To say the 2022 season has been a rough one for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats would be a massive understatement.
The Tabbies are one of just two winless teams left, sharing a similarly depressing 0-4 record with their fellow East Division mate the Ottawa Redblacks. Hamilton is the second-lowest scoring team in the league on a points-per-game basis and, amongst a whole host of other problems, their newly minted franchise quarterback leads the league with eight interceptions and 12 total turnovers.
Understandably, the QB position is where most of the focus has been centred during this difficult start and the man himself realizes that he has played a large part in his team’s current lack of success.
“The times we are really good I’m just doing my job, doing what I’m supposed to do. The times we aren’t, I’m trying to do too much,” Dane Evans said.
Evans’ league-leading turnover total suggests he is trying to do too much too often. He has made poor decisions on some of his interceptions but his penchant for fumbling the football is where most of the focus should be.
Four lost fumbles in four games is a recipe for disaster with Evans’ fumble against the Elks in the late stages of his team’s Week 4 loss to Edmonton serving as the nadir of his ball protection woes.
Undeterred by the current issues plaguing his team, the six-foot-one, 218-pound pivot believes the Ticats have it in them to turn this season around.
“We just got to be us, get back to the basics of what we do and just play fast,” said Evans.
After the play of the quarterback, one of the areas of concern has been the play-calling, specifically on offence. The University of Tulsa product believes observers will see some new wrinkles starting this week.
“You’re going to see things personnel-wise, scheme-wise, streamlining some things. We are going to get back to doing what we do best and making people stop us,” Evans said.
Despite the 0-4 start, the Tiger-Cats have shown glimpses of being the team many pegged as a Grey Cup contender at the start of the season. The first-half onslaught that had the team up 21 points at halftime against the Calgary Stampeders in Week 2 is an example.
The problem for the team has been their lack of consistency and Hamilton’s pivot believes that while the team has shown flashes of the squad that made it to the Grey Cup the last two seasons, the Ticats have also shown a tendency to look exactly like a team that currently sports an 0-4 record.
“There’s been times in all the games where we’re a pretty damn good offence and a pretty damn good football team,” Evans stated emphatically. “But there is also times when we’re not.”
The Ticats are entering a critical point in their season, with seven of their next eight matchups coming against East Division opponents, including four games in five weeks against the first-place Toronto Argonauts.
If the Tiger-Cats are the “pretty damn good football team” that Evans claims they have been in spurts, the black and gold will need to start showing that more regularly if they hope to climb out of the division’s basement and back into the familiar spot of division favourite.
In other Ticats news, fans will rejoice as it looks like American running back Don Jackson will be back in the lineup for Saturday’s tilt against the Ottawa Redblacks.
Jackson took the majority of first-team reps in practice on Tuesday and looks fully recovered from the injury that kept him out of the lineup the last three weeks.
The Tiger-Cats also released Canadian running back Maleek Irons after three years with the team.
The 26-year-old Irons never really carved a role out for himself and was mostly used in a reserve capacity behind fellow Canadian Sean Thomas-Erlington.