Ticats notebook: Landon Rice will get first shot at guard spot

I wrote a story after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats season preview conference call, but there were a bunch of other things that came out of it that I couldn’t get into the piece. So here are some of them…

1. Landon Rice will get the first crack at replacing all-star guard Ryan Bomben

The Ticats traded Bomben (and other stuff) to the Alouettes in return for a package that included the first overall pick. Without Bomben, an all-star the last two seasons, the Ticats need a new right guard and Jones outlined the possibilities.

“We have five to six guys I really like. Landon Rice played a lot more than what people think last year so I would anticipate that he will start off there but it’s going to be a wide-open competition. It’s understandable that people second guess the trade but after looking at all the film and going through (mini-camp) I think it’s a decision that I think is going to pay off in the long run.”

In addition to Rice, the Ticats have Braden Schram, Brett Golding, Everton Williams and Kay Okafor, as well as 2018 draft pick Darius Ciraco. From that group, they’ll need a starter and at least one (and probably two) back ups on game day.

The Ticats could, conceivably, start three American linemen but I don’t think that’s the preferred course of action.

If the kids are indeed ready this year, the Ticats will be fine. If they aren’t the Bomben trade will be very easy to second guess.

2. The Ticats interest in Orlondo Steinauer started months before he was hired

When Steinauer’s return was announced in February after a season with the Fresno State Bulldogs, many people were surprised. The general sense was the deal had come together fairly quickly but head coach June Jones indicated on the conference call that it may have been in the works for quite some time.

“Scott and I talked eight months ago about this guy I’d never met and he asked me would I entertain talking with him, I know that he would like to come home,” Jones said. “Over Christmas, over the holidays, I had a chance to sit down with him and I see why he’s a successful coach. He wanted to further his career in terms of being a head coach and he’d never spent any time on offence.”

Eight months ago would be September or October, just after Jones took over as head coach.

When Steinauer’s return was announced, much of the surprise stemmed from the idea that he was on a track that would lead to a succession of increasingly lucrative American college jobs. But it’s possible that Steinauer returned to Hamilton for the simplest reason of all: because he wanted to be here.

3. Jones likes the look of Terrence Toliver

I’ve already reported that the American receiver, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered on the opening series last year, could be ready for training camp but Jones talked a bit more about what Toliver might bring to the table.

“I’ve talked to him on the phone and I think he’s pretty close to being 100 per cent and I’m looking forward to getting to know him and see what exactly he can do for us,” Jones said. “I really like his size and in talking with the quarterbacks, he’s a really intelligent guy and it looked like he played a lot of spots on the field. It looks like he has a lot of talent.”

4. Canadian defensive end Connor McGough could have a larger role this season

McGough was the fourth overall pick last year and played in 18 games racking up 18 special teams tackles (good enough for second on the team. But Jones says he may get a bigger role on defence where the Ticats play a Canadian at defensive end.

“Having watched all the film, I’m more impressed with Connor’s progress and he needs to play. He’s got a great motor, he can run and he did a great job on special teams,” Jones said. “He got to play a little [on defence] but not as much as he will this year. I think he has tremendous upside.”

5. Jones feels good about the secondary

The Ticats struggled against the pass in the early stages of last season, especially during the 0-8 start. But the head coach said he feels better about things going into 2018.

“At the end of last year, I thought we were playing and covering as well as anybody,” he said. “We added a couple of guys that we think give us some depth but I’m pleased with how the back end looked at mini-camp.”

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.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1457 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.

20 Comments on Ticats notebook: Landon Rice will get first shot at guard spot

  1. greenenvy? // May 10, 2018 at 10:56 am //

    “Rice is nice, that’s what they say…twice as nice when violins play”. You probably have to be a rock junkie to get that. Cue the tiny violins in background. Rice isn’t Bomben. If Tolliver is healthy that’s big. For those who continually compare Carter to the best in the league – Carter is Tolliver. Both 6-5, Tolliver slightly heavier. First 2 years in the league. Tolliver 26 games 1811 yards receiving 15 TD’s. Carter 26 games 1939 yards 12 TD’s. Hamilton should be better but I still see Argos as the team to beat out East.

    • Cat Fan // May 10, 2018 at 11:10 am //

      Going out on a limb to go with the GC champs the division favourite?

      Slight correction in that Toliver had 1,715 yards in his first two seasons according to the CFL web site.

      • greenenvy? // May 10, 2018 at 12:01 pm //

        I guess I can’t add. Must have ended up in a Home Economics class by mistake. Thanks. Yeah, I think Argos are better but TiCats close.Tolliver, if healthy, is really good. Looking forward to what the TiCats bring this year. I’m expecting those 2 clubs to be better vs the West this year.

        • NO, the Ticats did nothing in the FA and are hoping that the same team that finished with 6 wins will improve with some players coming off injuries?
          The problem with that theory is that you are hoping that the competition stays the same.
          Ottawa will have their same potent offense and they have made some improvements on their weak defense through FA
          The Argos have re-signed most of their GC players and made some good FA moves.
          Big improvements for the Als too but QB is still a problem.
          I see the Ticats battling with the Als and the West crossover team for that final playoff spot.
          Argos/Ottawa battling for number one

          • Hamilton’s best Free Agent signing was Orlondo Steinauer with Lirim Hajrullahu coming in at 2nd. There was also addition by subtraction by getting rid of Collaros. The Tiger-Cats will host a home playoff game in 2018.

          • greenenvy? // May 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm //

            I see what you’re getting at, Jeff, but the TiCats had some key injuries. Most of their receivers missed time. Both Kanneh & Emmanuel Davis were gone all year. Ottawa has been 8-9-1 two years running now. Very good offence but their DL isn’t scaring anyone. It starts there on defence. Cats have very good front 7. Thorpe will help but I don’t see the RB’s as an improved club. We’ll see.

          • MoneyTeam // May 10, 2018 at 1:49 pm //

            Seconding greenenvy’s comments. All Star Kanneh played I think 2 games last year. Tolliver 1 series. Chapman should play right away but remains to be seen how impactful at this point… Green will get full season at RB. Dont forget Banks went for 1000yds and 7 TD in only NINE games after labour day. We Resigned Laurent/Tasker/Capiciotti/Dean/Banks/Masoli/Washington, among others. This is a 6-4 team bringing back all these guys plus injured stars who missed action. Something to be said about continuity in the system. Dont forget a full season with Coach Jones. Add in Coach O/Coach Glanville. What this team will field on opening day is dramatically different from last year’s 6-12 squad. I hope I am not wrong but given all this I have very high expectations for 2018.

            PS that Manziel guy they might sign is pretty good too. 😉

          • Cat Fan // May 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm //

            Let’s see – you are sure that greenenvy? is ignoring the improvement by other teams while the Cats went with essentially the same team.

            The problem I see with this is that assumes no room for improvement by the Cats as it’s largely the same coaches/players.

            Aren’t you ignoring that the zero win portion of the season was while an unbalanced offense was run with almost no changes to try to improve?

            Or that Jones had limited time to get the know the players before becoming HC. After that, he basically zero time to put a full offense in.

            Why are you seeing to assume the same shortened playbook despite a full off season as well as training camp?

            Or to put it another way – the things you ignore suggest you are the pot calling the kettle black.

            BTW – where you clearly believe Ottawa has improved their defense, I am surprised there is no mention of Thorpe being hired as DC.

        • Cat Fan // May 10, 2018 at 2:39 pm //

          I am as well.

          • greenenvy? // May 10, 2018 at 10:42 pm //

            No I’m not ignoring the other teams or improvements. Cats were 4-4 vs the East, 2-8 vs the West. I think the West is still going to be better but I can see Cats winning 3 more games which, in itself, gets them to .500 & probably a top 2 spot. In the West Edmonton looks at this point as the team to beat. Mind you, everybody said that about BC last year. But the Eskimos won 1 less game than Calgary with a ton of injuries. Riders, from Jones’ conference today, may have up to 4 changes on OL, may play 3 imports there. So many changes not a recipe for keeping Collaros clean & you know what that means. They are going with 1 National LB, DT & Safety. Hurl is average & tops the depth chart, Muamba, Knox & Foster all gone at LB. The Riders don’t look better, Calgary has questions at RB & a couple of changes at DB. Wpg lost Westerman & Heath on a defence that spews yardage. There are some winnable games in there.

    • mightypope // May 10, 2018 at 10:59 pm //

      greenenvy?….Rice is nice…must be the Lemon Pipers.

  2. “The Ticats could start 3 National linemen” – which means they could start ALL imports at receiver. Makes sense because the Ticats do not have any proven Canadian receivers.
    Rice has been a backup since 2014, sounds like they are confident that he could start.
    I would agree that the Ticats will be battling the Als and probably facing the West crossover team again.

  3. The Cats could have brought in a free agent defensive back such as Heath ( several were available )to improve the secondary for a modest move to show fans that some improvements were underway.Perplexing to have the team do so little in free agency.

  4. Dundas dude // May 10, 2018 at 8:11 pm //

    I don’t give a rat’s bum about the details, just win the Cup, Cats!

  5. MJ Bandit // May 10, 2018 at 9:04 pm //

    Competiton between Rice, Schram and Ciraco and the Ticats should come up with a good starting guard to replace Bomben.

    They have some good Canadian talent to compete at receiver now with Chapman added to Chambers, Faubert-Lussier and last year’s draft pick Scarfone (who June Jones raved about at the mini-camp) = they could go with 2 starting NI receivers as some talk has said, but IMO highly unlikely. 3 interior O-linemen + one receiver will be their starting 4 NIs on offence; then 3 needed on D = Laurent/ Vaughn at DT, Capicciotti/ McGough at DE, and then a safety (Stephen, with Daly or Langa in reserve). Their Canadian starters should be very solid.

  6. canadianfootballfan // May 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm //

    I thought Toliver was released?

    • Now THAT would have been a perplexing move.

      • Cat Fan // May 11, 2018 at 2:03 pm //

        Agreed … Toliver was gone for the year in game one.

        AFAICT – there is no added cost for keeping Toliver *until* game of the regular season, if Toliver has not recovered so that he has to go on the injured list.

      • If the Cats do not have an improved corps of receivers over last season they will get a heck of a beating in the first five games and Jones will be wishing he was still coaching high school.

  7. patlynch // May 12, 2018 at 9:50 am //

    Oh Poncho ! Oh Cisco ! I fear that you’ve been watching too many Mexican football matches that result in a nil – nil score. The Cats had 4 receivers with 1000 yards . Saunders, Banks, and Tasker all exceeded a 1000 and Tolliver had over a 1000 in 2016. Sadly, he was hurt in the first series of the first game last year. So the Cat receiving corps is just fine and thanks for asking.

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