Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cats Signing Kent Austin Thoughts

First I'm a little surprised, considering the Austin rumours were out there, but I thought it would be hard to get him to come back to the CFL. Offering the dual coach GM role was probably required to get him to come and also saves money for the Cats having to pay both positions while they are still paying former head coach George Cortez.

I'm positive towards Austin, although I don't think he is a panacea. I'm sure he also has offensive knowledge similar to Cortez although I'm sure he will hire an offensive co-ordinator. However with either Cortez or Austin next year the Cats need a defensive co-ordinator plus an upgrade in talent to be competitive next year.

Three coaches in three different years isn't a lot of continuity.

I'm sure I'll have more to say soon. After Cortez was gone, Austin was probably one of the best options. The Cats could certainly have done worse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cats Relieve George Cortez of Duties as Head Coach

Whoa. Just read on the official CFL twitter feed (@CFL) that the Cats have relieved Cortez from coach and director of football operations.

Didn't see that one coming, although considering the team finished last in the league despite decent talent, it wasn't like there was some justification. I just thought that the offense had good enough stats (Cortez' speciality) that the team would concentrate on the defence during the off-season and go from there. Maybe them going on the road in Guelph has something to do with it who knows. No idea who the next coach will be. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grey Cup 2013 Odds

Yes getting them out early for the 101st Grey Cup in Regina. This is as of now, obviously before a lot of free agent action

1. BC Lions
Sure the Lions flamed out at home in the West final to Drew Tate, but they do have arguably the best quarterback in Travis Lulay who is relatively young by CFL starter standards. They also have Canadian running back Andrew Harris who excels at both running and receiving. Lions receivers Bruce and Simon are getting pretty long in the tooth and may not be worth the money their contracts are currently at. The Lions have some decent non-import receiver talent and Buono is a good enough of a GM to find some decent imports if he releases one or both of Bruce and Simon. The defence was good too this year. Their could be some issues with NFL tryouts, but the Lions are stable enough for that to really not matter. 25% 4 to 1

2. Calgary Stampeders
Sure they flamed out in the Grey Cup, but they won two playoff games and Toronto will soon revert to the mean next season and odds are they won't be as hot at the end as 2012. We'll assume for now that Drew Tate will return next year from injury and won't become the second coming of Buck Pierce. They still have Glenn, although as the Grey Cup showed, he can be inconsistent. They have the best running back and a non-import to boot in Jon Cornish, plus a clutch first down receiver in Nik Lewis. Expect the offense to be pretty potent again next year. 16%

3. Toronto Argonauts
The Argos will still have Ricky Ray, although injury problems to him could derail Toronto at any time. The Argos defence will probably still be strong with the likes of non-import Foley and and import Flemons although we may have seen the last of the Kissing Bandit Adriano Belli. Chad Owens might revert to the mean a little bit, but he's been consistently over 3,000 yards for several years now. Durie is actually a reasonable non-import receiver and Kackert is a decent running back although injuries could cause problems next year. Will success spoil the Argos, in the form of a lot of previously unknown guys wanting to be paid more? Maybe although some might want to stay for less money. Scott Milanovich has turned out to be a very good CFL head coach. 15%

4. Montreal Alouettes
Anthony Calvillo looks to be coming back, but is even older and the increasing likelihood of him decreasing in ability is reason enough to have Montreal at four. GM Jim Popp seems to have no real problem finding import offensive talent and the Alouette offensive line will be strong and relatively Canadian, freeing up spots for imports at other positions. The defense wasn't as good as some of the Alouettes ones over the past decade, but it was reasonable considering the Alouettes have a consistent offense. If Calvillo gets injured,  Montreal will have lost its safety blanket. 14%

5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Cats certainly won't have the defence next year to be higher on the list, but it will likely improve as defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan has decamped to Winnipeg and new free agents and newcomer imports replace those that proved not up to snuff last year. The Cat offense was great, albeit inconsistent last year and Henry Burris' stats were fantastic especially for a 6 and 12 team. The Cat offense is relatively set for another good season, although whether running back Avon Cobourne returns is a question. One negative for the offense is that backup quarterback Quinton Porter may depart, robbing the Cats of some depth in case Burris goes down, although Porter barely played at all last year except for sneaks. 12%

6. Saskatchewan Rough Riders
The Riders still have some decent talent, but they still would need to get past both BC and Calgary and then beat the East team to win the Grey Cup, barring some cross-over wackiness. Darian Durant improved from a subpar 2011 in 2012, but the team most fanned down the stretch and in their playoff game. Weston Dressler is still a talent and they have home field advantage in more places than their home field, but nothing really says the Riders will be great next year. 11%

7. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
I don't have much confidence in the Bombers next year. Assuming they don't jettison Buck Pierce, they'll go as far as he go without being injured, which isn't very far. I also don't have much confidence in new defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan, but I may be biased as a Hamilton fan. The Bomber defence wasn't much in 2012 anyways, so I suppose there's a chance it could improve. 4%

8. Edmonton Eskimos
Sure they made the playoffs, which is something, but they booted Eric Tillman as GM before the playoffs started which says something. Lost the Ricky Ray trade and received magic beans/Steven Jyles in return. Have a logjam of good running backs, which is something, but not what Grey Cups are made of. Rebuilding year. 3%