Friday, July 31, 2009

Ticats Win!

Ticats win 30 to 18 over BC at Ivor Wynne. Great game by Cobb. Glad I stayed up to 4:30 Central European Time. Not going to help with the jetlag...

Half Time Analysis

Pretty sad considering all the yards the Cats got early. Probably what hurt the Cats was special teams. If the Cats don't give you all those yards on the returns, a different game. Of course the Cats allowing Buck Pierce to come alive at the end of the second half certainly didn't help either. Cobb certainly looked great, although you have to wonder if the Lions will have him figured out in the second half. Can't really complain about Porter's play and certainly no reason to switch to Kevin Glenn. Ultimately just disappointing to be going into the second half behind. The Cats had chances to move the game much more in their favour and were not able to do it. Hopefully they keep battling in the second half. Hopefully Dave Stala is OK.

Pertinent Stats

Waiting to watch the game here in Germany. Here's a few stats:

Quinton Porter, sixth in passing 794 yards

Kevin Glenn, tenth in passing 344 yards

Quinton Porter, seventh in rushing 163 yards

DeAndra Cobb, ninth in rushing 158 yards

Chris Davis, fifth in receiving 267 yards

Last time Hamilton won two games in a row at home,
weeks 18 and 20 of 2005 (ouch!) versus Ottawa (40-32)
and Montreal (15-9)

Ticat Depth Chart Analysis, Week 5

Time to have a look at the depth chart against the Lions. On offense, the line is the same as the past few weeks, with four non-imports and Dan Goodspeed as right tackle. Cobb is the starting running back, with Caulley back from injury backing him up. Williams is the fullback for the fairly rare four receiver set. For the receivers, Rodriguez, Davis, Stala and Bauman are listed as the starters, which adds up to seven starters on offense. Arland Bruce is listed among the backups to Bauman, likely coming in for specific plays he has learned. Having seven non-import starters listed on offense is a bit weird, but have more than seven seems to be what other teams end up listing. Potentially with extra, Bruce could switch in for Bauman whenever they felt like it, fullback in or not.

On defence, the non-import starter weirdness continues. McIntyre is listed as an end, starting ahead of the formerly injured Khari Long. Hickman plays the other end spot, with Scott McCuaig, a third round pick in the draft backing up. Bolden starts at one tackle spot, with non-import Matt Kirk coming back to start in place of the injured Darrell Adams. The linebackers are the same as last week, with Haley in the middle and Knowlton and Johnson on the outside. Beveridge is the non-import starting safety. Gordon, Thompson, Tisdale and Smith round out the secondary. So that's two non-import starters on defence to go with the seven on offense when only seven are required.

For the Lions, their offensive line only starts three Canadians in the middle. Heerspink and Jiminez are the tackles. Lumbala is the non-import fullback and Mallett is the starting running back, with the previously injured Ian Smart backing him up. The receivers are a bit confusing at to how the Lions list them. Skillen, Simon, Arceneaux are all imports and Jackson and former Cat O'Neil Wilson are non-imports. I assume Wilson comes on for five receiver sets. So that is five non-import starters on offense.

On the defensive line, BC starts two Canadian defensive ends in Johnson and Foley, which is quite unusual. Gibbs and Hunt are in the middle.

McKenzie and non-import Glatt are the starting linebackers. The starting secondary is all imports, Marsh, Toney, Miles, Banks, Phillips and George. So that's three non-import starters listed on defence, for a total of eight on the entire team.

CFL Previews, Week 4, Part 2

Winnipeg at Toronto,
Finally QBs Michael Bishop and Kerry Joseph will square off on opposing teams. Or maybe Saskatchewan played Toronto late last season, I can't remember. Anyways, apparently Winnipeg is starting the very recently acquired Bishop on the road in Toronto this week. Generally not a plan for success, but he probably can't do much worse than former starter Stefan LeFors, he of the truly sad completion percentage. Bishop does bring some upside by being able to grab some yards on the ground and also complete the occasional bomb, but he isn't particularly good. Maybe later on in the season, he will help Winnipeg's reasonable defence to some wins. Toronto doesn't look particularly good after getting rid of Arland Bruce and also sitting their other decent receiver Reggie McNeal, a converted quarterback. Probably Toronto tries to get the ball into capable running back Jamal Robertson's hands as much as possible both on the ground and in the air. If Toronto wins tonight, they will be one game back of last year's win total. Better than what I would have thought in some ways.
Toronto 24, Winnipeg 14

Saskatchewan at Calgary,
Calgary is looking hot and Saskatchewan is looking a bit like a fading team after week four. Calgary is at home which should in theory help, although there will probably be some green in the stands. Saskatchewan's defence is good, their offense is more inconsistent than anything else. Calgary has lost one of their best receivers for the season, which shouldn't help. Basically I'll pick Henry Burris over Darian Durant.
Calgary 40, Saskatchewan 29

In somewhat perplexing news, the CFL will offer repeats of CFL games on iTunes for $2.49, available after the broadcast. Considering they are available for free on the TSN website I'm not sure how much of a market there is for these, but I suppose any way to make some extra money on something you've already produced can't hurt.

Jeremy Piven, Honourary Argo?

Entourage star Jeremy Piven apparently became an honourary Argo, while promoting his latest film, the Goods: Sell Hard, Live Hard, which sounds like an updated version of Used Cars. The Star photo has a picture of the Argos cheerleaders surrounding Piven, but I don't see the infamous Nissan Cube anywhere in the background.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CFL Previews, Week 4, Part 1

Montreal at Edmonton,
Edmonton did play better last week and showed some heart coming from behind to win in Saskatchewan. Montreal will probably lose a few this year and they are on the road, two time zones away. Honestly you can't bet against Montreal. Ray ends up looking bad.
Montreal 40, Edmonton 19

BC at Hamilton
This game will help show whether Hamilton is for real or still a joke of a team plumbing the basement of the CFL. Last I checked, a few days ago, BC was still favoured on the road, despite playing an awful game last week. They do have potentially two good QBs, which is certainly a strength, although they have lost a lot of talent from last year. Hamilton will have Bruce, although it might be hard for him to have much of an impact after a few days. Probably the biggest problem for Hamilton is injuries to Darrell Adams and Otis Floyd on the defence. That makes me leery, although I pick Hamilton in a squeaker (this may be a bit of homerism, but really BC has done squat this year so far).
Hamilton 27, BC 25

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Calgary
3. Saskatchewan
4. Hamilton
5. Edmonton
6. Toronto
7. BC
8. Winnipeg

Tougher this week. Montreal tops is easy. BC and Winnipeg at the bottom easy, with Winnipeg obviously worse considering their QB situation. Calgary looks like they are coming on, although losing a Rambo will hurt. Saskatchewan still has a good defence, but going 1 and 2 at home shows their are some issues. Hamilton is probably better now that I'm writing this after Bruce, plus they played respectable football against Montreal and didn't get blown out. Plus second best points for and points allowed amongst the 2 and 2 teams. Edmonton, still don't really believe, but they are better than some teams. Toronto only beat Winnipeg and they no longer have Bruce. Although playing Winnipeg again this week they could be 3 and 2 which is somewhat disturbing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ticats Sign Arland Bruce the Third Iteration

Somewhat surprising to see Hamilton acquire Bruce in a trade with Toronto. Knowing that Bruce had pretty much burned his bridges with Argo coach Bart Andrus it seemed that no other CFL team would offer much at all. Since Hamilton placed last last year, they the first chance at Bruce if Toronto outright released him. Obviously another team could have offered a low pick, so Hamilton found a way to get a deal done. Giving up the rights to defensive tackle Corey Mace is a little bid sad, since Hamilton could certainly use a potential Canadian starter on the defensive line or even a great backup who could rotate in often. Didn't seem like Mace was particularly close to signing with the Cats anyways, so not an immediate lost to the team and Hamilton should in theory be better with Bruce in the lineup. Bruce's $180,000 salary is interesting, however Kenton Keith is already on the nine game injury list, so half his salary doesn't count against the cap, Bruce has already collected four games of pay and the Cats very likely have cap space that otherwise would have went to some wang coming back from the NFL at midseason who promptly gets injured and contributes nothing.

Bruce is a bit of worry in terms of character, especially the allegations that his route running sometimes includes going where he wants, however after getting shown the door, Bruce will probably be on his best behaviour for the rest of the year. Plus they can always release him in the offseason to get around his contract.

It will be interesting to see how he works with Porter or Glenn out of the gate. Certainly combining with Prechae, Davis and Stala makes for a better four receiver set than what the Cats have now. There may be some problems distributing enough balls for everyone however...

Sad to see the Cats are only expecting 18,000 for the game against BC, especially after the crowd was over 24,000 for the last game (although that was a bit papered with Hage's kids). I like their policy of offering cheaper tickets to season ticket holders, rather than everyone. It is always a good policy to keep the season ticket holders happy and give them as much value as possible. Maybe a few more fans will show up to check out Bruce. Certainly makes the Labour Day game and the followup game in Toronto more interesting. Perhaps Bruce is a possibility for Tigercatatonia's jersey.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nissan Has Less Love for Ticats Cheerleaders?

I have been meaning to post this link for a while, but haven't gotten around to it. Anyways, the Mississauga News (surely an august publication) is reporting on Nissan expanding their sponsorship of the CFL, which is great. Apparently they are giving boxy Nissan Cubes to five teams, the Argos, the Smos, the Stampeders, the Riders and the Bombers, so the teams' cheerleaders can toot around to various events and promote Nissan at the games. Fantastic, however why the lack of love for Hamilton's cheerleaders? Wouldn't they do a fine job of promoting weird effeminate angular econovan things at various Hamilton area events? I know at the stadium the team mentions Nissan occasionally as a national sponsor, versus Subaru which seems to be the car of the Cats from all the ads they do during the game. Subaru is more of an upscale car and they do have four wheel drive to help traverse the dangerous flood prone roads of the Hammer, so maybe it works out in the end.

Also, perusing the Missisauga News top story, this one caught my eye about a pregnant woman stabbing her husband. Stay classy Mississauga.

Ticat Recap: Montreal Game

A bit late getting a post up about the Montreal game, but it has been a hectic week in Tigercatatonia. Montreal is still head and shoulders above the rest of the league, so the Cats losing in Montreal 21 to 8 is no great shame (especially considering we've been the worst team in the league for how many years?). Losing by thirteen points is actually impressive considering the whippings that Montreal has given the other three teams they played. Allowing only three points in the second half to Montreal was also impressive.

Somewhat disappointing was Porter's play, especially in the second quarter where Montreal scored the majority of their points. Going 12 for 21 for 155 yards with one interception isn't going to get it done (although admittedly it is a lot better than Stefan LeFors). Kevin Glenn coming on in the second half was only marginally better, going 12 for 19 for 198 yards. Personally I thought a bit of a turning point in the game was when the team was deep in Montreal's end in the first half and ended up only coming up with field goal to make it 6-0. Getting a TD in that situation would have made it 10-0 and would have put more pressure on Montreal and kept the Cats within striking distance. Good teams finish drives and take advantage of opportunities presented to them.

On defence, I was a bit disappointed at how well Montreal was able to turn relatively short completions into first downs, but I was impressed by how the defence played in the second half while down. I didn't think Haley played a particularly great game in at middle linebacker, however his interception in the second half when Montreal was deep in Hamilton's end probably kept him on the roster (although he did make nine tackles, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about). Sad to see that defensive tackle Darrell Adams was injured. That changed the game a bit, as often gets a good push going in the middle which would make things tougher on Anthony Calvillo. McIntyre was decent at end in for the injured Khari Long. They basically seem interchangeable, but unfortunately we don't really have anyone good backing him up or ready to step in.

Nice to see the local boy Dave Stala catch seven passes for a team leading 86 yards. Maybe 1000 yards in his future this year, the first time for a non-import receiver since Morreale. Chris Bauman was bit MIA, catching no passes. Good effort by McDaniel with seven catches for 68 yards and Cobb with 3 for 51 yards. Prechae caught 3 for 71, but there were several passes he could have caught that could have turned around the game. I like Rodriguez going deep, but I also would like him to use his height to make those critical first downs.

Cobb rushing for 16 yards on seven carries was disappointing, but Montreal does have a good defence.

Hopefully things will be easier this week with Hamilton at home to Montreal.

I saw on the Scratching Post that the Cats were considering blacking out the game this week in BC, but having checked Drew Edward's blog again, apparently the Cats aren't blocking it. Which is a good thing. I've made the point before that I don't think that it is in the Cats interest to black out any games. Probably the best reason is that it doesn't really seem to add to attendance anyways. Fans should go to games for the game day experience, not because they can't watch it on TSN. Plus there's a lot of fans that just can't go for one reason or another and wouldn't buy a ticket anyways, like a frail senior or a kid who can't get a ticket for whatever reason. They're still an integral part of your fanbase, and obviously for the kids potential customers down the line who never have the NFL blocked out for them. Giving up what is in effect free advertising for your team isn't worth the meager extra dollars a blackout would bring. Plus for a long suffering team, blacking out a game when things are looking up seems especially short sighted, even for the Cats.

Looks like the Lions are currently 2.5 point favourites on the road against the Cats, which is a bit surprising, considering the ass whipping they received from Calgary at home last week. The Lions are also coming off the shorter week and have to come east, so I would think the Cats would at least be even at home. The Cats do have a legacy of suck to disprove though, so maybe the odds makers are a bit gunshy for favouring the Ticats

Friday, July 24, 2009

Argos at Bombers

Just finished watching the first quarter. Wow those are two pathetic offenses. Decent defences, but neither team can hope to string a drive together. LeFors is looking horrible as expected and one has to wonder how stubborn coach Mike Kelly is to stick with him. The Argos were down receivers before disciplining Bruce (why not wait until after this game?) and now converted QB Reggie McNeal is your best receiver and rookie Mike Bradwell your second best.

Lot of pass knockdowns in this game. Practically no completed passes beyond five yards by either team. Painful to watch.

North Stands, Ivor Wynne

North Stands, Ivor Wynne
Originally uploaded by philinator
Here's a photo I took at the game against Winnipeg last week. I like the view of press and private boxes and the lights just coming on. Shows that there's some sparseness in the south side stands, as opposed to the north side stands which were jammed.

CFL Previews, Week 4, Part 2

Calgary at BC,
Apparently Buck Pierce is starting again, despite not playing any particularly good football yet this season. Backup QB Jarious Jackson had a fabulous game last week. Calgary's Henry Burris has appeared to have gotten somewhat on track last week, but hasn't looked fantastic. It is in BC, but I have to give the edge to Calgary, which isn't that much different from last year. BC has lost their starting left tackle Rob Murphy to free agency and their best defensive end Cameron Wake to the NFL. Looks like they haven't found adequate replacements and are having a hard time adjusting to be being an average team.
Calgary 32, BC 24

Edmonton at Saskatchewan,
Granted Saskatchewan didn't look great last week versus Montreal (frankly Hamilton looked a lot better), but Edmonton is not a good team right now and not much of a road team. Not much more to say, the Riders easily.
Saskatchewan 45, Edmonton 19

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ticats Depth Chart Analysis, Monteal

Time for a quick look at the Ticat depth chart for the game at Montreal.

Quite similar to last week. Offensive line the same, with Hudson in at guard, Cobb as running back, Williams in at fullback for the rare four receiver sets. Rodrigues, Davis and Stala start as receivers, with Bauman in on five receiver sets. McDaniel looks like he comes in for Cobb for six receiver sets. Currie apparently is injured.

On defence, McIntyre is in again at end due to Long's injury with the rest of the front four intact. They will be in tough against Montreal's offensive line. Hopefully standout tackle Darrell Adams can have a stellar game and put crotchety old Calvillo to the turf.

Linebackers, first game mediocrity Haley is in at middle linebacker for a concussed Otis Floyd. Knowlton and Johnson remain at linebacker. Beveridge is in as the only starting non-import on the Cat defence. Gordon, Thomson, Tisdale and Smith round out the secondary.

For Montreal, interestingly they have a completely Canadian offensive line (old school) anchored by Bryan Chiu. Their other non-import starters are Cahoon at slot and Carter at fullback. So that's seven total on offense, although I'm not sure what happens on five receiver sets. Watkins at receiver is obviously one to watch. Backup QB is McPherson.

On defence, an all import front four, anchored by veteran end Anwar Stewart. Ferri and Cox are the outside linebackers, while Emry is the non-import middle linebacker. Etienne Boulay starts at safety and is a non-import and Davis Sanchez starts as a rare non-import corner. So that's three defensive non-import starters on defence for Montreal for a total of ten altogether, well above the required seven. Montreal obviously has great Canadian depth and is not afraid to play them, which contrasts with the situation with Hamilton, where they go with Haley at middle linebacker rather than non-import Barrenechea for the injured Otis Floyd. Montreal also wins quite often. Maybe there's something for Hamilton to look at here.

CFL Previews, Week 4, Part 1

Hamilton at Montreal
Montreal is head and shoulders above all the over teams in the league right now. Provided Calvillo stays healthy, they should continue as a wrecking ball throughout the league. Calvillo's McManus like quick release is murder on defences and their own defence has been playing fantastic. Not a good recipe for the Cats, who have moved from terrible to decent this season but not great. Porter will start and hopefully his relatively high completion percentage will get some first downs in the first half, keeping the ball away from Montreal's offense and avoid Montreal getting away from them. Haley will start at middle linebacker for the injured Otis Floyd, which is not good news. Hopefully the other linebackers can step up. Montreal is at home, and unfortunately will probably win fairly easily.
Montreal 43, Hamilton 28

Toronto at Winnipeg
This one was already a tough one to call, but things have gotten weirder with news that receiver Arland Bruce is being left at home for disciplinary reasons. Bruce then spouted off about coach Bart Andrus and quarterback Kerry Joseph. Makes one wonder if Bruce will stay an Argo. Certainly one normally would side on the coach with this one, but Bruce is one of the best receivers in the league and the Argos are already down a bunch of non-import receivers. Sometimes as coach you have to find ways to keep your unruly superstars happy. The Argos won't be able to replace Bruce with just any NFL minicamp reject. Not having Bruce would normally doom the Argos, but they are playing Winnipeg. Stefan LeFors completion percentage is ridiculously low and he was hurt in last week's game against the Cats. I can't even remember who Winnipeg has as their backup QB and I'm not looking it up. Their is a game plan for the Argos to win, run the ball with Jamal Robertson more than in the past and have Joseph scramble for yards. Mac product Mike Bradwell should start as a non-import receiver and has looked good when he has had a chance to play. Somewhat disturbingly, I'm picking the Argos, Winnipeg is that bad.
Argos 27, Winnipeg 17

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Saskatchewan
3. Hamilton
4. Calgary
5. BC
6. Toronto
7. Winnipeg
8. Edmonton

Montreal being first is obvious.

Saskatchewan, mediocre offense, but then a lot of CFL teams currently have a mediocre offense. Great defence, which will win you a lot of games.

Hamilton, has won the last two games, surprisingly good pass defence, benefits from having two decent QBs.

Calgary, probably back on track. Henry Burris can still suck now and then however.

BC, Pierce is overrated and injury prone, but BC benefits from having a capable backup to go to in case of injury or Pierce sucking. Offensive and defensive lines still a work in progress.

Toronto, a decent team, provided they don't self destruct for a quarter in a game. Defence is generally good. Joseph's completion percentage is mediocre.

Winnipeg, good defence, good receivers, decent running back, sucky QB in Stefan LeFors.

Edmonton, seems somewhat screwed by Lumsden injury, Ricky Ray has been exposed as a short yardage passing fraud, backup QB Jason Maas. Suck city.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Analysis of Winnipeg Game Stats

First the quarterbacks. Porter had an OK first half, going 16 for 23 (over 66%) for 188 yards and one pick at the end of the half. That's not bad for a half of football and the completion percentage is good by CFL standards (and fabulous by Kerry Joseph standards), although the lack of points resulting was kind of sad. Probably if the pick that Porter throws at the end while being hit goes incomplete instead and the Cats kick a field goal to end the half, Porter stays in. Kevin Glenn's stats for the second half weren't bad either, 11 for 19 (OK that's not so great) for 146 yards and two picks and two TDs. Not really that remarkable, although Glenn did run three times for 27 yards, including a crucial first down on second and long. Certainly having Glenn as an option makes the Cats a more formidable team. Stefan LeFors was Stefan LeFors like, going seven for 19 (wow suckitude) for 99 yards. No TDs, but no picks either. Not really sure how well the Bombers will do with LeFors continuing to be in charge, but as a Cat fan, not my problem.

Cobb was kind of meh, rushing for 42 yards on 11 carries with a fumble. Winnipeg has a pretty good front four for stopping the run, so not a surprise. Reid for Winnipeg had 88 yards on 16 rushes, including a big one in the first half.

For the receivers, Chris Davis had an awesome game, with 6 catches for 122 yards and a TD. Stala also had a great game with 6 catches for 57 yards and a TD. Finally the Cats have some depth at non-import receiver. Stala also seems to know where the first down marker is, unlike some Cat receivers the past few years. Rodriguez five catches for 57 yards was a decent effort. Obviously for the Bombers, with nine total completions, the receivers stat lines were abysmal.

On defence, the Cats were led by Hickman with seven tackles. Adams had a great game with five tackles and seemed to be getting past the Bomber offensive line regularly. I liked Adams last year with his team leading eight sacks, but I'm liking him even more this year. Probable all-star at defensive tackle. Bomber Shabazz continued his great season with eight tackles and an interception.

Frankly, apart from the interceptions, the Cats dominated the Bombers statwise. Nice to see that for once. Montreal will be a tough test as the class of the league. A part of me wishes that the Cats would play some else this week, like Edmonton and keep the streak going, but if the ball bounces our way, the Cats are capable of surprising the Larks. Plus after three games, there will be plenty of film available to discover the reasons for Alouette success.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Retro Ticat Cheerleaders Photo

Retro Cheerleaders
Originally uploaded by philinator
Here's a photo I took of the Ticat cheerleaders in their 60's outfits for the retro game at Ivor Wynne versus the Blue Bombers. Maybe I should get a camera with a better zoom lens. At the bottom, Winnipeg coach Mike Kelly is captured. On the far sideline, another weird Ticat sponsor, beside he Via Rail ad, Whiz-A-Top Linen. Not really sure what to make of that, but I always love bizarre sponsors that I have no idea what their product is. Although in this case I guess they have something to do with linen. Didn't know Dr. Pepper was a sponsor either.

Ticats Win Against Bombers on Retro Night

Well that was awesome and I was glad I was able to be at Ivor Wynne Stadium for the Ticats victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last night. Over the past several years, going to Ivor Wynne has often ended up being a bitter experience. Losing a close one is always disappointing, but the worst is when the Cats get blown out early and you're stuck watching the rest of the game with the team having no realistic chance to win. In last night's game, it was close for quite a while, but one had the sense that the Cats had the upper hand (although admittedly I was pretty sure Stefan LeFors was a crappy quarterback with a really low completion percentage). I made sure to stay right to the end too.

It was also great to see a crowd of over 24,000 at the game and everyone getting into it. Certainly centre Marwan Hage's City Kidz program to get kids to Ivor Wynne bumped up the total, but I have no problem with this compared to other papering that devalues the value of the game ticket. It is not like poor kids are going to be able to go to a game themselves or sell their tickets to a scalper. Plus having kids in the stadium brings a certain energy and element of fun and helps build lifelong fans. To me Bulldogs games are a bit of a chore to go to because they pander almost too much to families (and I don't blame them, that's their market), but the Cats get the right mix. Interesting too, since I sit in section 5, that the kids were in sections 5 and 9 of the North side stands. Looking across to the South side, there was certainly some sparseness, however looking around my area from seat, it was jammed. I wonder if the Cats prefer to have the North side packed because the TV cameras are more likely to focus on them in background shots. There seems to be a real discrepancy this year.

The Ticat retro uniforms were enjoyable, and I wouldn't mind having one to mix up game day attire. I thought the cheerleaders retro outfits were a nice and also a professional touch. Winnipeg's retro jerseys I wasn't quite as sold on. Watching parts of the Montreal game, I actually kind of liked the Alouettes all red retro uniforms and also head coach Marc Trestman had a sweater with some kind of retro looking lark design on it that was strange looking, but weirdly compelling.

Tomorrow I will look at the stats and make some more comments about the actual game, as I'm still celebrating. As I mentioned in some previous blog posts, it has been a while since the Cats were over 500 or even won two in a row.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ticat Depth Chart Analysis, Week 3

Not a lot of changes from last game versus Vancouver. McIntyre is in for the injured Khari Long at defensive end. Similar to last week, the team will start an all American defensive line with Bolden in with non-import Matt Kirk backing up and probably subbing in from time to time.

Linebackers all American again, with Haley, the week one middle linebacker listed as third on the depth chart. After sucking the first game, you wonder how long he will stick around on the roster. Basically the only Canadian starter on defence is safety Sandy Beveridge, so in theory the defence should be decent, especially against the mediocre quarterbacking efforts of one Stefan LeFors.

On offense, there are four non-import starters on the offensive line, with again veteran George Hudson in at guard ahead of Cedric Gagne-Marcoux like last week in Vancouver. Dave Stala starts as a non-import receiver and Bauman starts at receiver for five receiver sets with John Williams playing at fullback for four receiver sets. That's six Canadian starters on offense. Pavlovic is back on the depth chart for fullback and he is a true fullback unlike Williams, so maybe he will be eased in tonight. Stoney Creek native Corey Grant is listed on the depth chart at receiver. The import receivers are Rodriguez, Davis and Currie.

At looked at the Bomber website for their depth chart, and of course they don't have one up yet for this game. Talk about reinforcing the backward hick stereotype. Anyways, I looked over the one for their previous game. Four non-imports on the offensive line, with Glenn January an import tackle. One non-import starting receiver in former Cat Brock Ralph and a starting non-import fullback in Fergus' own Jon Oosterhuis. Import receivers Bryant, Edwards and Bowman.

On defence, Doug Brown is a non-import starting at defensive tackle. Ian Logan is also listed as a Canadian starter at safety, which would give the Bombers six on offense and two on defence when they only need seven, so I don't know what's up with that. Walls and Perry are the ends.
The all import linebacking corps consists of Charlton, Simpson and Lobendahn. Never heard of the Bomber defensive backs. The Bombers defence has looked OK so far this year, so the Cats could be in tough.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ticats Going for Two in a Row, Last Time 2006

Following the sweet Ticats win over the Lions last week, I starting thinking, when was the last time the Cats won two regular season games in a row? I could not remember. After looking on, it turns out the Cats last won two games in a row during the 2006 season (the Jason Maas era). On Saturday, September 16th, the Cats beat the Eskimos 27 to 22 in Hamilton. On Friday September 22, the Cats beat Edmonton again, in Edmonton, 20 to 18.

The Cats have gone 3 and 15 the past two seasons, leaving them with six chances to win two in a row and sucking on every occasion. Now the Cats have another shot, although it sad to see a team honk for so long that winning two in a row is a rare and amazing accomplishment. The soft bigotry of low expectations as George W. Bush would say.

CFL Previews, Week 3, Part 2

Montreal at Saskatchewan
A battle of unbeaten teams on the prairie. The Riders tend to well at Taylor Field and Montreal is also more of a home team than road warriors. Montreal has the better offense and Saskatchewan the better defence. How this games turns depends on the amount of pressure the Riders can put on Anthony Calvillo. Riders defensive end Stevie Baggs has had a great season so far and should be a force at home. The Riders seem to find weird ways to win, so being at home to boot I'm picking the Riders, even if Montreal is the better team.
Riders 35, Alouettes 29

Winnipeg at Hamilton

Hamilton seems to be a one point favourite (when did that last happen?), so things are tight. Both Hamilton and Winnipeg looked good last week. Porter has a lot better completion percentage 70.3% versus 46.6 (smelly and almost Kerry Joseph like) for LeFors. If Cobb can play as well as he did last week for Hamilton in the backfield, the Cats have the upper hand. Despite their terrible record over the past few years, the Cats have won a large proportion of their wins at Ivor Wynne. Cats in close game.
Ticats 27, Winnipeg 25

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Last Time Over 500?

With the Ticats even at 1 and 1, and thus the chance to go over 500 with a victory against the mediocre Stefan LeFors led Winnipeg Blue Bombers, one wonders when the Cats last had a winning record during the regular season. As far as I can remember, and I haven't checked, it was probably at the end of the Greg Marshall led 2004 season, where the Cats ended up 9-8-1.

Last year for game three the Cats were in the same position to go over 500 for game three, coming off a victory over the blue team in the Mediocre Cellular Service Dome. Of course we end up losing at home to Saskatchewan and the rest of the season pretty much sucked from there. I always bring it up, but the TSN turning point in that game was with the Cats past midfield and driving towards the Riders goal line at the end of the first half. Handoff to Jesse Lumsden, he gets past the first down marker, setting up a field goal, but of course he fumbles and in true Ticat fashion, the Riders end the half by picking up some points they really shouldn't have gotten. I've wondered if Jesse doesn't fumble, the Cats are ahead and have the momentum in the second half and probably would have won for sure (and no bullshit pass by Darian Durant to Weston Dressler where he pretty much evades the entire secondary). Then maybe the season wouldn't have turned out quite as badly. Then maybe we never discover Porter can play and are stuck with Casey Printers. Sort of like a bad Twilight Zone episode.

CFL Previews, Week 3, Part 1

BC at Edmonton
Two teams I don't particularly think much of battling it out. Both coming off losses, although Edmonton was torched badly by Montreal, whereas BC came close to tying it up versus the Cats. I have no idea what the line is on this game, but I'm going to have to go with BC reluctantly on this one. Edmonton's running back Arkee Whitlock was beyond abysmal last week, although I can't even remember BC's running back. Pierce over Ray, I say. Mainly I can't see a Wally Buono team starting out a Cat like 0 and 3. Edmonton is at home however. Oh the stench these teams have.
BC 24, Edmonton 22

Toronto at Calgary
Similarly I can't see Calgary going 0 and 3 to start the season, although Calgary doesn't look much like the Grey Cup winners from last year, despite having minimal turnover. Toronto looks like the offense can move the ball, provided Arland Bruce is over his hemorrhoids and Jamal Robertson is playing well. Joseph will still rifle the occasional pass along the line of scrimmage no where near his receiver, but his running somewhat makes up for that. Like BC I can't really see Calgary losing at home, despite the fact they really haven't shown much this year. If I had more balls I would pick the Blue Team, but Toronto likely will win the battle of the stupid 15 yard penalties. Adriano Belli come on down!
Calgary 33, Toronto 28

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ticats Sign Wide Receiver Matt Carter

The Cats have signed Acadia receiver Matt Carter, BC's fifth overall draft pick who was released after training camp because of an alleged family medical situation. Seems quite strange as the Cats didn't have to give anything up for Carter who was the first receiver taken in the draft. BC apparently promised Carter a practice roster spot after training camp. Perhaps the Lions would have been better off putting him on the one game injured list rather than the practice roster heading into the season and take him off when inevitably some players become injured. Or be even craftier and put him on the nine game injury list like the Cats did with supplemental draft pick Zac Carlson. Draft picks in the CFL are by no means a lock to make it, however one would figure the fifth overall pick would stay with the team that drafted him.

Just to note that seasoned vet George Hudson started at guard over Cedric Gagne-Marcoux in the BC game. Behind this line DeAndra Cobb ran for 100 yards on 14 carries, so maybe the Cats have found a winning combination. Still not sure what to make of the somewhat undersized John Williams as the fullback, except that the Cats seem to run a lot of five receiver sets. Maybe the plan is for the Cats sixth overall pick from this year's draft Darcy Brown to take over before the end of the season. I assume and hope he is on the active rather than the practice roster, as BC may be looking for revenge for the Cats ending up with Carter.

CFL Power Rankings: Week Three

1. Montreal
2. Saskatchewan
3. Winnipeg
4. Hamilton
5. Toronto
6. Edmonton
7. Calgary
8. BC

Montreal is the class of the league thus far, winning handily in both games. Saskatchewan is undefeated and has shown their defence is excellent. I'm tempted to denigrate Darian Durant, the Saskatchewan QB, but in the CFL this year, mediocre to poor quarterbacking seems to be the norm. In the land of the castrated, the one balled man is king.

For the four teams with even records, there's really little that separates them. Winnipeg is at the top of the list, mainly due to their defence and their quality receivers and definitely not QB Stefan LeFors. Hamilton is fourth, as they only lost by thirteen to Toronto and had a good performance versus BC this week. Toronto could be higher, as they've proved they can play, but also proved they can self-destruct rapidly from unnecessary roughness and roughing the passes penalties in short order. Edmonton looked terrible against Montreal this week and their running game was abysmal. They could improve by starting non-import Calvin McCarty at running back, but in all likelihood will go back to Arkee Whitlock to prove just how much he sucks. Oh and Ricky Ray is overrated.

Calgary is ahead of BC, mainly for potential. Henry Burris could snap out of his funk at any time and light up an opponent. Or he could keep sucking, but the potential is there. BC on the other hand, has lost too many veterans from last year's team and are in basically a rebuilding year. The Lions have also lost their kicker and punter Paul McCallum for six to eight weeks due to ligament damage. Who knows when Wally will get his five wins to claim the overall CFL coaching wins record? Maybe well after Labour Day at this rate.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Riders versus Argos

Wow the Argos played a putrid second quarter, ending with a blocked punt and a Saskatchewan touchdown. The Argos seem to be a team that is good when things go their way, but fold like a cheap suitcase when things start going against them.

Riders versus Argos

OK the Argos were looking good for the first half, but now they are totally sucking with a fumble around the 3:00 remaining mark near their own end zone. Festival of roughing penalties for the Argos as well.

Saskatchewan at Toronto, Half Assed Preview

Saskatchewan and Toronto is a battle of undefeated teams. Toronto's victory over Hamilton is looking better after Hamilton's victory over BC. The Riders win over Calgary is not looking so hot after Winnipeg manhandled Calgary.

A lot will depend on how the Rider front seven handles Kerry Joseph, especially if Joseph decides to run. Interestingly last week Joseph barely ran at all, although he didn't really need to as the running game was going with Jamal Robertson gaining 134 yards on the ground. The Argo offensive line anchored by former Lion Rob Murphy is looking way better than last year. They still have Jonta Woodard, a Ticat reject as their other tackle, so I'm not totally sold on the line yet. If Joseph does gets time, he is a far better QB. The Rider defence did have a festival of sacks against BC last week, so I'm curious to see how things match up.

For Saskatchewan on offense, QB Darian Durant will have to have to hook up repeatedly with receiver Weston Dressler to have a hope of winning. Toronto's defence looks decent this year, with a good front four anchored by Reginald Flemons and non-import Adriano Belli, former Cat and last week's top Canadian, with two sacks against Hamilton last week.

Argo receiver Arland Bruce is supposedly back from his bout of hemorrhoids which greatly benefits the Argos.

Should be an interesting game.


That was satisfying and a long time coming. The Cats beat BC 31 to 28, for the first win in BC since the Greg Marshall (the old head coach, not the defensive coordinator) and apparently also the first victory by an Eastern time zone team in BC since that game. Such is the difficulty of playing late night Pacific time games (what happens if Halifax eventually get a team?).

DeAndra Cobb in at running back to replace the injuried Kenton Keith, Tre Smith and Terry Caulley was awesome, running for 100 yards on fourteen carries and also picking up 75 yards on five receptions. Good blocking by both the offensive line and the receivers down field helped out the Cats tonight. Cobb has to have consideration this week as offensive player of the week.

One annoying thing about the TSN broadcast was missing the first six minutes of the broadcast as they showed the end of the Winnipeg Calgary game which was a blowout. They could have at least put the Cats game start on TSN 2. Fortunately no scoring occurred, but it was annoying nonetheless.

Friday, July 10, 2009

CFL Predictions Week Two: Part 2

Hamilton at BC
BC is favoured by a full 13 points last time I checked, so things are not looking good for the Ticats. Hopefully they can learn from Saskatchewan and put some pressure on QB Buck Pierce, who is also rather injury prone. A lot depends on how the Cat front four does this week. If they can get some pressure, hopefully helped out be linebacker and safety blitzes from time to time, then the Cats can keep it reasonably close. BC's offensive line looks weakened after the departure of Rob Murphy to Toronto, so there's a chance. Plus the Lions are missing RB Ian Smart, although the Cats are more likely screwed missing both Caulley and Tre Smith. Have to favour the Lions in this one, but I'll take the Cats to barely beat the spread.
BC 35, Hamilton 23

Saskatchewan at Toronto
A battle of teams coming off season opening victories. Saskatchewan's was probably more impressive, as Hamilton is a less worthy opponent than BC. Saskatchewan has an excellent defence and has proven last year that they can find weird ways to win. I'm taking Saskatchewan, but if Kerry Joseph can have a great game, the Argos have a shot. I don't however think Joseph will have two great games in a row.
Saskatchewan 35, Toronto 29

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Edmonton versus Montreal

Wow, 50 to 16, what a beating by Montreal. Rickey Ray didn't actually play that horribly. That honour went to Whitlock, the Edmonton import running back playing due to Jesse Lumsden's injury. Wow, two drops in the endzone, plus a fumble and to top if off, a Maass pass bounces off of him resulting in a Alouette TD. Uh, maybe they should have went to Calvin McCarty more. Montreal looks strong.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll be interested in seeing what the attendance is for the Rider Argo game, but I'll also be interested to see the ratings. Crazy Saskatchewan fans, plus the largest media market in the country, both teams coming off week one wins, should add up to a sizeable number. However it is an afternoon game, which doesn't always lead to the highest ratings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CFL Odds and Ends

First, the BC at Saskatchewan game won the sports ratings weekend battle, with 457,000 viewers beating out Federer's record breaking Wimbledon win. Likely the rabid Rider fans inflated the number. With the current economic conditions in Ontario, I wonder if advertisers value a viewer in Alberta or Saskatchewan (with on average a higher income) over one in Ontario?

That tenth best program, the Jays versus the Rangers at only 80,000 viewers. Ouch. The sucking of the Jays should really start to hammer their ratings.

Michael Jackson devotee, Arland Bruce III, is getting treatment for hemorrhoids. Couldn't they have just said lower body injury and saved him the embarassment?

The Riders are in Toronto this week and coming off a win. It will be interesting to see if Rider faithful inflate the attendance this week in Dead Ted's Dome.

Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Calgary
3. Saskatchewan
4. Edmonton
5. Toronto
6. BC
7. Winnipeg
8. Hamilton

Obviously Montreal beating Calgary last week puts them at the top of the heap. I'm not willing to give up on Calgary yet, but if they lose this week they will tumble down the rankings.

Saskatchewan and Edmonton are high due to their wins last week, although I don't really have a lot of respect for either team. Saskatchewan appears to be repeating their formula from last year where they win ugly with defence. Until Durrant gets injured and they really start to suck. Edmonton barely beat Winnipeg, which isn't saying much.

Toronto beat Hamilton relatively easily, which isn't much of a data point, but it all the information we have.

BC lost to Saskatchewan, although they have the Cats this week. If they lose, the number eight ranking is all theirs.

Winnipeg. Not as a big a fail as one would have thought. Still can't win games.

Hamilton. No idea how to win, comes out on the losing end of most plays, against Toronto. Considering the East's record in BC over the years, a win next week would be a miracle. Blitz relentlessly from the first play and hope Buck "Glassman" Pierce goes down early. Repeat with Jarious Jackson.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Toronto at Hamilton, First Quarter Revisited

I watched the first quarter again on TSN to see what I had missed in the stands. Quite painful to watch. The first three minutes were not bad. Then downhill with the penalties during the first fracas that the Cats appeared to get a bit screwed on. Interesting that John Williams started as fullback without the benefit of training camp, although the Cats played a lot of five receiver sets where he didn't appear. The middle linebacker Haley and the two defensive ends looked lost or incompetent or a combination of the two, although there were a few plays where the Cats got close to Joseph, but didn't close the deal. Hage's bad snaps didn't help in the first quarter, although Porter did turn one into a first down off a scramble. Porter's interception at the end of the first quarter was unfortunate. Toronto totally outplayed Hamilton in that pivotal quarter. The Cats can't start like that against BC this week.

CFL Week 2 Predictions: Part 1

Tigercatatonia's predictions for week one were quite feeble, with only Edmonton actually winning as predicted. So beware the value of these guesses, although in my defence, week one is usually the hardest to pick as no one really knows what is going on with the teams (ie last year's preseason predictions that the Cats would be decent).

Eskimos at Alouettes
A battle between undefeated teams, with the Alouettes at home. Based on the Alouettes handling of Calgary last week, Montreal has to be an early favourite. Edmonton has already lost Jesse Lumsden to injury, which will prove somewhat disruptive to their plans on offense. Calvin McCarty is a decent non-import substitute at running back so things are not totally screwed for the Northern Albertans. Likely Rickey Ray will go all pass happy, put up good looking stats and lose to Montreal who will make the big plays when it counts.
Montreal 33, Edmonton 23

Calgary at Winnipeg
Battle of the defeated teams. Winnipeg looks like they won't be outright sucky this season, despite all the prognosticators. Calgary didn't look terrible against probably the best team early in the season (Montreal) so they have an edge. Certainly one has to think that a team led by Henry Burris will beat out one led by Stefan LeFors, however Calgary seems to find ways to play a weak game now and then versus a feeble opponent. Not this week, especially with the shenanigans involving receiver Derick Armstrong in the Peg.
Calgary 42, Winnipeg 29

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ticats Sign Linebacker, Timmy Chang Charged

The Cats have signed linebacker Jamall Johnson, who played for BC last year. Last year he had 33 tackles, with six sacks, which is interesting. He played his university ball at Northwestern State, which apparently is in Louisiana, although you wouldn't know it from the name. I'm wondering if the experiment with Dennis Haley starting at linebacker is over after a single game. So much for training camp and preseason evaluation.

Jesse Lumsden apparently intends to be back this season. I assume that's the football season, not the bobsledding one.

In other news, former potential Ticat savior Timmy Chang was arrested in Hawaii on a fairly lame charge. The meth addiction can't be very far in the future. I suppose I dodged a bullet not buying a Chang jersey.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lions versus Riders, Aftermath

Saskatchewan has a great defence again, however their offense looks to be mediocre. BC also has a decent defence and their offense seemed surprisingly weak. Maybe losing tackle Rob Murphy to free agency (blue team) hurt their offensive line more than one would think as I saw that the Lions gave up eight sacks (compared to 33 all last year if the TSN graphic is to be believed). Ouch. Maybe there's a recipe for the Cats, blitz like maniacs and hope for some bullshit turnovers. I'm not sure the defence is up to beating the Lions, although they did get some sacks last week.

Lions versus Riders

Watching the first quarter of the game. Wow, a lot of turnovers. BC looks worse than I thought and Saskatchewan better. Still betting on BC to win.

BC at Saskatchewan

Tonight's game is important for the Cats since they will get a look at BC, who are a bit hard to predict this year, as they could be anywhere from the best to the fifth best team in the CFL. Since next week's game is Friday, the Cats at least get two extra days to prepare. No definite word with regards to Caulley and Smith playing next week, but both seem unlikely, which isn't good for the Cats. They have Cobb on the practice roster so maybe we will see what he can do.

Winnipeg last night looked better than I thought they would, which is somewhat damning with faint praise as I thought they would be terrible. LeFors wasn't the excrement I thought, but struggled to move the offense. Somewhat surprisingly, the Bomber offensive line that was pretty much blown up over the offseason wasn't completely crappy either. The Bomber defence did look decent and if the team didn't get a boneheaded illegal procedure call to back up their tying field goal attempt five critical yards, the final score might have been different.

David Naylor has an interesting post analyzing which US and Canadian universities have the most players in the CFL. Mac leads with nine (for now depending on what happens with Lumsden). A lot of those players correlate with the Marshall era.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jesse Lumsden, Injured Again

I was watching the Edmonton Winnipeg game, which has been fairly boring so far. However it was sad to see Jesse Lumsden injury his shoulder in the first half. It looks quite serious and considering his history, one has to wonder if Lumsden is done for good. The injury justifies the Ticats decision not to resign Lumsden (although whether there was anything they could do to make him resign is another question), however it is sad to see a Canadian star at a glamour position not succeed.

Week 1 Predictions: Part 2

Winnipeg at Edmonton
Edmonton is not one of my favourites this year (or any year as I think that Rickey Ray is overrated), but I have to think they'll stomp Winnipeg at home. Maybe Stefan Lefors can do something as the Winnipeg QB, although I doubt it. If Winnipeg ends up winning, the Cats will have the basement of the league all to their lonesome (unless the Riders suck just as hard, which is possible). It will be interesting to see what Lumsden does tonight.
Edmonton 35, Winnipeg 19

BC at Saskatchewan

Sorry Saskatchewan, apart from injuring QBs Pierce and Jackson in the first quarter (which is possible) there's no chance. BC lost their best defensive end and their best running back, Stefan Logan, however Wally Buono always seems to find a way to reload.
BC 37, Saskatchewan 29

More Thoughts on the Game

What's up with centre Marwan Hage's snaps? People always seem to be spreading the koolaid that other teams would love to have Hage, but I'm not drinking what those Jim Joneses are providing. Maybe time to consider who would be the next centre.

Toronto looks like they are capable of occasionally beating Western opponents. Montreal looked pretty good last night against Calgary, so maybe the East won't be as weak as previously predicted. If Winnipeg surprises, wow we're in trouble

Amazing the refs missed that blatant trip by the Toronto kicker on a Hamilton runback. It was plain as day all the way from section 5.

Regarding the Bruce celebration and fine, really I don't care. If the Cats stop him from scoring a TD, no celebration. If the Cats score, they can do a celebration of their own, like tipping over a garbage can as a homage to the Toronto garbage strike. Maybe they're disrespecting the Cats, but they should be disrespected, they suck.

Regarding the stats of Porter versus Joseph, Porter was 26 for 40 for 229 yards, with 2 TDs and 2 INTs (better than Jason Maas!). Joseph was 14 for 29 for 227 yards and three TDs. Interesting that Porter had a much higher completion percentage compared to Joseph, who seemed to be having a relative hot night. I haven't checked the breakdown, but Joseph probably had a higher completion percentage in the crucial first half. Porter also had a far shorter yards per completion, with almost the same yards on 26 passes versus Joseph's 14.

Surprisingly Joseph only ran once for a single yard. Porter by contrast ran nine times for 61 yards. I don't mind Porter running, especially if is for a guaranteed first down, or picking up big yards on first, but potentially greater opportunities are given up down field. Fortunately next week, BC no longer has Cameron Wake as a defensive end, so maybe Porter will get some time to throw.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


That was certainly disappointing. First thoughts, the Ticat defence was terrible in the first quarter and had no ability to stop the run. They stiffened later on, but certainly were not great.

The Cats started with a decent drive, but couldn't even get three points out of it. Then they flame out giving up the next twenty. The Cats certainly looked outcoached in the first half.

Porter wasn't terrible, but considering the protection he had, not good enough. I'm glad he was willing to go for the extra yard when running the ball, but in the CFL you can't win with your QB running all the time.

Kerry Joseph played an excellent game in the first half which contributed to the Argos victory. Usually he will sail a few balls for no reason out into the stands, but not tonight.

Also in regard to fullback John Williams, why would you have him cut before training camp, bring him back after it is over and then use him a ton? If he was only going to play special teams, OK, but really what was the coaching going on there.

Mike Bradwell did have a few grabs for the Argos. Jonta Woodard did get an illegal procedure call.

That's it for now.

Week 1 Predictions: Part 1

Toronto at Hamilton
I think the Cats are still a little behind the Argos, only in the sense that this team has no experience winning and over the past several years can only win if everything goes their way. Any speed bump and the Cats will find a way to lose. Opponents will find weird ways to score at the end of the half, the inability to stop a scoring drive in the waning minutes, the Cats have had it all covered. However the Argos had their own period of suck in the second half of last season. Since in the CFL, for evenly matched teams, the home team is usually favoured by three, I'm going to go with the Cats by one. That means right now with no other evidence, the Cats are probably two points behind the Argos on a neutral field. I'm a bit skeptical of new Argo coach Bart Andrus out of the shoot as well.
Cats 25, Argos 24

Montreal at Calgary
Calgary has to be favoured because they are at home and the Alouettes aren't getting any younger. Cavillo and Cahoon are pretty crotchety as are some members of the offensive line for Montreal. I like Mike Labinjo, the Stampeders Canadian defensive lineman. Montreal, right now I don't know much about honestly, although I'm sure they will have a better record than the Ticats this year.
Calgary 33, Montreal 23

Ticat Game Day: Argos Depth Chart

Looking over the Argos depth chart for today's game, there certainly are some changes from previous years. Here's a quick rundown to get familiar with the Argos for 2009.

The biggest change is the offensive line which has been extensively revamped. Import Rob Murphy, acquired as a free agent from BC plays left tackle and should help the line. Dominic Picard comes from Winnipeg to play centre. Former Cat reject and former resident of my apartment building (almost murder free for two years, yeah!) Jonta Woodard, is surprisingly still sticking around at right tackle. I predict several illegal procedure calls for him today. Ramsay and Robertson are the two young Canadian guards. The Argos really blew up their line from last year, although it probably needed to be done.

For the receivers, the noteworthy players are Arland Bruce the third iteration, and Reggie McNeal the former (?) third string QB, who looked good against the Cats last year. Not sure what happened to Talbot, but then again, I'm not an Argo fan, so I don't really care. Mac product Mike Bradwell is a backup slot. Last week I believe he had six receptions against the Cats, so hopefully he will get into the game at some point.

Jamal Robertson is the running back, with some Payton guy backing him up. Crawford is the fourth Canadian on the offense at fullback.

On defence, Flemons (who isn't bad, but not great), and Harriot are the ends. Belli is the non-import tackle, with second overall draft pick Legare his backup backup. Curry is the other tackle.

Things at linebacker in Argoland are a little weird from a Ticat perspective. Eiben, a Canadian at an outside spot is not surprising, nor is Willie Pile at the other outside spot. However Mac product Jason Pottinger starting at middle is unusual, with Moreno listed as the backup. I thought I heard something about Moreno being injured in camp, but forgot about it and haven't heard about anything since. I would say the Cats should try and exploit Pottinger by attacking the middle with a flurry of passes, however the Cats haven't been able to pass over the middle for five years so maybe some runs up the gut are in order.

Of note in the Argo secondary, at the corners Middlebrooks and Younger. The other guys, I wouldn't know them if I hit them with my car, as I believe Pat Burns once said about former mediocre Leaf Bill Berg (and I mean mediocre). Incidently, regarding Berg, during the NHL players strike, Berg's wife, who was a grad student at Mac wrote into the Silhouette with a sob story claiming they only drove some SUV (back in the days when SUVs were considerably rarer) as opposed to some expensive sports car and certainly weren't rich and shouldn't be treated with derision. Yes, she wrote into a student newspaper, whose readership consisted of a number of broke students scraping by and getting more in debt each year with student loans asking for sympathy during the players strike. Schlampe. Well she lost the puck bunny stakes by marrying Bill Berg, so she probably got what she deserved.

Anyways, I digress. It is interesting that the Argos play four Canadians on offense and three on defence compared to the Cats five and two although I wonder if this is more of a consequence of whatever is up with Moreno. The Argo defence looks OK, but not as good as the past few years, with the offense based pretty much off of how QB Kerry Joseph does. If he's throwing passes into the stands, the Argos are done.