Fans don’t like it but re-signing Cassius Vaughn makes sense for Ticats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats re-signed defensive back Cassius Vaughn on Monday, a move that didn’t impress the Black and Gold faithful, to say the least.

That’s quite a bit of vitriol for a guy who started just nine games last season after being signed in mid-August. The stats are fine: 26 defensive tackles, one special teams tackle and five pass knock downs, 130 yards on five kickoff returns.

But there’s little question Vaughn struggled, getting beat on multiple occasions. He started his first game at the boundary corner on Labour Day, just a couple of weeks after being signed, but ended the season on the practice roster after losing his starting job to Cleshawn Page in the East Semi-Final. Players on the PR automatically become free agents after the season, which is why the Ticats had to re-sign Vaughn in the first place (CFL entry-level deals are two years so Vaughn would have had been entering his option year this season had he not been released.)

Clearly, the Ticats see potential. Vaughn had been on their neg list for some time and he’s played almost 70 NFL games over six season, including 23 starts. He’s got size (listed at 5-foot-11) and he can run (he’s also got a kickoff return TD in the NFL.)

So what happened last year? Well, Vaughn was thrown into one of the toughest spots in the secondary after six CFL practices and he had zero experience playing the Canadian game before that. That’s not a lot of time to learn the defence, adjust to the size of the field, scout receivers and quarterbacks…I remember speaking to him after a particularly tough game and he talked about his struggles with spatial awareness in the end zone: the sideline – a DBs best friend when defending routes like the fade – wasn’t where he thought it would be. I’ve talked to countless players over the years who have struggled with the differences in geometry as they go from the NFL-sized field to the vast acreage of the CFL. Things that have been hardwired into their brains after years of playing the game down south need to be unlearned and re-programmed. It takes time. It’s one of the reasons outgoing defensive coordinator Orlondo Steinauer preferred veterans. It’s why new American quarterbacks struggle.

I also think that Vaughn may have underestimated the quality of the CFL game. Defensive backs are, by nature, a supremely confident group – they need to be – and I sensed that Vaughn felt his NFL pedigree would give him an advantage. Some guys struggle mentally with the transition from The League to life in the CFL, the realization that this isn’t exactly what they dreamed of. Again, some guys get past that and thrive, others don’t.

With nine games under his belt and with the benefit of a full training camp, Vaughn may make those physical and mental adjustments. It appears the Ticats are, at the very least, willing to give him the chance.


The Ticats also signed two other international defensive backs Keon Lyn and Axel Ofori Jr. Lyn, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, has spent time with four NFL teams but didn’t appear in a regular season game and was at the Bombers mini-camp in 2015. He played his college football at Syracuse and played in the Arena League last year. Ofori played 32 games at the University of Maine but appears to have been hampered by injury his senior season. He’s got decent measureables (4.53 in the 40, 37 inch vertical) and the Ticats are likely hoping that athleticism translates well to the CFL.


Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1311 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

43 Comments on Fans don’t like it but re-signing Cassius Vaughn makes sense for Ticats

  1. Lindsay Wilcox // January 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm //

    I’ll trust Steinauer and KA; they know a heck of a lot more than I do, and they must have seen something, otherwise he would have been cut last year or NOT re-signed this year.

    • Terry Baxter // January 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm //

      Well, Steinauer is gone. Left in December for Fresno state. This signing is same old same old. Guy can cover nor tackle. We have no DC my guess is that Kent is having trouble finding a guy who will work for him. Might be a good idea to get a DC then sign players who will fit the DC’s system. Just sayin….

    • Lindsay, I agree, but whatever they saw in him, it was pretty well hidden. I’m looking forward to being proven completely wrong but goodness, they certainly look lost out there last year.

  2. I thought that at times Vaughn appeared to be adapting to the CFL game. He was thrown into a tough spot but given time in training camp might be able to show that he belongs on the team. Should he not progress during training camp, or should others outshine him, (like the other 2 just signed) he won’t make the final roster.

    • Terry Baxter // January 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm //

      If he proves you right TFMCB, this will prove to be a sneaky good move. Alas….we have seen all that Vaughn has to offer. Hmmmmm wonder if drew was tempted to call this a sneaky good move but settled on ‘makes sense’ lmao

      • Terry your a douche let it go man is that the only line you can come up with! We get it you didn’t like the headline move the f on idiot. Why do you continue to post on here not once have you made a positive remark! Lindsay made a point that Coach O and Austin were obviously involved in bringing him here in the first place we all know that Steinauer is gone and where he went. Man your name must come up when you look up troll. Get a life.

        • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:51 pm //

          Lol. Yet another comment on my post from someone with single digit eye Q. Hey got your season tickets yet?

        • I agree…Terry was way out of line…he should have said “sneaky bad move”!

  3. Pussycats // January 17, 2017 at 2:39 pm //

    Glad to see the Cats have their priority signings in order (Not!!!) and that our new DC ‘Many-Hats’ Austin is making another bold move in resigning ‘can’t cover my 95 yr old mother’ Cassius Vaughn. I’m sure the phone is ringing off the wall at the Cats season ticket sales office! Goodness gracious, can it get any worse????

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 11:13 am //

      Very astute comment Pussycats. Wrt to the phone ringing off the hook at cats ticket office…..I’m sure that the silence is deafening. Hasn’t rang for a long long long time. Cats will be lucky to attract last years average of 14,000 fans this season.

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm //

      Lmao. Just went to They are having a fire sale on season tickets. Think I will wait and get mine when they are included at Tim Horton’s widen I buy a breakfast combo. You know, buy a breakfast combo and get two season tickets thrown in. Or maybe it will be that I have to buy a pizza/wing combo. Will have to await and see, Shouldn’t be too long a wait.

  4. I did not realize the sky is falling already for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.Poor Kent nobody loves him according to some very astute fans. Perhaps the Ticats should listen to these experts like trading Collaros,firing the entire offensive and defensive lines,the secondary,Banks and of course the entire training staff. That should fix things real good and it’s only January!

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 11:09 am //

      Agree 100% with you TicatTO. But you left out firing Kent too. I’m sure that was just an oversight. And speaking of Banks….I am in ecstasy when I think he might not return. He had so many highs last season, I’m sure he will never come down. I’m afraid the Bank’s career is up in smoke and he is all done. Punt/kick returners have a limited shelf life and Banks has seen all the highs(natural), that he is going to see wrt to football. Other types of highs….not so much lol. And I am also glad that you now now that indeed the sky is falling wrt to this organization. Need an entire regime change from Phone E Young on down

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm //

      And wrt to Banks, that outstanding team mate, let’s hope he doesn’t allow his obligations to slip to the point where family court has to suspend his passport this off season. And please Banks, leave the drugs alone. He was such a great team mate that he missed training camp due to well, we all know why his passport was suspended, then, shows up here high, then this excellent teammate gets his butt suspended during the playoff push very important games, cuz he thought it a good idea to get high. Yup, just the kinda guy I would like on my team and for my grandchildren to look up.

      • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:14 pm //

        And oh….yes this is sarcasm. This guy banks should have been cut the second he failed the drug test. Irresponsible and selfish into the bargain.

        • Terry … on Banks you personify the wisdom: those that know don’t judge and those that judge don’t know.

          Banks racked up 1245 yards in kickoff returns 249 yards in missed field goal returns – 2 for TD’s. He is still a kid and would be the first to tell you that he has some growing up to do. Ask any of his team mates whether they want him on their team. He is 5’7″ and weights 157 lbs … and runs full speed at guys weighing 150 lbs more. Guts!

          The only guy that I would like to see returning a kickoff into the face of a dozen 300 lb guys … is you.

          • Terry Baxter // January 21, 2017 at 10:58 am //

            Lol. I don’t he that young. He has been around awhile in the CFL and was in the NFL long enough to get stabbed while going thru the process of growing up. If you don’t reallt know why his passport was suspended last spring do some checking. Guaranteed you will find the reason in the Family Court system. And he had a horrible year into the bargain. Plus did you notice how when he got up after yet another poor return he would point to his blockers in effect saying it was their fault. And I am so tired of hearing he he is playing with a chip on his shoulder. This is thuggish behaviour. hmmm how did that chip on shoulder serve him last year. He is selfish poor and simple.

      • TC’s had the chance to flip him for Arceneaux at the beginning of the season…Wally highly coveted him…no deal was made…Rainey ended up lighting it up for the Lions…too bad.

  5. Lets take another look at him, he still has to win a spot.

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 11:16 am //

      But the same eyes that were on him last year when he proved he sucks will be judging him again. In other words, Kent will keep him and and quarterbacks around the league will be happy.

  6. Wow… Cut the guy some slack.
    We’ll see how he does at training camp. He knows he struggled, so it’s not like he’s being cocky and saying he’ll dominate.
    I like the move.

  7. let him compete with the other rookies, vets, whatever. The new DC will make the call. He cost them some games but so did having Butler out for the season. With Butler back and healthy, they have one corner spot filled(Courtney S). 2 canuck ratio busters and E Davis to build the secondary with. It is not that bad. they have enough pieces to build an elite CFL D.

  8. Well he certainly can’t get any worse…can he?

  9. I am fine to give the guy a chance – he still has to compete and a full training camp can only help.

  10. The Iceman // January 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm //

    OMG, he is signed and invited to compete for a spot at training camp. He has NFL game experience which means that he has talent. Are people really going to criticize every roster addition between now and camp. Don’t worry, be happy.

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm //

      He sucks. Period!!!! Should save the training camp spot for a guy who can actually play. After nine games, you know if a game can play or not and this guy clearly can’t. However I’m not surprised that mediocre Kent is bringing him back. He has no eye for talent. Wish we had hufnagel or waters or hell anyone in the league is better than Kent in choosing and building a roster. Kent was out coached and out classed by two rookie coaches last year. Jason Maas beat him two of three and Dickensin swept him. Even a third year coach in ottawa takes Kent to the wood shed with regularity. So yes, very very very few people who follow the cats have any confidence in Kent. This year is going to be a train wreck and that should convince the remaining few that still believe in him, that kent has got to GO!!!!!

      • @Terry – You make a very valid point, and one that does not get discussed enough. Getting lit up by Master Wally (Buono) is one thing, but getting outcoached by Maas, Dickenson (I’ll throw in O’Shea Sucks and Campbell as well)…rookie coaches or coaches with relatively little HC experience…are you kidding me? I have commented before, and I’ll say it again, Austin has taken this TC team as far as it can go…which is basically one controversial call away from a GC in 2014. I am not saying that he is a bad coach…on the contrary. But his shelf life has expired as a TC HC. This team is on a downward trend. Anyone who can’t see that need to take their black and gold glasses off…and when you do take a look, a really good OBJECTIVE look, stare in the direction of the stands at THF.

  11. 9 games experience last year can only help Vaughn. Obviously the coaching staff see something in him that the genius Terry Baxter hasn’t.

    • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm //

      Well, thank Breeze. Indeed my IQ is at the genious level, tho I often try to dumb it down while posting on this site. I do appreciate you reading between the lines and seeing what I guess is obvious.

      • Terry you don’t need to try and dumb it down that’s the first thing you’ve got right posting on here so far. I here the Argo’s are looking for a few new assistant assholes you’d be perfect for the job. Just saying!

        • Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:54 pm //

          Yes I called. Seems you beat me to job. Oh well……

        • Garney please be polite.Terry Baxter is sometimes callous but he does not resort to being vulgar.Thanks.

          • Terry Baxter // January 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm //

            Thank you Catsclaw. That is very nice of you to say. And you are right, sometimes I am callous, I am going to try to tone it down. But honestly, this ti cat organization pisses me off. I guess being pissed off is better than apathy. To all who I have offended with my callous statements please accept my apologies. I shall endeavour to do better in the future. Again, Catsclaw thank you for this post, it got me thinking about some of my posts, and I am a tad embarrassed. I think my facts are generally correct but I could present them in a so much nicer way

  12. Terry Baxter // January 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm //

    And oh it’s ‘hear’ not here. Just sayin’….lmfao

  13. Terry, you should contact Bob and see about getting hired to take Kent’s spot. You really seem to have it all figured out. They’d be dumb not to hire you right off the street.

  14. So glad Terry Baxter placed his comments as I couldn’t have said it better. I’m fed up with Kent. He as coach only reports to himself, the GM. That is nepotism. He should be demoted or fired. The very least he should let Ptasek develop and run the offence! As for defensive backfield, there is a bunch of outstanding CIAU players who know our field and are BETTER than these 2nd and 3rd rate American players who can’t adapt to our field. Did any of you guys attend the Vanier Cup and see how tightly those Canadian backs covered receivers? The Ticats DBs were simply not competent and I have not renewed my Platinum seats that cost me an average $85 per game. This team will win no more than 9 games, my prediction is 7 or less and it deserves LAST PLACE. Not to mention the terrible food service 3 seasons now. I’m sick and tired of luke warm pizza and all the focus on beer! The food on second level east side is terrible. Ticats will be the next folded CFL team due to ownership and management. I went to BMO field for the first time this past season, Great food, beautiful stadium. At least I had a good sausage on a fresh crisp bun which you can’t get at Tim Hortons field. Our specialty is foil wrapped soggy dogs and sausage and to get anything fresh, I was directed to walk all the way down to the end zone to the Pinty’s BBQ. That is a 30 minute round trip hike and all they sell is pulled pork! Some people, like me, find pulled pork disgusting! It’s high priced leftover pig!

  15. Drew, call it as it is. Futile maneuvers to fix the worst D backfield in the league. They should clean house, bring in the best CIAU backs available, who know our game, our field and no more issues about needing a season or two to adapt. Our boys are every bit as athletic as American college boys. Look at our hockey athletes..some of the best in the world, and I believe we are no different in football. If American CFL coaches can’t adapt to our boys, then develop Canadian coaches like Ptasek. He wouldn’t even waste his time trolling NFL and US players. Let’s say yes to CANADIAN UNIVERSITY PLAYERS!

    • Terry Baxter // January 19, 2017 at 1:11 pm //

      Agree with you 100% I recall all the promises made by Mitchell and young about the great fan expirence and food etc at the new THF. You’re riight the food is terrible, I stoppedbuying it long ago. Way too much emphasis on beer because that is where the $ is. I am very disappointed with this entire regime and the total expiernce at THF. It’s not hard to arrange for a caterer or supplier to have decent sausage or hot dogs. The pizza is exactly that too Luke warm. I hope the cats start treating their fans better. If not, you’re right, we will like fold.

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