Monday, February 22, 2010

DeAngelis Signs With Cats

Calgary free agent kicker Sandro DeAngelis has just signed with the Cats. Last year he had an accuracy rating of 85.7% which was significantly higher than the 76% of the now released Nick Setta. DeAngelis' longest last year was only 48 yards however.

What the Cats are going to do for punting now is an open question. Seems unlikely they would go with an import punter like potentially Jeremy Ito, who played briefly for the Cats last year. Not sure who non-imports are available (Stala? haha).

A good pickup for the Cats, provided it was at a reasonable price and the punter situation is dealt with effectively.

Afterthought, Argos Release Moreno Too

In my last post on the Argos releasing Kerry Joseph and Cody Pickett, I forgot they also released former Cat, middle linebacker Zeke Moreno. Moreno topped the Argos with 95 defensive tackles last year, but you kind of expect that from your middle linebacker. Moreno also had two sacks and two interceptions. Probably a lack of speed and consequent inability to provide any contribution to pass coverage doomed Moreno. Probably also the end of Moreno's career.

Argos Release Pickett and Joseph

So the new Argo regime has released quarterbacks Cody Pickett and Kerry Joseph. Probably the right move going forward, although who ends up being the starter on opening day seems somewhat unclear. Joseph was never really that great a quarterback at the best of times and with age catching up with him, can't depend on his running to get him out of trouble. How many times did Joseph attempt a pass towards the sideline and have it vector off to an empty patch of turf the past two years? Plus salary cap concerns make Joseph even more unattractive. Why pay starter dollars to someone with mediocre skills? Mediocre pay for mediocre skills a team can live with. Pickett never really showed anything. Both had the misfortune of playing behind an Argonaut offensive line that was terrible last year, despite the addition of import tackle Rob Murphy.

Trying to find a new starter internally can be difficult. Consider the Ticats, now going with Kevin Glenn, thus far failing again to develop a starting quarterback from within the organization (although what eventually happens with Porter in the next couple of years could change this).

Friday, February 19, 2010

West Harbour for Pan Am Stadium

Hamilton city council has voted 10 to 5 for the West Harbour site for the new stadium. Apparently there is still some concerns over parking, however if a pedestrian bridge were to be built over the railway tracks to Harbourfront, that would open up a bunch of more spots just a stone's throw from the stadium. Anyways good news, no airport stadium (hopefully).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Argos and Calgary Trade Receivers

Curious trade with the Argos swapping PK Sam for Jermaine Copeland of the Stampeders. Sam had a decent 2008 as I recall, with a lot of his time in 2009 spent on his NFL tryout. Sam was decent at the end of the year with a dreadfully sucky Argo offense so he obviously has some skills. But compared to Copeland? Obviously Sam must make less which is probably the main reason for the deal. The Argos with Braley as owner are not doing too badly, signing former Cat guard Gagne-Marcoux as a free agent to bolster a terrible line, that was outright atriocious at the end of the year because of injuries. The Argos are still a question mark, but will probably be at least three games better than their three and fifteen record last year.

West Harbour Site

The Spec has a couple more articles about the plans for the West Harbour Site for the Pan Am stadium. One issue seems to be just how much the Cats will contribute. Another issue seems to be should the cost of the remediation of the Rheem site be considered as part of the cost of the stadium? Currently the city owns the brownfield, and obviously the site needs to be cleaned at some point. Without the stadium it could easily be more than ten years before anything is done with the site and consequently the surrounding area will remain undeveloped (and with lower property values and thus less tax revenue for the city).

Hopefully the city will see the benefit from getting this site remediated and go after additional federal and provincial funds for brownfields to cover this cost. Looks like Bratina and Merulla might vote against, with the mayor onside. We will know soon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cats and Esks Trade

A bit of a surprising trade between the Ticats and the Eskimos, wide receiver Maurice Mann for defensive back Chris Thompson, both imports. Thompson started last year for a reasonable Ticat secondary, while Mann caught 73 passes for 917 yards. I'm probably more surprised Edmonton got rid of Mann, however the Cats now have a bit of a logjam at import receiver with Bruce, McDaniel and Rodriguez. A sign perhaps that Rodriguez who had a poor sophomore season is on his way out?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bratina Comes Out Against West Harbour Site For Pan Am Stadium

Bob Bratina, Ward 2 councilor for Hamilton has come out in opposition to the west harbour site (the old Rheem plant) for the Pan Am and Ticat stadium. This seems problematic (at least if you are in favour of the Rheem site) although Bratina is only a single vote on council. The other possible site the city has been considering is an airport site (Confederation Park was dumped much earlier) on the Mountain. This has shades of Orchard Park, the current location of the Buffalo Bills stadium, which considering the state of Buffalo's downtown seems to be an example of bad 70's stadium locating.

I'll do another post on this later in the week, however with the province (and to a lesser extent the feds) providing a large amount of the funding and calling the shots, it seems unlikely that the opposition of one single ward councilor will result in the Mountain site prevailing. Stranger things have happened though, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ticats Stuff

Drew Edwards had a good article about Obie's future moves. Probably the most interesting part of the article for me was the possibility that the Cats would start eight Canadians rather than the mandated seven. Whenever I've done posted about the Ticats game day depth chart, they have always used only seven, while a few teams would use eight or sometimes nine regularly (Montreal). Starting the bare seven always is generally indicative of a poor team (Argos), which the Cats until this year were for quite some time. Last year the Canadian starters were the four on the line, plus Stala and Bauman plus Beveridge on defence. I'm curious to see who the Cats end up going with for eight.

The Argos in the new Braley era have started to make some moves, shipping Canadian receivers Andre Talbot and Brad Smith for import defensive tackle Eric Taylor and a 2011 draft pick. Talbot I can see, because he was injured and caught one pass last year, so now the Argos won't have him to not play for them this year. Smith turned out to be not too bad on a rather feeble offense. Not sure why the Argos moved two Canadian receivers when injuries hit them hard there last year, but I'm sure there is some washed out former first round NFL draft pick receivers available this year, just like the Argos every year.

Tying these two paragraphs together, if the Cats are looking at maybe starting an eighth Canadian, that must mean the teams are assuming that the number of Canadian starters will stay at seven with a new agreement with the players. Conceivably Cynammon and the other Argo owner whose name I now and will probably forever more forget were probably the main proponents of the reduction in the number of Canadian starters and with them gone and their vote taken by Braley may mean it is a dead issue. I hope so.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

CFL Schedule, Non-Ticat Teams East

I already analyzed the Ticats schedule in a previous post so I'll go over the East teams in this post.

Montreal starts with three road games due to McGill stadium renovation. Montreal was a decent road team last year (6 and 3) so this may not matter. Some Thursday home games in the summer. Since sellouts are guaranteed for the Alouettes this helps the league since TSN seems to want some Thursday games in the summer and it is probably a negative for most other teams (the Cats for sure). Montreal gets a Thanksgiving Day game at home, which doesn't really make sense from an attendance optimization across the league standpoint (assuming a Thanksgiving Monday game would raise attendance), but probably helps for a big combined TSN/RDS television audience. Almost all Sunday home games after Labour Day, which probably matters less for the Quebec television audience competing against NFL games.

Toronto begins with their first home game on a Wednesday. Weird and maybe Jay related. Two Fridays and a Saturday the rest of the summer. I have no idea what days and times are best for the Argos, although I'm sure Wednesday is not one of them. Some Sundays after Labour Day, including their late September game against Edmonton at Moncton, which is the only noon start of the season. Good choice of opponent from a drawing standpoint, and probably a reasonable date. Plus the fans in Moncton seem enthusiastic and hopefully will bump the television ratings, although the Argos may well be horrible and out of it by that point. The one issue I do take with the Argos home schedule is the fact their home game in early October is one week after the Riders play the Ticats at Ivor Wynne. That seems particularly moronic, as the Riders are a huge draw for both teams. Putting these games consecutively wastes a lot of potential tickets sold to Rider fans in the Golden Horseshoe who may not want to go to consecutive games, but might go to both if one was in the summer and the other was in the fall (especially if the fall game meant something like the game near the end of the season in Hamilton last year).

For Winnipeg nothing really jumps out at me. We'll see how many fans show up for their home opener against Hamilton, but canning Mike Kelly over the offseason has to help. Week 2 at home against the Argos gives them a shot at an early victory if they lose in week 1. Not sure how all the Hamilton games in the first half of the season will help either team attendance wise. Certainly moving one of those games into the second half of the year would have made sense. Winnipeg at least gets a Thanksgiving Monday game against BC and the Banjo Bowl against the Riders in September should be successful attendance wise.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Argos Sale

Perry Lefko has a good article explaining what's going on with the Argos sale and why someone could actually want to pay some money for it. Boiled down, the 2012 Grey Cup in Toronto will be worth some decent cash to the future Argo owner. I think most would agree that just getting it sold to Braley as soon as possible would be best for the CFL.

Interesting fact also mentioned in Lefko's article is the league gets from 3 to 3.5 million per year from the host Grey Cup team. Makes one wonder how much money the league office runs on and just how efficient an operation it is.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rider Baggs Signs with Arizona Cardinals

The exodus of CFL defensive ends continues with Stevie Baggs signing a one year deal with the Cardinals. Baggs had 12 sacks last year, tied with probably gone Ricky Foley. It is interesting, with Rider John Chick also signing with an NFL team this offseason in how defensive ends seem to more likely than other positions to go south. Since most of them, if they stay are destined as situational pass rushers in the NFL, probably the fact that the CFL is almost an every passing down league that breeds this type of specialist. Conversely, you never hear of run stoppers in the middle of the defensive line going south. The anonymous Cat line is looking better and better next year and perhaps we'll end up with the sack leader this year (McIntrye?). Maybe that's the new secret in the CFL, good import players that aren't quite good enough to warrant a sniff in the NFL. Or maybe forcing desparate imports to sign two or three years plus an option contracts.

The Riders also suffer, as their offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice is the new coach in the Peg, after an endlessly seeming search. Hamilton defensive coordinator Greg Marshall is yet again the bridesmaid, but the Argo job is still open. Speaking of the Argos, apparently no one wanted to pay 12 to 15 million for them. What would that make the Riders worth? Maybe I'll do a post guessing at what the clubs are worth in a real half assed manner, with almost no research.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Various CFL Stuff, Surly Edition

Here's an article on Elfrid Payton and Tracy Ham ex Baltimore Stallions (Omar Coming!) being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the Baltimore Sun.

Looks pretty likely now that BC Lion Rickey Foley will be gone from the CFL in 2010. Still no sniffs for the Ticats ends this offseason.

Argo kicker looking to jump ship. No NFL sniffs for Setta either.

Local columnist excited about Moncton game at small city paper. Wait until they get a team and have back to back 3 and 15 seasons. How excited will they be then?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Members of the CFL Hall of Fame

Five new members. Geezer Bomber punter Bob Cameron (although he is a local boy), rush crazy quarterback Tracy Ham of various teams, Rider receiver Don Narcisse, sackmaster Elfrid Payton who I will remember primarily as an Alouette and a former president of Football Canada, Joe Pistilli. Didn't notice if they announced whether the Hall of Fame game would be back in Hamilton this year or somewhere else like last year. Judging by the players Montreal might not be a bad location and be guaranteed a sellout, and I'm sure the Riders would do a decent job with Narcisse in there. No real Cat content again this year, but then again the 90's and the past decade were not a good Cat era.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cats Schedule

We already knew the Cats open in Winnipeg. The home opener the next week is Calgary on Saturday afternoon. Calgary was a pretty crappy draw last year (19448) in a game after Labour Day so it makes sense for the Stamps to be the opponent as the opener is its own draw. If Hamilton can win the week before in the Peg hopefully it will be a decent crowd. I personally will probably try and pick up a few extra tickets for that game and try and get some people out early.

The following week it is Winnipeg at home on a Friday. Do not like back to back home games. Bad for attendance, but maybe the Cats can grab two early from the Bombers. Not sure if Friday night games or weekend day games do better in the summer attendance wise. That's followed by Montreal and then Saskatchewan on the road, probably both tough games and then Winnipeg at home again. Probably no so great for attendance with two Peg games so close together. The Cats then go to Winnipeg. That's a lot of the Peg in the first half. Sadly Mike Kelly is not around for our amusement in 2010.

Next it is Hamilton at Toronto, bye week and then the Labour Day game. I suppose maybe the Argos didn't want the Cats on the following Friday after Labour Day like last year as the Cats only drew 26,421 fans, but are instead travelling to BC. Hopefully the game in Toronto can attract some Cat fans, especially with the bye week following immediately after.

Hamilton then hosts the Alouettes. No doubt the Cats would prefer a road game in between for drawing purposes, but if the Cats are doing well and the Alouettes presumably, it could be a grudge match that draws. If the Cats are really lucky, maybe an aged Anthony Calvillo is out. One can only hope.

This is followed by Hamilton in BC at their crappy temporary stadium and then probably the second biggest draw after Labour Day, the Riders on a Saturday night. An afternoon game would probably be better for the maximum amount of Saskatchewan fans, but should be good for a second half of the season game. We'll see if the Cats can draw a non-Labour Day crowd over 25K.

Hamilton then has a back to back with Edmonton, with the first game being in the city of dirty oil. Probably a crappy draw. That is followed by Hamilton in Toronto, which might not be a bad game to go to. Hamilton then hosts Montreal for hopefully a meaningful late season game.

The season ends with Hamilton in Calgary, with Hamilton inexplicably hosting the Lions at home. Likely not a great draw, especially compared the home closer last year with the Riders.

For the preseason games, Hamilton is on the road the first week against the Double Blue, followed by Winnipeg at home. Good for the totally crazed Cat fans if they want to see both preseason games.

Not a terrible schedule for the Cats both draw wise and standings wise, although I would argue that probably the Cats would like it most from the competitive aspect, especially the first couple of games against Winnipeg. In terms of attendance, there is some good and some bad, the bad being the back to back home games and BC at the end. Hopefully the Cats sell more season tickets this year bumping up their attendance and end up with a better record.

I'll make another post later, commenting on the games not involving the Ticats. There's one in particular that seems flatout moronic.