Ticats CEO Scott Mitchell dropped a juicy hint about how the team’s quarterback situation could play out.
Appearing on Sportsnet The FAN 590’s The Jeff Blair Show Tuesday Mitchell was asked what could happen at football’s most important position in Hamilton.
“When June [Jones] talks he’s very forthright in all of his conversations with everybody, including the media. So when he talks about his confidence in Zach [Collaros] being a good quarterback and has an opportunity to be a great quarterback in this league, he means that. And I know he also is incredibly fond of Jeremiah. We see it as a good problem to have, but we’re certainly going to have to deal with it and I suspect that’ll happen over time,” Mitchell said.
“We’re not in any hurry, I think people kind of misconstrue the timing of this, we’re certainly not in a hurry to do anything. It’s something we can be deliberate about. I think there’s other situations around the league in terms of who is hired and who is back and how staffs are constructed and how they want to do things that may have an impact on those decisions too.”
Collaros went 0-8 as a starter in 2017 while Masoli was 6-4 and nearly got the Tabbies into the playoffs as the team turned around. There is one more year left on Collaros’ contract and Masoli is a pending free agent.
“I think different situations in different cities that might be a different focus. I think in our particular case, June talked about it yesterday, it’s highly unlikely that we could figure out a way to have both Jeremiah and Zach back, but obviously one of the two is going to be back as our starting quarterback and then it’ll be a discussion about who we fill in underneath the starter,” Mitchell said.
One of the quarterbacks who could be behind Collaros or Masoli in the Hammer: Johnny Manziel.
“This won’t be a situation as you’ve seen with some other places where you’ve brought in high-profile people and they’re plugged in as starters and they’re building the franchise around it. I think if Johnny Manziel decides to come up to Canada there’s probably a number of cities where he’d be coming in as a guy to show what he can do, there might be one of two cities where he would be coming in and they might be a little bit more proactive about building their franchise around him or another high-profile NFL player, but that won’t be the case with us,” Mitchell said.
“If he comes to Canada and if Hamilton ends up being the right situation for him, obviously it’s completely dependant on the process that the CFL is going through with Johnny right now, he’d be competing for a position, but he wouldn’t be coming into camp as a starter.”
Hamilton’s head coach raved about Manziel after his three-year contract extension was made official on Monday.
“It will be a Warren Moon situation to be quite honest. I just think he has the potential to be a great football player,” Jones said.
Mitchell explained what the 64-year-old bench boss meant about the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
“The truth of the matter is when you do your due diligence, we’ve done this around people we’ve got great relationships with in the NFL, and you gotta be careful because some of them know the league better than others, I think that’s a fairly unanimous consent that he would be – if things were right and if he was in the right structure and if he had the right coaching staff and he was in the right frame of mind – that he’d have a great opportunity to be a great player,” Mitchell said.
“But I think what June was really focused on was physically – he’s been at two workouts with Johnny, he’s looked at a ton of film of Johnny, I think he was surprised by the arm strength of Johnny on a big field. That maybe there might have been some question marks there that weren’t based in substance. But I think he’s talking about physically the tools, all the skill sets are there. The question is mentally and from a makeup perspective is he committed to being successful up here and that’s the question that needs to be answered.”
So, might Manziel be playing in the CFL and for the Tiger-Cats in 2018?
“I will tell you that we’ve definitely had a lot of interest in Johnny from around the league and in all honesty, he would be treated – if he passes the process and that’s a big if, we certainly haven’t been given any conclusive thought as to whether that’s going to happen for sure or not, there is some work to do there. But if that happens he will be treated like every other player that we’ve got as a prospect in terms of what’s the best for the franchise whether we bring him in or whether there’s a better fit for him and for us with another franchise,” Mitchell said.
“But I would certainly like to see him get through this process, I think that would be a very positive sign for him as a person. That he’s contrite, that he’s gone through a rehabilitation process, that he understands the mistakes he’s made, that he’s committed to being a good citizen in this league. I think you guys know Randy Ambrosie well enough now to know Randy’s going to be very disciplined about it. And if that happens and if he’s in the CFL I think it’ll be great for the league and we’ll see if that ends up being with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.”
Full audio can be found here.