh snap! Yes Anthony, your time in Hamilton has not been forgiven and I would enjoy nothing more than seeing you injured for the rest of the season and Montreal lamely ending their season with whoever loser backup they have ensconced at QB now.
Hamilton has suffered from the football Gods for too many years now, I demand someone else suffer.

One last point, with a victory in any of the remaining four games, we surpass our win total from last year. Soft bigotry, low expectations, you know the drill...

Sunday, October 5, 2008


So the Cats manage to win one behind a superlative perfomance by Quinton Porter at QB. I will admit that last week against BC, I was concerned that Porter may not have been that great after all. Going a remarkable 27 for 32 for 427 yards with 5 TDs, Porter looks like he is the starter next year. The only question is whether to release Casey Printers and his big salary during the offseason, or keep him around as a possible backup. With Richie Williams you in a sense already have a decent backup, but I have a feeling the Cats are leaning towards keeping Printers.

Prechae Rodriguez had another monster game with 12 catches for 198 yards with 3 TDs. If he stays hot, he could be a candidate for rookie of the year. Bauman was also solid with six catches for 73 yards. The line minus a departed Marko Cavka also looked surprisingly good, giving up only two sacks.

On defence, the Cats as per usual gave up a lot of passing yards, 468 in fact, but a measly 10 on the ground. Siskowic looked good at middle linebacker with six tackles and a sack. Chris Thompson had yet another interception for a total of seven on the year. Frankly some of the fumbles the offense made made it harder for the defence in this game and we could have locked it down earlier. Kudos though to the defence for not folding at the end.

Looking to next week in Montreal, it will probably tougher there and the Cats may not be able to count on such a quick start. Hopefully Porter will look good again, further solidifying his hold on the starters position.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Montreal, Close or a Beating?

So just a few quick comments on the game against Montreal today. Porter starts again at QB and Williams remains in purgatory. Printers? Who knows the score with him. Kenton Keith is listed to start, with Caulley I guess gone for the season. Is he more injury prone than Lumsden? Ernest Jackson is in for Mitchell at the other slotback position besides Tony Miles. Mitchell has been pretty ineffective this year so lets see what Jackson can do.

On defence, Cornelius Anthony is listed at defensive end, with Siskowic at middle linebacker. McKay is at the other end spot with Kashama backing him up. I assume these things are fluid, so you will have to watch people coming in or out.

For the Cats, I think the only option is to go after Cavillo aggressively and try and make him pay for each dropback. Hammer Cobourne if you can too, as he is starting to look a little injury prone himself. On offence, don't throw interceptions for TDs early and get behind. Keep running, and if the QB sees a guaranteed first down via a run open up, take it. The Cats probably have no chance without the QB running for 100 yards. I fear another beating, but maybe the balls will bounce our way for once.

Friday, October 3, 2008

BC Debacle

Ok, so I've waited a while to make a post about the BC game. Obviously when you get smoked 40 to 10 there's not a lot to say. The most pertinent stat is the ten sacks given up by the Cats offensive line. OT Marko Cavka again was released by the Cats after the game, likely for real this time, although apart from staking out his apartment and making sure he has moved out, there's always the chance that the Cats will put him back on the roster. I'm guessing the Argos won't pick up Cavka. I'm not sure that Gerald Davis, his import replacement will do much better, but BC does have by far the best pass rush in the CFL. Quinton Porter was 14 for 27 for 144 yards with a TD and two interceptions. The early interception hurt, however Porter never had much of a chance. He also ran for 39 yards on six carries. Frankly Porter moves better than I would have thought for a 6'5" guy and if the Cats were going to have any chance, the QB is going to have to run. At 5.333 yards per pass attempt, a QB run is likely your best option.

Bauman had not a bad game stat wise with five receptions for 65 yards. The other receivers not so much, with a few drops literally sprinkled in. Kenton Keith didn't do much either in his first game.

On defence, they went after Buck Pierce with blitzes, but couldn't knock him out of the game, as really their only hope was to get to Jarious Jackson and hope he sucked. Nonimport Ray Mariuz had a nice sack. Chris Thompson had an interception and a couple knockdowns if I recall. Not much to say, apart from the fact that our defence is crap.

I watched the first half of the Saskatchewan Calgary game and I noticed that Chris Getzlaf made a few catches. Didn't we trade him in one of those magic bean trades a couple of years ago?

I also watched the Toronto BC game and was disappointed that the Argos kept it close. There's always next year I guess...