Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer doesn’t want to hear about the Tiger-Cats being a superteam.
“That’s what we call them, we call them the super team,” Khari Jones said while prodding Steinauer during a TSN interview with reporter Farhan Lalji.
The Ticats retained a number of key pending free agents this winter, including: quarterback Jeremiah Masoli; offensive lineman Mike Filer; defensive linemen Ted Laurent, Ja’Gared Davis, Dylan Wynn, and Julian Howsare; defensive backs Tunde Adeleke, Jumal Rolle, Rico Murray and Frankie Williams.
That group doesn’t include a number of talented veterans who were already under contract for 2020, including: quarterback Dane Evans; CFL Most Outstanding Player Brandon Banks; CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Chris Van Zeyl; CFL all-star guard Brandon Revenberg; CFL all-star linebacker Simoni Lawrence; and lock-down cover men Delvin Breaux and Cariel Brooks.
Meanwhile, former East Division Most Outstanding Defensive Player Larry Dean rejoined the Ticats in February during free agency. 2019 East Division all-star Patrick Levels took less to sign in the Hammer. On offence, running back Don Jackson and DeVier Posey provide even more playmakers.
“I’m not standing for this pumping up tires stuff. You know what? Every team got better on paper. Free agency is a little bit like the draft sometimes, there’s a limit and you’re not going to be able to bring all your people back,” Steinauer said.
“Every team got better on paper, bottom line they did. It’s about being healthy at key positions. Everybody needs a quarterback, it always starts there, it’s the most important position on the field, I feel like each team has one of those.”
Masoli and Evans guided the Tabbies to a single-season franchise record by winning 15 games in 2019. However, Hamilton suffered an upset 33-12 loss to Winnipeg in the 107th Grey Cup. Steinauer and the front office staff planned to improve the roster during free agency in the quest for a CFL title.
“We really don’t look around us and other people, but everybody has gotten better. Each year is brand new. We’re going to have a bunch of new people in training camp and we’re going to have anywhere probably from seven to 10 new players that don’t know the culture, that don’t understand how we practice and those type of things,” Steinauer said.
“While it’s easy to lump it together and say this is where you should just take off, yeah in a perfect scenario, that’s exactly what would happen, but you don’t know. That’s how it’s easy to say hit the ground running, but you better jog first – you may trip. There’s some people that will have some catching up to do.”
Steinauer hopes his Ticats don’t fall on their face while paying too much attention to the superteam moniker instead of being focused on what matters most: hoisting the Grey Cup.