‘This will be a blip by the end of the season’: Bo Levi Mitchell defends Tim White’s drops

Photo: Matt Johnson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Tim White is suffering from a bad case of the drops to start the 2024 season but the star receiver has a strong defender in his starting quarterback.

“I’ll never question what Tim does, the guy led the league in receiving last year,” said Bo Levi Mitchell. “(Our receiver) group is amazing, they have a lot of leaders in that group. [White] is one of them — [White] is the best one — and he’s gonna be fine. We’re gonna be great, we’re gonna keep moving. This will be a blip by the end of the season.”

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats dropped Sunday’s game to the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a score of 33-30 despite holding a 10-point lead in the final five minutes of regulation.

White dropped a would-be touchdown pass on the team’s first offensive drive, resulting in a 13-yard field goal from Marc Liegghio. He also bobbled a pass from Mitchell in the final minute of the game, which landed cleanly in the hands of defensive back C.J. Avery, giving Saskatchewan possession in Hamilton territory. Three plays later, Brett Lauther kicked a 43-yard game-winning field goal with no time remaining.

The two-time CFL all-star also had a costly drop in Week 1 as he failed to secure in a 46-yard bomb from Mitchell in the second quarter of Hamilton’s 32-24 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. His numbers to start the year are respectable — 10 catches for 112 yards — but the passes he’s dropped have loomed larger than those he’s reeled in.

The Tiger-Cats have a relatively inexperienced receiving corps with rookie Shemar Bridges starting at boundary wideout. Luther Hakunavanhu and Brendan O’Leary-Orange, a pair of veteran Canadians who signed with Hamilton during free agency, recently hit the six-game injured list, giving way to former third-round pick Tyler Ternowski, who made only his ninth career start on Sunday.

It appears the team plans to keep White involved in the offence, trusting him to work out of his recent funk.

“Tim is a good player, an elite player,” said head coach Scott Milanovich. “You just keep feeding that guy the ball and eventually he’s going to come out on the other side. He also had a great catch on second-and-seven that was a bang-bang play where he got hit and that allowed us to go for it and get that final field goal — that was a big play. We’re just going to keep feeding him the ball.”

White took to social media after the game and made it clear he’s aware of the frustration fans are feeling towards him.

“Tough loss! Fans hate me,” he wrote. “My kids still love me. Happy Father’s Day.”

Mitchell is off to a hot start to the season despite White’s drops, completing 71.1 percent of his passes for 680 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He needs only two more touchdown passes to reach last year’s mark and six more to tie his best season since 2021.

Despite the statistics, the two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player is only focused on one thing: winning. At 0-2, that’s something the Tiger-Cats have yet to accomplish in 2024.

“I pride myself on winning. 300 yards doesn’t matter to me, touchdowns don’t matter as much,” he said. “I want to lead the offence and do the best I can, but if we ran for 300 yards tonight and won the game, I promise you I’d be more happy than I am right now. So, (I’m) just trying to make sure we get Ws in the win column.”

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-2) will visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-0) on Sunday, June 23 with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT.