Ticats ‘not a panicked bunch of people’ as Dane Evans steps in at QB following 0-2 start

Photo courtesy: Ticats.ca

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats aren’t pressing the proverbial panic button after a stunning 0-2 start to the 2021 CFL season.

Fourth-year quarterback Dane Evans will start in Week 4 against the Montreal Alouettes and try to lead the Ticats to win No. 1 this year.

“We’re not a panicked bunch of people. We know what the end goal is, we know what we gotta do to get there, we know we need to be better,” Evans said.

“It’s only a big deal if we make it, the Grey Cup is not tomorrow. We got time to grow and learn. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and we found that out on the other end of the spectrum in 2019.”

Hamilton set a single-season franchise record going 15-3 the last time the CFL played football. The Ticats were the best team during that regular season, but lost in the 107th Grey Cup by a score of 33-12 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Sunday, November 24, 2019 marks the last time Evans started at QB for the black and gold.

“It’s been a while, I’ve been looking forward to it. It’s my job to go out there and help this team win, I’m ready for it,” Evans said.

The 27-year-old took reps with the Ticats first-team offence at practice for the majority of the preparation week as Jeremiah Masoli was limited due to an injury to his ribs suffered against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Weird circumstances, I definitely don’t wish anything bad on Jeremiah or any of my teammates, it’s a game, people get hurt sometimes,” Evans said.

Evans saw his fist game action in Regina against the Riders in Week 2 after Masoli was sidelined. He was between the white lines at Mosaic Stadium for just over one quarter, completing 3-of-10 passes for 21 yards in a 30-8 loss as the Ticats suffered a second straight defeat to begin their schedule.

“We know what it is, we read the news, we started 0-2, but now we’re finally getting to play in the East. We gotta be physical and play our game,” Evans said.

The Sanger, TX native gets the chance to run out with the starting offence in La Belle Province and feels confident after a week of increased reps in practice with the current starters on the Tiger-Cats offence. Hamilton had a bye in Week 3 following their 0-2 start and travel to Montreal for a match-up with the Als on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“We expect to win every week, it doesn’t mean it happens,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.

“I like our preparation, I like the focus, I like the urgency, but that’s all fine and dandy, you gotta play the game. I’m really looking forward to the game to see our response.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.