Depth charts, storylines heading into Ticats v. Argos

Game 1
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0) at Toronto Argonauts (0-0)
BMO Field
Sunday, June 25
Game time: 4 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150

The storyline for Hamilton: The Ticats have an odd start to the CFL season: a road game, followed by a bye week, followed by a road game. They will also play West Division teams – against whom they went 2-8 last season – for the next six weeks. The upshot is that a season-opening win over a divisional opponent with a new coaching staff would come in handy.

Key injuries and roster changes: The American defensive backs Abdul Kanneh and Emanuel Davis are out this week, robbing the Ticats of much of their veteran presence on the back end. Canadian defensive tackle Mike Atkinson is also out and the Ticats have only listed six Canadian starters which means the team will use multiple combinations on defence to get to seven. Also of note: the Ticats put Davis, safety Craig Butler, defensive tackle Evan Gill, receiver Giovanni Aprile and quarterback Everett Golson on the 6-game injured list. Davis was an all-star last year and was expected to start in the secondary while Butler, Gill and Aprile are valuable Canadian pieces. Golson would have been the No. 3 quarterback.

The storyline for Toronto: The Argonauts had a tumultuous off-season with the late firing of general manager Jim Barker and subsequent departure of head coach Scott Milanovich. But they managed to land on their feet by bringing in former CFL coach-of-the-year and two-time Grey Cup champ Marc Trestman as well as ex-Alouettes GM Jim Popp. With veteran quarterback Ricky Ray already in place, the Argos could be dangerous early – if Ray can stay healthy.

Key roster notes: The Argos will start three former Ticats in the secondary, with Rico Murray, Johnny Sears and Cassius Vaughn all making the move during the off-season. Quarterback Jeff Mathews is also in Toronto after two years in Hamilton. Former Ticat coach Tommy Condell and linebacker Kevin Eiben are also part of Trestman’s staff. There are a few former Alouettes as well, including last year’s CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player Bear Woods and defensive tackle Alan-Michael Cash.

Five funky stats:

1. Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros had 16 wins against nine losses as a starter in 2014 and 2015; but he was just 3-7 last year. Collaros has missed 14 of a possible 36 starts in the last two seasons.

2. Two draft picks from the Ticats’ 2017 Draft class will make their CFL debuts on Sunday: defensive end Connor McGough and defensive tackle Justin Vaughn.

3. The Ticats were 1-7 last year when committing more turnovers than their opponents, and 5-2 when they won the take-away battle.

4. Of the 46-players on the Argos’ opening day roster in 2016, just 20 players remain with the club, while for the Ticats, 28 of 46 return.

5. Now entering his 15th CFL season, Ricky Ray needs four touchdown passes to become the sixth quarterback in CFL history to hit the 300 mark for his career.

TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde

Referee: Andre Proulx

Weather: Partly cloudy, 20 degrees C, with a 40 per cent chance of thundershowers, winds out of the west at 30 km/h

 

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