Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dan LeFevour Signs With Als and Nic Grigsby Re-Signs with the Ticats

I had really expected Ticat free agent quarterback Dan LeFevour to sign with Ottawa. They have cap room and Henry Burris isn't getting any younger. But www.cfl.ca is reporting that he has signed with Montreal.

That isn't totally surprising. With the emergence of Zach Collaros as the Cats starting quarterback, LeFevour wasn't going to get a chance in camp to compete as a starter. Certainly he would have been valuable to the Cats as a backup, especially for sneaks, which he excelled at, especially compared to Masoli and to mix things up. And of course if Collaros gets injured, LeFevour is a credible backup in the CFL. The Cats do have a horde of backup quarterbacks that Kent Austin must think are up to the job. They're obviously cheaper

For Montreal, the move makes sense since starter Jonathon Crompton by no means has been statistically brilliant. LeFevour likely has a better chance to start over Crompton sometime in 2015 than Collaros. Hopefully LeFevour doesn't burn us next year too badly. Hopefully LeFevour has recovered from his season ending knee surgery from last year.

In other Ticat news, running back Nic Grigsby re-signed with the Cats. Grigsby who came late last season after playing in Winnipeg played well in relief of injured starter C.J. Gable. Grigsby played pretty well for the Cats and has decent ability receiving out of the backfield, which is a key requirement in today's CFL. I'm a little surprised the Cats could sign both to be honest, although running back salaries aren't usually that high considering how fungible they are.

Potentially the Cats could play them together occasionally in the backfield, provided a couple of Canadian receivers are in. That opens some interesting possibilities in terms of plays and defending teams having to scheme against both. Or the Cats could have one line up in an import receiver slot spot.

A good signing for the Cats, as they now have excellent depth in the backfield and an injury to one of them won't be a big deal.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Ticats Sign Running Back C.J. Gable Through 2017

The Ticats announced on their website that import running back C.J. Gable has been signed through 2017. Certainly I like Gable, but he certainly was injury prone last year. Gable only had 30 rushes in 2014 for 138 yards and two TDs. He had 18 receptions for 224 yards in 2014. Likely Gable will be fully recovered by the time training camp rolls around.

The Cats seem to be hard up against the cap this year. I'm curious how much Gable re-signed for. Decent import running backs generally aren't that hard to find (example Nic Grigsby).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wide Receiver Greg Ellingson Signs with Ottawa

In a widely predicted move (including by me), the REDBLACKS did end up signing former Hamilton import receiver Greg Ellingson. His last year's stats were mediocre, but he had a good 2013 with current REDBLACK quarterback Henry Burris. It will be interesting to see how Ellingson bounces back from 2014 and if there's still any synergy with Burris. 

Thoughts on the 2015 Ticats Schedule: Sucky

I knew with the Pan Am games that there were going to be some issues with the Ticats this year. But I didn't think it would be as bad as last year. And maybe worse.

The fact the first regular season home game isn't until August, namely on the Civic holiday is crazy. That's a tough start to the season in a league that historically has been quite biased towards the home team. There's actually four home games in August. That's not going to be an easy sell ticket-wise.

The rest of the season isn't so bad. The Cats do get two home games against the Argos, which is nice.

The pre-season home game is also quite early taking place on June 8th. More weirdly, that's a Monday. Not great.

A lot of this stems from the fact that the league is unbalanced with nine teams. Adding a tenth team to the East would make schedule making a lot better.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ticats Have Resigned Defensive End Justin Hickman

Just saw the Ticats announce that import defensive end Justin Hickman has signed again with the Cats. Hickman's stats the second half of last year weren't that great after a sojourn in the NFL, however combined with Eric Norwood as the other end and a good interior, the Cats have a excellent defensive line.

Getting pressure on the quarterback in the CFL is critical. The Cats look to have that handled next year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Sign Argo Receiver Spence Watt At The Start Of Free Agency, Probably Bye Bye to Giguere

Well it looks extremely unlikely that the Cats will resign non-import receiver Samuel Giguere with the free agent signing of Spencer Watt.

Watt had 35 catches for 356 yards in 2014 for the Argos, his fifth year with the team and in the CFL. He also had three TDs.

Will the Ticats play two Canadian starting receivers with five and six receiver sets with Watt? I think so, pairing him with fellow Canuck Andy Fantuz. That leaves space for three or four import receivers in those situations with one also being recently resigned Luke Tasker and also Brandon Banks. In four receiver sets with a fullback, Watt likely comes out for Prime.

One danger is what do the Cats do when Fantuz is injured. The Cats offense was actually decent with Giguere in for Fantuz. After Fantuz and Watt, the Cats are pretty thin at Canadian receiver (although most team's third non-import receiver is quite mediocre).

With the Cats likely playing with three Canadian offensive linemen with Dyakowski returning, that would mean the Cats would be playing five Canadian starters on offense. Considering the Ticats Canadian defensive line strength, the Ticats are well set for Canadian talent next year.

2015 CFL Season Comes Out February 20th

Announced today on the CFL.ca site. Last year the schedule came out on Feburary 12th, so the schedule is out later this year. In 2013 it was March 5th so being this late isn't unprecedented.