Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Justin Hickman Back with the Cats?

The Scratching Post is reporting that former Ticat defensive end Justin Hickman has signed with the Cats after being released by the Colts.

Considering how few sacks the Cats have had this year (although they have picked it up lately including five last week against the Riders), signing Hickman is a good thing. Hickman had 13 sacks in 2011 for the Cats in his last season of CFL ball.

Hickman is now 29 which makes one wonder if he's past his prime. There have been numerous defensive ends that have had long careers (Elfrid Payton) so I don't think that's a particular concern for this season.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Masoli and the Short Yardage Unit

In last week's debacle against the Alouettes in Montreal a couple of plays stood out, namely Jeremiah Masoli's two attempted sneaks. Both required around a half yard each and in both not much was gained (2 rushes for Masoli for a yard). Now injured Dan LeFevour has been historically an excellent short yardage quarterback, but with him injured Masoli has stepped into the backup role to Collaros and also into the short yardage backup role.

Now Masoli isn't blameless for the poor sneaks as the line didn't give much when only a half yard was required. Considering there are three Americans playing on the line that seems somewhat strange.

As Ron Lancaster used to say, if you can't get a yard, you don't deserve to win. If you can't get a half yard that's even sadder. Hopefully the linemen and Masoli have worked on their sneaks all week. The Cats could need it.

Bo Levi Mitchell Injured?

Just watching the Stamps Argos game and Bo Levi Mitchell looks like he was hurt on a run by a hit by Shea Emry. Mitchell was down for a while and then tried to get up and went down again. The Stamps have Drew Tate in.

Saskatchewan Roughriders in Hamilton Lineup Preview

The Riders are coming in after back to back victories against the Blue Bombers and without starting quarterback Darian Durant who might be out for the season. The Cats lost in Montreal against the Alouettes last week.

The offensive line stays similar to previous game with the weird for the CFL formation of three American linemen. Olson and Figueroa are the import tackles and Simmons is the import guard. I'm a little surprised this far into the season the Cats haven't tried another Canadian at guard but apparently the team's depth is so bad they can only muster up two Canadian starters for the line. I guess they're waiting for Dyakowski. Filer is the centre and O'Neill the non-import guard.

Tasker and non-import Giguere are are the wide receivers. Grant and Fantuz are the import slotbacks and Fantuz is the other. Madu is again the running back and non-import Prime is the fullback. Collaros starts with Masoli and McGee the backups at quarterback.

Medlock kicks and punts as usual. What is different is Sinkfield in as kick and punt returner after mediocre efforts from Koch and Tasker against Montreal last week. No Koch at all this week as he is on the one game injured list (which doesn't mean a lot).

With five or six receivers there probably is four Canadian starters. With a fullback and four receivers I'm not sure as it could be five with the two linemen, Prime, Fantuz and Giguere.

On defence, Scott and Norwood are the import defensive ends. Scott hasn't played much this year as he only has three tackles this year but was listed as the starter last week. Last year he had 16 and a sack. Coleman started last week but was injured during the game is now on the six game list. Norwood has had 13 tackles in 2014 and two sacks.

As has been the case pretty much all this season, Bulcke and Laurent are the two non-import defensive tackle starters. New this week is 2013 first overall pick Linden Gaydosh in as a backup defensive tackle. That's a lot of Canadian depth at defensive tackle.

The linebackers are Lawrence, Reed and Harris. Big hitting Bowman is listed as a backup.

Again Breaux and non-import Stephen are the corners. Stewart is one halfback and Rico Murray is other moving from linebacker. tacking over from Davis. Non-import Butler is the safety.

That's four Canadian starters on defence this week, which as I have noted most weeks is a lot for a CFL team.

Globe and Mail Article on Tim Horton's Stadium Construction

The Globe and Mail has a good article on what caused delays with the new Tim Horton's Field. I found this interesting:

"However, under its lease with the Ticats, the city is also responsible for paying the team $3-million in compensation for the three missed home games."

What about the losses for playing in a stadium for three (hopefully) games in only a partially finished stadium? Certainly for the Labour Day game if the stadium had been done on time the Cats would have sold out.

There's going to be a lot of fallout from the stadium situation (i.e. lawsuits). Who knows what will happen, but we'll be hearing about the stadium for years to come.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 CFL Predictions Week 12

Montreal at Edmonton
Edmonton has lost back to back games against Calgary, but the Alouettes aren't the Stamps. The Alouettes did manage to win at home last week with Crompton as their starting quarterback, but looked absolutely dreadful in the first half. Even if Reilly doesn't start for Edmonton, I would take Nicholls over Crompton especially at home.
Eskimos 41 Alouettes 25

Toronto at Calgary
One team only has one loss, is at home and the other team has no receivers (although I thought I heard something about Durie being back). So not really a hard call (East versus West this generally isn't a hard call in general).
Stampeders

Winnipeg at BC
So no more Lulay. Not that BC was any better with him last week compared to Glenn. This game is on the road for the Bombers who have lost two straight, albeit to the Riders. I'm going to go against the grain and pick the Bombers.
Bombers 29 Lions 21

Saskatchewan at Hamilton
Besides the quarterback position this week, the Riders have more talent than the Ticats (although for a two win team at this stage of the year, the Ticats' talent isn't that bad). However with no Durant, the Riders have to start some guy Tino Sunseri at pivot. The Riders now have Dressler back which would help, but not much with an inexperienced quarterback. The Cats start Collaros who has looked mostly good since returning for a concussion. The Riders have a great pass rush, but Collaros has looked relatively adept at picking up blitzes compared to most CFL quarterbacks who mostly just shit the bed whenever a blitz comes. The Cats are at home, but the difference in quarterbacks will be the game.
Tiger-Cats 24 Riders 22