Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ticats Lose Season Opener to Calgary on Last Second Field Goal

The Tiger-Cats lost a heart-breaker to Calgary in the season-opener, losing 24 to 23 on a last second 50 yard field goal from Paredes. The Cats were up 18 to 10 at the half and only ended up scoring 5 points in the second half.

Collaros had a pretty good game, going 27 for 38 for 281 yards and a pick. Bo Levi Mitchell didn't have a particularly good game going 22 for 35 for 263 yards with a TD but 3 picks including a pick six in the opening drive. The Cats seemed to be missing Luke Tasker and relied mainly on Andy Fantuz who had nine receptions for 83 yards. Sinkfield had 5 for 76 yards.

Holley the new running back didn't really do a lot, getting 24 yards on eight carries. Cornish didn't do a lot compared to what he does normally, with 13 carries for 70 yards.

The Cats defence was most impressive, with two turnovers on quarterback sneaks plus three interceptions. The Cat defence also had four sacks. Sears had a good game with two picks, and a sack. Butler also had a pick and a sack. Gainey had 11 tackles, although considering he's in the secondary, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

The Cats lost yet another season opener, however they looked good on the road against Calgary and I think most would say Calgary is probably better than any other CFL team besides the Ticats right now. The Cats have a bye week, so let's hope some of the injured players are back by then, including Tasker and Norwood.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hamilton Ticats at Calgary Stampeders Half-Time 2015 Opener

Exciting half. Pick six by Sears starting out for Hamilton on star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell which was awesome. Calgary answered with a TD, but Hamilton ended up ahead at the half, with a contribution from a Brandon Banks punt return TD (revenge for the 2014 Grey Cup).

Zach Collaros looked good with 11 of 14 passing albeit for not a lot of yards.

Sears looked great with a sack and a pick for six and the Hamilton pass rush looked good overall with three sacks despite the line being somewhat injured.

Holley started out well as the new starting running back, but then not much was seen from him until the end of the half.

Andy Fantuz looked great until he took a hard hit near the end of the fourth quarter. Hopefully he is OK.  Grant had a couple of catches, but I was expecting more considering Tasker is out.

Bo Levi Mitchell looked better in the first half than the second after the Ticats started getting after him. Cornish hasn't been very Cornish like so props to the Ticat defence.

Ticats at Stampedes Preview Week 1 CFL

I've looked at the Ticats website and no sign of the depth chart yet. Seems pretty strange as they had one for the last pre-season game. So I will have to go by some assumptions.

I'm not exactly sure which offensive tackles will start but I do know they will be Americans. Figueora I believe is on the injury list so not him. Likely in the middle will be guards Dyakoski and Bomben plus Filer as centre, all non-imports. 

Collaros will start at quarterback and a lot of how the game goes will depend on him. The problem is that Gable, Grigsby and Madu are all injured at running back and Steve Tasker is out at receiver.

The Cats do have import Bakari Grant who looked good in the pre-season and if the Cats are going to win, is going to have to have a good game. Non-import Fantuz is healthy and will also need to have a good game. I'm assuming that Brandon Banks will play some five and six receiver sets. The new import Tolliver will likely start as a receiver and hopefully he pans out as the new 2015 receiver find for the Ticats. The non-import Coates could possibly also see a little bit of time.

The new running back Holley at least had some time in the last pre-season game taking over from the injured running backs. How he does receiving will be important for the offense. Prime is likely the non-import running back. Medlock obviously kicks and punts and it will be interesting what the Cats do on the new points after rule.

On defence, the line will be Justin Hickman as an end, Henry as a tackle and non-import Laurent as another tackle. If Norwood hadn't injured himself in a household accident he would have started (he had 13 sacks in 2014) and I'm not sure who replaces him.

Linebackers are I'm guessing Harris and Reed although without the depth chart I'm not sure exactly who the third is. Rico Murray is unfortunately injured.

In the secondary, Brandon Stewart is likely one of the starting corners with Gainey or Sears as one of the others. Butler a non-import starts at safety.

Calgary obviously has Bo Levi Mitchell and Jon Cornish and the defence will at least have to slow them down. I can see the Cats minimizing production from Cornish but then getting torched from the air. This game could be a shootout although I'm not sure that is recipe for the Cats winning.

Apparently the Cats haven't won their home opener for ten years, which is kind of depressing. Hopefully Collaros comes up with a monster game.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

2015 CFL Picks Week 1

Well the regular season is already starting. Here we go.

Ottawa at Montreal
I didn't think Alouette quarterback Jonathon Crompton looked good in the pre-season and I didn't think that he was really as great as some said last year. I felt his stats weren't fantastic and Montreal's defence was really good. I wonder if Dan LeFevour will eventually take over as starter from Crompton. Still Montreal is a fairly talented team, especially on offense and GM Jim Popp is usually good at finding import talent (although Michael Sam didn't work out great).

Ottawa has loaded up on receivers, but are still going with the rather ancient by CFL standards Henry Burris at quarterback. Ottawa to me still doesn't have a lot of depth and as a ways to go, although they should be better than last year. Probably not good enough to beat Montreal at home however.
Alouettes 22 REDBLACKS 16 

Hamilton at Calgary
Despite all Hamilton's injuries I still like the club, but they are missing some key parts like DE Eric Norwood and receiver Luke Tasker. They are in Calgary though and Calgary is still the class of the CFL, with most of their team from the Grey Cup winning squad last year around, plus they have Bo Levi Mitchell. The homer in me would like to take Hamilton, but they have historically played Calgary poorly in Calgary. Collaros could have a great game, but that's a lot to depend on.
Stampeders 29 Hamilton 23

Edmonton at Toronto
Technically this is a home game for Toronto but it is being played in Fort McMurray. That's obviously not that far from Edmonton which probably means a pro-Eskimos crowd. And Ricky Ray is still hurt from last year, meaning Toronto has to depend on quarterback Trevor Harris. The Argos have been bought by Bell and Larry Tanenbaum, but they are still probably suffering somewhat from the Braley era of cheap spending in terms of talent beyond Ray. Although they still have Chad Owens

Edmonton is a good team, but the wheels kind of fell off the bus at the end of the season with quarterback Mike Reilly being injured. I'm assuming Reilly is staying healthy to start the season (I'm not sure how long that will last) and thus the Eskimos should be good. And better than the Argos.
Eskimos 23 Argonauts 18

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
I'm not sure exactly how good the Riders will be this year. Last year with Darian Durant in, they were good, without him they were terrible. This year they have Kevin Glenn in as a backup in case Durant goes down again which is something. The Bombers have Drew Willy, who isn't terrible although I'm not sure he's great either. I have to think for this game that home field advantage has to be the deciding factor. Plus the fact that Winnipeg didn't look very good at all in their last pre-season game versus Hamilton.
Riders 24 Bombers 20

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hamilton Ticat Defensive End Eric Norwood Put on Six Game Injury List Due to Household Accident

In a bit of a bizarre story, Eric Norwood was put on the six game injury list due to cutting himself at home. That's a bit of a blow to the Ticats considering their injuries already on the defensive line (Bulcke and Gaydosh). They have defensive end Justin Hickman, tackles Bryan Henry and Ted Laurent who are solid and combined with Norwood that would have a been a good starting front four despite the other injuries. Norwood had 13 sacks last year (and that wasn't in 18 games either) and one would assume that whoever replaces him won't have that production. Hopefully Hickman can produce from the other end spot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 CFL Post Pre-Season Power Rankings

1. Calgary Stampeders
Wins both pre-season games, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is looking good and they have Jon Cornish. The Stampeders didn't lose that many players in the off-season after winning the Grey Cup. Pretty much every other team in the CFL looks mediocre and with a lot of questions compared to Calgary.

2. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton does have a lot of injury problems, with Spencer Watt and Linden Gaydosh gone in dual off-season Achilles Heel injuries. Gable and Grigsby are banged up at running back. Eric Norwood is injured as apparently is Luke Tasker. However the Cats do have Zac Collaros apparently healthy at quarterback and still have Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz and Brandon Banks at receiver. The defensive line still has Justin Hickman, Ted Laurent and Brian Hall which is impressive, plus a good linebacking corps. Justin Medlock is a great kicker and an OK punter. Even more injuries to Canadians will definitely hurt the Cats, but for now they should be able to put together a good lineup.

3. Edmonton Eskimos
One could argue that the Eskimos should be ranked higher than the Ticats, but they will basically go as far as quarterback Mike Reilly will take them. The question is how long will Reilly stay healthy as he takes a beating when he plays. The Esks do have a great defensive end in Odell Willis that just makes the defence that much better overall. Nate Coehoorn is a non-import receiver that could be in for an excellent season, plus Adarius Bowman is a good slotback.

4. Saskatchewan Roughriders
With Darian Durant in at quarterback last year the Riders were great, without him they sucked. Durant's injury was somewhat curious so exactly how healthy he is this year is a good question. The Riders have a good roster besides the quarterback position, although they lost a few pieces like Ricky Foley. As long as Durant is healthy, the strong Rider running game can work and combined with their defence they are one of the better teams in the CFL.

5. BC Lions
Is quarterback Travis Lulay healthy. Can he stay healthy or will his shoulder spontaneously put out on an innocuous play in the season opener. I'm leaning towards spontaneously popping out in the first game. Wally Buono generally puts together a good roster (and generally doesn't have much sentimentality (see Paul Mccallum)), so the team won't be totally bad, but the team desperately needs a backup quarterback who is capable of succeeding Lulay. The combination of linebackers Bighill and Elmimian is one of the best in the CFL so the defence should be OK. Non-import running back Andrew Harris playing well is important.

6. Toronto Argonauts
This seems to be the beginning of the end of the Ricky Ray era in Argoland. He's on the six game list, so he can't really count towards this week's power rankings. The Trevor Harris era is beginning at quarterback and at least he looked good against the Alouettes in pre-season. Can Chad Owens stay healthy and make a connection with Harris? The rest of the Argo roster has suffered somewhat under David Braley's lame duck leadership, however GM Jim Barker has been a master at putting together decent teams despite this. The Argos might be better at the end of the season, but before week one they are not great.

7. Montreal Alouettes
Quarterback Jonathon Crompton didn't look good at all in the Als last pre-season game against Toronto. Former Hamilton backup Dan LeFevour looked considerably better, although I don't think the Alouettes have the stones to have him be the starter for the opening game. Personally I never thought Crompton's stats were all that great anyways; Montreal's late season success in 2014 was more about defence than anything Crompton did. Crompton also doesn't have Duron Carter to help him out anymore, although the Als still have SJ Green. One does wonder if signing Michael Sam was a good idea as the hoopla seemed to overshadow the team.

8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Bombers didn't look good in their last pre-season game against Hamilton. Drew Willy didn't do much when he was at the controls and if he isn't successful, the Bombers will be terrible.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKs
The REDBLACKs looked awful in the first pre-season game in Hamilton and one has to wonder if after winning two games in 2014 if they will be awful again in 2015. The REDBLACKs did sign a bunch of receivers, however if they don't have any quarterbacking, that isn't going to matter. I watched the first pre-season game in person and Ottawa struck me as not having a lot of depth compared to Hamilton. Ottawa may well win three more games than last year but that would still be a five win season. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bakari Grant Success in 2015 Pre-Season A Sign of Regular Season Success

Receiver Bakari Grant, who the Ticats basically grudgingly resigned in 2015, has gone and had a great pre-season for Hamilton in 2015.

Grant had four catches for 73 yards in the first pre-season game against Ottawa and followed that up with five catches for 87 yards and a TD in the second pre-season game in Winnipeg. That's far more yards than any other Hamilton receiver in the pre-season. Of course not every receiver played in both games (Tasker didn't catch a single pass in the pre-season and Andy Fantuz only played in the second pre-season game).

With Luke Tasker possibly injured for the season opener in Calgary on Friday, Grant would end up as the top import receiver for the Cats. Grant had 58 catches for 58 catches for 605 yards and three TDs in 2014 and will be looking to exceed that in 2015.

One other player that had success in both pre-season games was former Hamilton Hurricane Matt Coates who had 2 catches for 43 yards a touchdown in the first pre-season game and 2 catches for 20 yards in the second game. Coates is in his second year with the Cats and likely will be Fantuz' backup and probably won't see the field a lot unless Fantuz is injured or the Cats suffer some severe ratio problems elsewhere. However Fantuz has been injured a lot in the past few seasons, so Coates will likely start a few games in 2015.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hamilton Tiger-Cats versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2015 Pre-Season Half-Time

Ticats up  20 to 7.

Zach Collaros looked good and the Cats scored a lot of points in the first half. Collaros also got out uninjured giving way to Masoli. Bakari Grant had a great half after playing well in the first pre-season game too. Andy Fantuz also had some catches and some drops. Masoli was OK somewhat surprisingly.

Ray Holley had some good numbers at running back. 

The defence seemed to play well too.

Coach Sal, John Salavantis Doing Colour for CKOC Hamilton Tiger-Cat Broadcasts in 2015

Nice to see coach Sal doing colour for the new CKOC Hamilton Tiger-Cat broadcasts. Not so sure about the new play by play guy Andy McNamara, but it is his second game.

Somewhat sad for CHML to no longer have the broadcasts after all they've put into the team over the years. Although it is a Corus station so I can't feel that bad for them.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Luke Tasker on Suspended List? Out For Game One?

Former Mac quarterback Marshal Ferguson is reporting on his Twitter feed that Ticat receiver Luke Tasker has been put on the suspended list. In pre-season this is often a scam for veteran players who are somewhat injured to not count against the roster when pre-season cuts are required.

So Tasker at least isn't on the six game list, but who knows if he will be healthy for game one.

Should LeFevour Start Over Crompton In Week One For Montreal?

After watching some of the Alouettes Argos pre-season game at Laval, former Ticat backup Dan LeFevour is outplaying Jonathon Crompton. Tigercatatonia always thought Crompton was overrated, and always liked LeFevour (partially for the fever jokes, partially due to his running abilities). I'm not sure Montreal has the guts to start LeFevour in week one, but if Crompton isn't doing well, he may well be on a short leash.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2015 Second Pre-Season Game Lineup

The lineup for the game against Winnipeg is out (nothing televised or streamed unfortunately) so I thought I would look at it for anything interesting.

At the offensive tackles, two imports Olson and Lewis, who I don't think will be starting come the first game, but with all the injuries, who knows.

For the interior of the o-line, three Canadians, unlike last year. Dyakowski at guard, Filer at centre and the pickup in a trade from Montreal Bomben at the other guard spot. That may well be who starts the first regular season game.

Starting wide receivers are the import Underwood (who?) and second year Canadian Matt Coates (formerly a Hamilton Hurricane). Coates had a few passes caught last game including a TD I believe. Could this be foreshadowing of Coates being a second Canadian starter behind Fantuz as a receiver? In any event the Cats need a Canadian receiver to back up Fantuz.

Three slotbacks are listed as starting, imports Smith and Bakari Grant (who had a dominating game against some wanker REDBLACK defenders last week) and the aforementioned non-import Andy Fantuz.

Prime is the starting fullback, with Holley and Ford as the running backs due to injuries to Gable and Grigsby. Tigercatatonia has always been of the opinion that import running backs are kind of fungible so I'm not that concerned although I do like Gable and Grigsby especially receiving. Gable does seem to get injured a lot.

Collaros starts at quarterback with Masoli and Harris as the backups.

On defence the ends are non-import Gascon-Nadon and Eric Norwood who had a lot of sacks last year. In the middle starting are two imports, Daniels and Nevis, after Bulcke and Gaydosh are gone for the season (so much for defensive tackle non-import depth).

Imports Caldwell and Harris are the outside linebackers with former Laval player Plesius in the middle.

Corners are import Gainey and non-import Stephen, with Posey and Davis as the half-backs with non-import Daly starting at safety.

I'm not sure how well the Cats will play tomorrow. Collaros is in, as is Fantuz but no Tasker. Bakari Grant might have a good game though.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pic of Tim Horton's Field Just Before Halftirne

Ottawa at Hamilton Pre-Season Halftime Thoughts

A bit rainy. Ticats looked good, Ottawa not so much. 

Matthews from Cornell looked good as quarterback and would seem to be a favourite for the backup role to Collaros. 

Ballard Grant was by far the best receiver including a nice TD. 

Canadian and former Hamilton Hurricane Matt Coates also had a good TD and that might put him behind Andy Fantuz as the second best Canadia receiver

Nic Grigsby was decent running the ball.

Defence had several turnovers.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Saskatchewan Roughriders Annual Report Out of 2014; Total Revenue $42.4 Million

The Saskatchewan Roughriders annual report for 2014 is out and includes a lot of interesting info. The Leader Post has an article with the pertinent details.

Of note, total revenues were $42.4 million for fiscal 2014-2015 down from $43.8 million the previous year, however that included a Grey Cup. Considering the Grey Cup is probably worth more than $1.4 million dollars one would have to think 2014-2015 is a better year than 2013-2014. Considering that the salary cap for last year was only $5 million, a lot of money was spent on non-salary expenses.

Profit was $2.2 million, although considering the Riders are a non-profit, they are going to basically spend what they have. The Ticats supposedly will be profitable in 2015-2016 although no doubt on much lower revenues.

Ticats Acknowledge Canada England Soccer Friendly Had Terrible Concessions

I previously blogged about how bad the concessions were at the women's soccer game last Friday. Today there's a Spec article about how bad they were. Ticats president Scott Mitchell blames "poor planning and lack of infrastructure."

The Spec article notes "Employees had only been trained a few days before the game, he said.
Many cash registers were also closed during the game."

I didn't see any close cash registers at the stand I went to, but it was certainly slow. Their seemed to be enough staff, however they didn't seem to work well together. Hopefully the pre-season game next week goes more smoothly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

No TSN Broadcast CFL Game for the Ticats in 2015

Tigercatatonia has always been enthused about broadcasting pre-season games. TSN already owns the rights, the question is whether the production costs are worth the ratings the game would get (or at least the ratings increase over what they would get with filler).

In previous years, TSN has broadcast varying numbers of games. For 2015, they are only broadcasting three games. The games shown are BC at Calgary, Saskatchewan at Edmonton, and Toronto at Montreal. So no games for the Tiger-Cats, nor Ottawa or Winnipeg.

In some ways I'm surprised that TSN doesn't broadcast both Saskatchewan games, considering how rabid their fans are and their relatively high disposable incomes. I'm sure the Saskatchewan game will be show on cable or something there and probably won't get a bad number.

For the Cats, at least the games will be broadcast on Cable 14 (I'm assuming).

I can understand in some ways TSN only doing three games. With three games they do get to practice for the regular season broadcasts and iron out the kinks. Plus there is only so much interest per team in pre-season. I'm sure Michael Sam will be a big deal for the Toronto Montreal game.