With the Tiger-Cats enjoying their bye week, there is a significant lack of news on the Ti-Cat front. I thought now would be a good time to look back at some of the moves the team made over the off-season.
By far the most high-profile signing was when Avon Cobourne put his name on a contract to jump from the Als to the Tabbies. In his time here Cobourne has been everything he was advertised as. He is currently third in the league in rushing and tied for first in rushing touchdowns. There are still areas where Cobourne can be used more effectively, like in the passing game, but life with Avon has been very sweet. A great signing.
No position on the Ti-Cats in 2010 was more scrutinized than Kicker. Sandro DeAngelis came to Hamilton with much fanfare, and failed to produce. The Ti-Cats brought in Justin Medlock via a trade with the Edmonton Eskimos, and DeAngelis was cut soon after. Medlock then battled Eric Wilbur in Training Camp for the job, and won. Since then, Medlock has been nothing short of phenomenal. He has missed only two field goals all season and is, in my opinion, the clubhouse leader for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. His steady foot as been a breath of fresh air after the adventure that was 2010. Medlock's addition might be the most important acquisition the Ti-Cats made this past off-season.
Grade: A+ (I'd make this an A-bazillion-plus if I could.)
Those were the three big moves that the Cats made in the off-season, but they also brought in a couple of guys that deserve a little press.
Daniel Francis was a classic "under the radar" signing – I even underplayed it – and he has been an exceptional Special Teams player. He hasn't contributed all that much on Defense, but his play on Special Teams has been outstanding, which means he has been a positive for the Cats.
Based on where the Cats are now, I think the moves paid off. Cobourne, Williams and Medlock have been as good as advertised, if not better. Francis is still finding his way, but has shown flashes of great play, especially on Special Teams. Smith has been great depth for the line, and the fact that he has remained healthy is a big plus for him and the team.
Teams don't win championships in the off-season, but so far the moves the Cats made this past off-season to try to position themselves to win championships look to be paying off.