Monday, 21 November 2011

The Day After

Another disappointing end to another disappointing season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. For the twelfth off-season questions surround a team that was not good enough to win the big prize.

But unlike some, maybe even most, I don't think the Ti-Cats need to undergo a massive overhaul. A few tweaks here and there, and this team is right where it needs to be to compete for a championship.

I will start by saying rather plainly that it would be a mistake for the team to part ways with Kevin Glenn. Everyone calling for Glenn's head after yesterday must have forgotten the game he had eight days ago or the year he had in 2010. Glenn is a good Quarterback, and he can only be replaced by a better Quarterback, and there isn't a better Quarterback out there. Henry Burris, you say? Burris is not a huge step up from Glenn, and Glenn has the advantage of having been with the team for three years. Glenn is not the problem with this team and he has never been the problem with this team. Dumping him would be a mistake, in my opinion.

The next target of people's anger is Head Coach Marcel Bellefeuille. I'm not as sold on Bellefeuille as I am on Glenn, but that doesn't mean I think Bellefeuille should fired. There is a part of me that likes Bellefeuille. A lot. A part of me that wants to see him succeed. But there is another part of me that wonders if he is just the next Danny Barrett. A good coach, but not the coach that will lead this team to a championship.

Still with the coaching staff, both Khari Jones and Corey Chamblin should be retained. They were both rookies, and growing pains were to be expected. I think both have the wherewithal to absorb what did and didn't work in 2011, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure it doesn't happen in 2012. Getting rid of either of them would be a step back.

No matter what anyone says, it is undeniable that this is a talented team, stocked with players that can win a championship. The Linebackers are among the best, if not the best, in the entire league. The young group of Receivers can only get better with; the Running Back and Quarterback positions are solidified and not areas of concern. The nucleus is there.

There are two areas that need to be looked at: the Secondary and the Defensive Line.

The Cats tried all year to find the right mix of players in the defensive backfield and never really got it right. That said, there are some good players already on the roster. Ryan Hinds, Milt Collins, Loyce Means and Dee Webb all look like they can be depended on in the future, so hopefully they all return. That leaves one more position to be filed.

The Defensive Line needs work, especially the Tackles. Matt Kirk missed most of the season, and that was a huge blow to the team. Eddie Steele showed promise, but apparently suffered a very serious leg injury yesterday. Robert Rose looks to have a very bright future. He made an impact in almost every game he played.

Losing Marwan Hage makes judging the Offensive Line difficult. There will be some changes along the Line – I don't think Jason Jimenez will return and Simeon Rottier could also be headed elsewhere – so perhaps some of the issues people have will be addressed.

Even in the areas where the team needs to improve, it's not major changes that need to occur. A few tweaks and they're good to go.

Like all fans, I was disappointed by yesterday's loss. It was not the outcome I hoped for, nor was it the one I expected. When the season kicked off on July 1st, I thought it wouldn't end until November 27th. I felt that this was the team that would end the Grey Cup drought.

It was not to be.

But this season wasn't a complete failure, and I have faith that better times and championships are on the horizon. The Tiger-Cats play good football and have for three years. It is time to take it to the next level.

With but a few small changes, 2012 could be the year everything comes together.

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