Ticats have signed just a single free agent. Is that a problem?

More than 10 days have passed since the opening of CFL free agency and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have signed a grand total of one player.

Yes, one.

For a typical team coming off a 6-12 record the previous season, one that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time in four years, this would be cause for concern. After all, the other two CFL teams who failed to qualify for the 2017 post-season – the B.C. and Montreal – have been two of the most active thus far. B.C. has signed a whopping 14 players while the Alouettes, an East Division rival, have inked eight, including big-name defenders Jamaal Westerman, Tommie Campbell and Mitchell White.

The Argos have signed five new players, including former Ticat linebacker Taylor Reed and ex-Bombers defensive back T.J. Heath, a two-time CFL all-star. The Redblacks, meanwhile, have nine new bodies, including linebacker Kyries Hebert, defensive back Louchiez Purifoy and defensive end A.C. Leonard.

Don’t worry though – the Ticats signed a kicker.

Jokes aside, Canadian Lirim Hajrullahu does fill a need for Hamilton but it was the team’s work in the months leading up to free agency that should give the Ticat faithful – some of whom have been grumbling on social media about the team’s relative inactivity – some measure of comfort during these exceedingly quiet times.

The team signed no fewer than 10 of its own free agents leading up to free agency, a list that includes quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, receiver Brandon Banks, defensive lineman Ted Laurent and Justin Cappicciotti, receiver Luke Tasker and offensive tackle Tony Washington. That’s six starters. Add valuable Canadians like Jay Langa and Nick Shortill and the haul is even better.

The team was also able to get some of its young talent under contract. Stud Canadian offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg signed a contract extension as did a slew of developing youngsters.

When taken collectively, that’s a very good haul and one that would have been seen as a coup had it been achieved in free agency. But it also came at a price.

With the exception of Laurent and the kids, most of the players Hamilton re-signed received a raise of some sort and, in the case of Dean and Masoli, a considerable one. Given that this is a salary cap league with a hard $5.2 million cap, it’s not hard to see why the Ticats haven’t been major players in free agency: they spent on their own guys before the market even opened.

But a look at the roster shows the Ticats are in pretty good shape. They have a legitimate starting quarterback – Montreal does not – and a very talented receiving corps. Most importantly, they know exactly where they plan to play their seven starting Canadians and yet still have some flexibility if things go wrong.

The importance of that last tidbit can’t be overstated: CFL rosters are built from the seven starting nationals out who, along with the quarterback, form the foundation of the roster. The Ticats will start three Canadian offensive linemen (all three are proven veterans), a Canadian receiver (Shamawd Chambers, looking to build on a promising 2017), Laurent and Cappicciotti on the defensive line as well as veteran safety Courtney Stephen. That’s a very solid line up.

They also have back ups at each position ranging from veterans like Landon Rice and the aforementioned Langa, to youngsters like Justin Vaughn and Connor McGough, both of whom saw time on defence last season. That’s another key element as head coach June Jones has expressed a preference for the next-man-up philosophy to ratio management, keeping the seven starters in the same positions week after week.

That’s a departure to the flexible approach employed during Austin’s coaching tenure, one that saw the next best Canadian player added to the starting line up – regardless of position. That often meant making two or sometimes three changes elsewhere on the field, something Junes would prefer to avoid. Both methods have their plusses and minuses but it’s clear the 2018 Ticats are being constructed to Jones’ tastes, as they should be.

Which isn’t to say the Ticats can’t change things up if they have to (and this team’s recent injury history would indicate that they will.) Hamilton has the depth to start Canadians at running back (Mercer Timmis), receiver (Mike Jones, Felix Flaubert-Lussier, Giovanni Aprile) and linebacker (Shortill and Terrell Davis.) They could move Stephen to the corner and start Langa (and don’t forget about Mike Daly, on his way back from injury.) They could start four Canadian offensive linemen.

Talented starters, depth and flexibility – that’s the holy trinity of ratio management and the Ticats have it. And that’s before a stocked CFL Draft in which the Ticats have five picks in the top 20.

There are some items still on the Ticats shopping list, however. The team could use some help to bolster a secondary that, while improved over the course of 2017, remains largely inexperienced. The lack of natural strong-side linebacker – Abdul Kanneh can fill the role but isn’t ideally suited – is likely the most glaring hole but one that teams across the league routinely face given the position’s unique demands. There were two elite-level SAMs available in free agency (Chandler Fenner and Otha Foster) and both went to teams willing to spend at the position.

The Ticats have decided to utilize their valuable money elsewhere, for better or worse. It wasn’t in free agency but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well spent.

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 (1570 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.

84 Comments on Ticats have signed just a single free agent. Is that a problem?

  1. It is called the Austin factor. Over pay for your own free agents and wait until the rest of the teams sign the top CFL Free Agents across the league, and then jump in and sign players from the inferior group that is left. I am sure they had to fight really hard to get Hajrullahu (closer to his home). Many guys from other teams wont come here until Austin is gone or the player is desperate for a contract after exhausting all other avenues. This is no surprise. Plus they are setting money aside for Manziel if he comes to the CFL, and then you will see some other veterans cut to make up for Manziel’s salary. In other words, a more younger team with more rookies than free agent signings.

    • @Vinny
      Many guys from other teams wont come here until Austin is gone…”

      What credible evidence do you have to support this claim?

      I have yet to read any reports or quotes from agents/players wherein any of them state anything close to your statement.

      Please do share…

      • Are you waiting for some specific headline in the newspaper that will mention specific names that have said something along that line? You are joking on that part right? That will never happen, but it is more than understood.

        • Tigers Coach // February 25, 2018 at 10:56 am //

          If it was so horrible playing here, don’t you think that those who have lived it would leave? Or at least hang on until free agency starts to see what they can find.

          Don’t tell me we overpaid either. Ted took a pay cut, Masoli’s contract is very reasonable. There’s no evidence and no reporting suggesting Hamilton overpaid (unlike MTL, where that was reported with evidence.

          You don’t like Austin, we get it. The rest is pure fiction.

        • Austin is a non issue now. When even Steinhouer comes back, which is HUGE, you have to stop thinking Austin is a problem.

        • Understood by you maybe bit I have heard players who HAVE come here from other teams state how much they wanted to be here. Recent examples – Kanneh , Chambers and Hajrullah.
          You’re entitled to your opinion of course but most of us like to base those opinions on known facts not on biases.

        • Vinny, please explain how Austin and Tillman were able to sign many players from last season when this statement was founded…(crickets)

        • Understood by who??? Who’s your source??? Funny… It appears none of the Ticat free agents felt that way… They all re-signed, except one kid who signed elsewhere to be closer to home. I call B.S.

      • Cause Austin is a dick. Ever watch a game where he degraded players continuously on the sidelines? He’s lucky a player never kicked his cause I sure would have.

        • Hey blue, There are many coaches who were successful and yet not loved by their players….a coach is not looking to get on any player’s Christmas card list ….just perform…

          • Right Tiger man, and the players know that if the coach is in their face it’s because he knows that they can be better and wants them to be the best that they can be.

    • Happy Cat Fan // February 25, 2018 at 11:15 am //

      Can i ask you what your title is called you seem to have so much inside information i take it you work for the Cats ,See the truth is you don’t have a clue ,anyone can spew garbage and fiction and put people down its very easy but to give true facts seems tough so you tell it the way you see it which is BS if you are not in the meetings then you can keep your fantasies to yourself

    • You are right about Johnny Manziel. They will protect salary to bring him in if he is available. You do not have to be an insider to figure that out.

      • John. Really. Why is that? They hold his rights with a $60k minimum contract.

        • Amicus I believe the negotiations is not just about money. He may possibly get what mazoli is making. Hamilton Tiger-Cats will not hold on to Manziel without signing him at or close to mazoli level or trading him. Cfl and other general managers will make sure that happens. Being a contract negotiator you would be surprised how much is agreed to between the parties that the public does not know

          • Give it up, John! Manzeil is not going to be playing in Hamilton this season, or any season. They are not going to offer him anything other than entry level money, with possible incentives, as a flyer only. The guy has substance abuse problems, mental health issues, and a history of poor anger management. This is not a rehab assignment, it’s the CFL.

        • Wrong …they offered him 150 thousand….

          • And the only reason Manziel may not be coming is as a result of him being picked up by an NFL team before CFL spring camp starts.

          • The only person more delusional about his comeback than you guys is John Manziel himself. He is two time Heisman Trophy winner and he’s playing in the Texas Spring League. I think that says all you need to know. Being a star in college ball does not always translate to success in the Pro’s, and that’s including all the talented players who didn’t have any of this reject’s issues.

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  2. No problem at all, as your article eluded to Hamilton has retained almost all of the players they wanted to.
    Add in signings from free agent camps etc and they will be fine.
    They were a pretty good team the second half of 2017 and I expect them to be battling at the top of the Eastern division in 2018.

    • Of course they will be battling at the top of the EAST Division in 2018. They were only three games out of first place in 2017, LOL!!!!!

    • But the Ticats missed the playoffs and they have retained virtually the same team, they re-signed their own free agents. No new signings except the kicker.

      Everyone talks about how good they did in the “second half” – yes but that doesn’t mean they pick up where they left off last year.
      All the other teams in the East, have signed new players and appear to have made improvements in areas that needed it.
      I expect that if the Ticats make no changes and the other teams have improved the Ticats will miss the playoffs again.
      I see the Argos weaker this season without Wilder, Butler but still good enough to make the playoffs.
      Ottawa improved on defense and a great offense with all the weapons in place. The Als look improved through the FA but still lacking at QB and offense.

      I see Ottawa first, Argos second, Ticats third but with the crossover the could miss out again

      • Happy Cat Fan // February 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm //

        so your conclusion is when things are going well (end of last season) your suggestion is to change it ever hear the old saying if it isnt broken dont fix it ,and to suggest tht going to fa would have improved us is bs its better to keep a team together than to rebuild every year ,we will show you this upcoming season !!!

      • Joe. So complaint A is that Hamilton did not sign free agents. And complaint B is that there is too much turnover. Sigh. Why don’t you just blame it all on Obama??

  3. “Many guys from other teams wont come here until Austin is gone…”

    What credible evidence do you have to support this claim?

    I have yet to read any reports or quotes from agents/players wherein any of them state anything close to your statement.

    Please do share…

    • I read a story on this very site stating from an agent that many available players would NOT sign in MONTREAL….

      But there, most know the reason why….

  4. Footballnut // February 25, 2018 at 10:51 am //

    Do they not also have the rights to the cndn dt that is somehow on a neg list for them? I agree with many posts here – they were felling down the stretch why mess with a good thing ?

  5. Tigers Coach // February 25, 2018 at 10:52 am //

    I have to believe that they will be making some trades at or near the draft. With 5 picks in the top 20 they’ll either deal some to move up (fewer, better) or for quality players they can add to a seemingly already good looking roster as highlighted by Drew.

  6. A free agent can come from anywhere. The TiCats simply chose to sign their own vs somebody else’s. Exception being a kicker.

  7. The better teams take care of their free agents first. Hufnagel has always done that & this year signed Dennis when he basically wanted back & got him relatively cheap, Emmanuel Davis to replace the overpaid Campbell who was thrown big bucks by Reed, & a nice piece in Mrabure. Not really a big player but he re-signed the guys he really needed like Jorden, Daniels, the young OL. Messam, Hughes, McDaniel all didn’t fit into future plans. Edmonton, 1 less win than Calgary made one big signing, Bazzie, to replace Willis & a couple of small ones. The biggest signings there were their own. Walker & Grymes both are there for a full season, Gable, Konar, White, Sherritt are key pieces to the team. So sometimes, as Calgary has done for years, the team that wins free agency is NOT the biggest player. The last 2 years many argued Wpg was the winner of free agency. It hasn’t resulted in one playoff victory to date. As Doug Brown wrote in the local papers at the time, building through free agency is a fool’s game because you always have to overpay for top talent. Ask Chris Jones about that – $190K for Dennis last year, $220K for Muamba, $110K+ bonuses for LaFrance, Ottawa’s 3rd string RB?? I applaud Austin for showing restraint & signing his own.

  8. I thought all of these guys were the hottest team in the league last year, or at least right up there.
    Depends on what you like to look at, the empty first half, or the full 2nd half of the glass!

  9. I don’t think they needed alot of free agent players, most pieces are in place, especially if tolliver is back. moving banks to wr was big, seems everyone knew that except austin! getting austin off the field was also big, his ranting and skowling on the sidelines was making everybody wince.

    • Not to mention getting Austin off the field meant a more balanced offense instead of Air Austin.

      It worked with the right players but not so much last year.

  10. bill dehoog // February 25, 2018 at 1:33 pm //

    I think Hamilton did what they needed to do. Should be a tight race between RBs,Argos and Ticats. All will be at least competitive.
    No cross over this year

  11. I agree totally with Vinnie you cleaned up half of a big problem and that being Coach Austin I remember Vinnie and others posting on here saying as much.But many on here and their rose colour glasses would defend Austin by saying yes but we went to two Grey Cups yes with Condell and Stienauer in a weak east.Condell and Stienauer leave east still weak and Cats go 0-8.Cats bring a retired Coach who had not been in CFL for thirty years and Cats go 6-4!Now the other half of the problem Vice President of Football OPS Austin.Kent always talks about the Core group(a.k.a over paid small group).Big problem this is not Hockey or Basketball.Football is the Ultimate Team sport 24 starters plus special teams,depth for injuries if you over pay for the Core you will keep coming up short you need to find value even in your core group think Patriots or Stamps the Austin zealots need to face reality Ditch the Problem or keep being happy with a mediocre product that makes the playoffs that’s your victory.19 years and counting close only counts in Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades!

    • The rotten core problem last year has been addressed by shipping Collaros out. That in itself, as proven by the second half of last season bodes well for this year.

  12. Colour me green // February 25, 2018 at 2:13 pm //

    Most teams re-sign thier FAs, so that is a non-issue. It’s the FAs you don’t resign and bring in new FAs to replace them.
    Ticats didn’t do that.
    I guess when you’re a power house you don’t need to do that, like Calgary… oh wait…

    • greenenvy? // February 25, 2018 at 7:02 pm //

      Don’t throw stones. Riders haven’t replaced any of their 3 staring LB’s. Outside of Hurl who is a special teamer at best, there is a long list of players Rider Nation always list as great replacements on the team that actually have little or no experience. Moncrief at SAM. Sure based on 6 CFL games??? Francis, the failed Safety is now a starting LB. Eguavoen – also limited experience. I’ve heard the latter at WIL & Moncrief at SAM, so 2/3 of your LB’s are unproven & you still haven’t replaced your MLB, last year’s o/s Cdn candidate. Nor have you signed your LT who you may want to protect your most important asset. But I guess when you’re a powerhouse like Riders……….oh wait…..

  13. Sea of Dead // February 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm //

    We’ll just have to wait and see. The players on this team will basically be one year older with much of the coaching staff near retirement home status in football years. Hoping that they can build on last season’s 2H performance but Cat fans may be getting a bit too overly optimistic at this point. The team has a very tough 1H schedule this season and if that doesn’t go well then the party’s simply over and we’re scrambling again just to make the playoffs.

    • Teams will be more ready for June Jones run and shoot offence and Mazoli. You may need another talented quarterback and people should by now figure out who that is.

      • John your beating a dead horse, JM is old news, time to let go my friend

      • Versions of the Run and Shoot offence have been used in the CFL since 1982 when Mouse Davis was with the Argos so no surprises there.

      • Too bad Jones with so much time with the team put everything in his playbook on film last year. *grin*

    • One year older my SOD friend…but also one year wiser. Predict this TC team won’t be the bridesmaids this year…redemption time…JJ, BB, JM…hell, even KA!

  14. Had to laugh at the comment about Collaros being the problem last year. Collaros is one of the few legit franchise QBs in the league who was forced to the hopeless CIS level offensive schemes of Stef Ptazek and Austin last year.

    Masoli is a back up QB at best. Watch what happens this year – – Collaros will outperform Masoli by a huge margin and the bumbling TiCats will miss the playoffs yet again.

  15. first of all, Austin doesn’t operate in a vacuum, it’s a collaboration, and their collective actions enforce the belief that the players that are here are capable of winning., That fact was proved the last half of 2017, when the Cats were the best team in the CFL. Retaining your talented FA’s and not blowing the budget on different bodies is a tactic that the most successful team in the CFL over the last dozen years has used; – Calgary. Don’t forget that the Cats also have a load of top picks in a deep national draft. You’re not just building for this year.

  16. The Cats may have shelled out more overall to keep their important FAs, but they also freed up a half-million bucks by dealing Collaros. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a net savings, between dropping Collaros’ contract and the raises to Masoli, Dean, Tasker and perhaps Capicciotti (Laurent is reportedly making a bit less now too). I think they likely have decent cap space to play with, depending on how bonus payouts might look.

    It’s easy to look at the lack of signings of other teams’ FAs and say the team didn’t do much or that those players didn’t want to come to Hamilton. But you also have to consider that perhaps management did make offers for a few, but felt they weren’t worth a bidding war.

    They’re likely looking at some new faces too. Now that this is June Jones’ team, he’s going to want some players that he knows/likes. Much the same as what happened when Austin took over. Management runs the show, but they also look to the coach to let them know who he’d prefer in the cast.

  17. Area51 I agree the comment about Collaros is laughable the Riders and Collaros will out perform the Cats and Masoli. George at any work place who sets the tone or the path for the company the Head guy and give me a break the Cats were not the best team in the last 10 games for starters the Stamps were 7 and 3 in that period and two of the Cats wins were against the Alouettes after they had been eliminated and other teams had nothing to play for you totally proved my earlier comments Ti-Cat Fans are so happy with average Results 8,9 or 10 wins EH!! we are in the play offs the goal should be winning championships.

    • The four win Argos didn’t want to win to get ahead of the RedBlacks, into first place in the East?

      The following week, the RedBlacks didn’t want to keep first by beating the Cats?

      Winnipeg didn’t want to solidify second place in the West by beating the Cats? (They ended the season tied with Edmonton in the W/L column, needing the tie breaker.)

      Strange “nothing to play for” situations for opponents the Cats beat. Last I checked – coaches wanted these types of wins, especially against a weak opponent.

  18. Edward Leslie // February 25, 2018 at 4:51 pm //

    I have to agree with Drew Edwards. Hamilton looks pretty good in most areas. Lots of talent and depth.
    The secondary might be the biggest concern, but they are led by Richard Leonard, Courtney Stephen and Abdul Kanneh, so not too bad there either.
    Masoli is the real deal as a starter, but Vernon Adams and Bryant Moniz are question marks as backups with hardly any reps. I think Johnny Manziel WILL be the #2 guy on opening day.
    I dont agree about the Tiger-Cats being tapped out after re-signing Ted Laurent, Luke Tasker and others.
    As was pointed out, they saved a bundle on Collaros going to Saskatchewan. And what about all the money saved on moving CJ Gable and John Chick? Plus the uncertain/ doubtful status of Andy Fantuz. Big dollards were invested in those four.

  19. The Ticats need money to sign their upcoming top draft picks as that is where there growth and development will come from. As mentioned above, the Ticats also need money to sign Manziel. As a result of this and the nucleus of players that were resigned there was no need for the Ticats to be active in free agency. Would still like to see the Ticats bring back CO Prime

  20. Clay Connor // February 25, 2018 at 7:26 pm //

    Heard similar positive comments coming out of Ticat Nation last season. Then the team started 0-8. The CFL figures to be much more competitive this year, with the biggest question mark being the QB situation in Montreal.

  21. I rem when everyone was dogging the OL as being terrible just because TSN was reporting it and I was the only one calling BS dues to ZC terrible decision making and once he was sat down no one mentioned it as much

    Jump ahead to FA and no one is talking about them The reason is because they were the scapegoats of the misinformed ZC apologists.

    An OL may be drafted but immediate help in FA is non existent because there never was a problem

  22. i want to see that Canadian sprinter play on that huge field in June s system.

  23. Edward Leslie // February 25, 2018 at 10:28 pm //

    Rory, but with Brandon Banks and Willie Quinn already returning kickoffs and punts, I wonder if he’ll even get a chance.

    • After Jones took over, Banks KR % took a back seat to Aultman’s 40% versus 25%. Quinn only had 11%.

      I’d have to check to be sure but I seem to recall when Aultman took most of the KR, the same was happening for PRs.

      Unless Jones thinks Banks can handle full time WR plus the load for KR/PR or Quinn dominates – I would think he would get a chance at some point.

  24. Vinny ur talking out ur ass Cats started rebuilding there team after game 8 last year they brought in numerous players auditioned them and built there team they were 6 and 4 should have been 8 and 2 excellent coaching off season signed what they still needed they will b a surprise this year

  25. JoeARGOS81Fan // February 26, 2018 at 10:18 am //

    I’m not sold that the last 10 games they played better than the beginning (0-8) losing 60-1 to Calgary. I want to see how they start this season.
    If they struggle again out of the gate then last year means nothing. We shall see. Its is going to be an interesting year.

    • If the play was the same despite the HC, personnel and scheme changes – this must mean Calgary was a mere shadow of themselves in the Oct 13th game. Their defense give up an additional 24 points and their offense to need a late FG to win, while scoring 32 less points.

      Looking at the first eight games, the loss margin is from three points to fifty nine points, with only two games in the single digits. After the changes, the double digits are wins with the losses all in the single digits.

      Masoli threw fewer INTs (five in 2017 versus twelve in 2016), multiple receivers over 1,000 yards, multiple RBs with 100+ yard games three in a row etc.

      Personally – I think a more balance offense plus the personnel changes made better use of the talent, putting the players/team in position to be competitive.

      Keep in mind Jones had all of three weeks before he had to try to win so I suspect there are more plays as well as more variations that can be introduced with a full off season and training camp.

  26. They weren’t as bad as their 1st half record. It’s not like they replaced their whole team. In the East I like the Argos, especially if Wilder comes to his senses. I think he sucks it up & is back unless he wants to kiss his NFL dreams goodbye. Sit out & he still owes the Argos a year. The D is good, Butler or no Butler, & added Yell & Heath. TiCats should finish 2nd. Ottawa’s defence doesn’t look good. The Argos should take first by a couple of games out East.

  27. JoeARGOS81Fan // February 26, 2018 at 11:27 am //

    Masoli has to be better for them to be competitive. he is the key. the ticats have always started slowly

    • Where's Shultz? // February 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm //

      Masoli played brilliantly last season, he performed many late game comeback drives to keep games alive. Regularly scoring above 30 points a game.

      Cover teams (on kick offs/punts) were the weakest part of our game with JJ last year. Defense needs to step up too. (new coaching and return of Orlando will hopefully help)

      • JoeARGOS81Fan // February 26, 2018 at 2:46 pm //

        Like I said its nice only the team was 0-8 that he was put in there. There was no pressure to win. I still felt they needed to move on from Collaros. (the Ticats took way too long to make the switch) Masoli is good but not great. This year we will see when everybody starts at 0-0 how he plays. if he struggles they should be putting in Goldston give him a chance. If he plays well then I will the first to admit I’m wrong.

        • Not sure what the concern is as we have already seen Masoli start the year in the Air Austin offense, going 3-3.

          If pressure was that much of a problem, I’d have expected the big lead Edmonton built up before Masoli set the completion record to win in 2016 would have revealed it.

          The bigger “no pressure” I see is having a running threat, in addition to his own running and passing.

          • I think you are overlooking the fact that he started only 8 games and teams did not really game plan against him in earnest as they certainly will this year.

            Masoli is not a star or a proven starter yet no matter how much sugar you pour on him

          • Bill deHoog // February 27, 2018 at 8:09 am //

            Lots of comments on this question.
            From a Redblacks fan:
            I think Hamilton did what they needed to do, team looks solid on paper.
            However, the final 8 games of 2017,can that success be repeated? All teams are improved, don’t expect Hamilton to roll through all of the teams. I think they are in the mix with Toronto and Ottawa, should be interesting season.
            Also, it is different being a starter vs backup (ie Trevor Harris last season). Masoli may have some growing pains through the season

  28. TC Gold Vinny is not talking out his ass you are! I think you have been smoking one out of Scott Mitchell”s ass really they could have been 8-2 NO they could have also been 3-7 example sept.4 Ham 24 Tor 22 ,sept.9 Ham 26 Ott 22 sept.23 Ham 24 BC 23.TC Gold you must have been drinking the Caretakers cool aid which would explain why you are so delusional !!!!!

  29. This free agent was an excellent time to grab talent because as reported there were so many free agents that they could not demand big bucks, just the going rate.If Hamilton had only obtained three free agents then the fans could have a debate on whether the team did enough for the upcoming season.

    ONE, one lonely free agent is a big concern for the team moving ahead! The fans, with no doubt, deserve an explanation from Kent Austin on the decisions he has made.Obtaining just one free agent is alarming;just like last season the Cats picked up one free agent 🙁 8 losses in a row last season).

  30. Barry McCokiner // February 26, 2018 at 4:15 pm //

    When players choose to stay over leaving when they can leave for more money, management is NOT the problem.

  31. Angery cat fan // February 26, 2018 at 4:50 pm //

    Please …stop sticking up for Austin.. We sucked last year we will suck this year too. You sign the same losers and expect better results ..its not going to happen. We let all the talent go else where then play and lose 8 games and when the season is lost and were out of it . we make a few changes so we look like were trying. Same dog and pony show every year.

  32. Angery cat fan I could not agree more Amen !

  33. Colour me green // February 27, 2018 at 12:43 am //

    Yes it is a problem. Sounds like the Habs at trade deadline, no moves to improve team. Does either team have a plan?

  34. When the league saw JJ’s game plan, they quickly game-planned their defences against the offence, and kept in mind the fact that Masoli could run with it. Most of the DC’s in this league are pretty bright, catch on pretty quick, and have the knowledge to defeat an offence, unless the offence out-executes them! Also, don’t lose track of the fact that JJ’s offence was an abbreviated one last year, and will be deeper and more complex this year. JJ’s no dummy, and has been quoted that you change your game plan by a minimum of 10% a year, anyway, even from a season where you had OTR’s, a full training camp, and 18 games. Gonna get busy!!!!

  35. @ dave a:

    Re: overlooking that Masoli had a few starts so that defenses didn’t prepare in earnest

    So what you are saying is that the game film from the first couple of starts wasn’t enough to prepare the other opponent’s defense so they turned in a mediocre effort?

    Keep in mind that the Air Austin offense had been well established to ignore the run, simplifying the preparation required.

    Out of curiosity – how many starts or game film of a QB do defenses need before they prepare earnestly?

    Agree that Masoli isn’t a proven star yet. It is equally silly IMO to talk about the first time pressure of starting being new to a QB who has started 18 or 19 games.

    Or talk that the start of a season is the pressure time when Masoli has already started a season where he exceeded the predictions of 0-6 that most were predicting.

  36. @ Bill deHoog:

    I am not expecting the Cats/Masoli to cream the rest of the league. He has learning to do but the drop of seven INTs in two more games started than 2016 suggests he is moving in the right direction.

    Having a balanced run versus pass offense, never mind Masoli adding a run threat with a MLB mentality/build also makes it tougher on the offense than the Air Austin offense ever did.

    Keep in mind Jones likely went with a small playbook with almost zero preparation time compared to what a full off season followed by a full training camp can make available.

    I see lots of reason they can be far more competitive than last year. Will it be enough?

    As for the “being starter is different” – Masoli has 19 games as starter already. Early on when he made silly mistakes, he kept going so I don’t see this as a huge issue.

    Time will tell.

  37. Ticat Mike // February 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm //

    I don’t know what to make of all this. We re-sign our “good players” on a 6 -12 team. We don’t chase elite talent league wide save one, possibly. There is a tendency to overrate the talent on the CAts in comparison to the competition. The light bulb goes on around Labour Day that the team just aint good enough. We’ve had a few exceptions over the past ten years, but we’ve been mostly a .500 team under the Scott Mitchell/Bob Young team.
    If that’s the best your Pres can do….time for new leadership. Starts at the top. Again, like all Cat fans, I’ll cross my fingers, hope that we somehow put it together and come out of the gates playing at a high level.
    Hope is all we have. Elite talent — less so, but here’s hoping.

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