Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Training Camp Preview: Secondary

With training camp about to start (rookies report on May 30th, veterans on June 3rd) it's time to look at each position group as we head into the 2012 season. Today, it's the secondary.

I promised that I would do two today, so after the earlier post about the linebackers, it's time to turn our attention to the final defensive group.

Probably no group of players was more scrutinized last year that the Tiger-Cat secondary. No matter what mix of players the team put out there, it seemed like they just couldn't bring it all together. The unit got better as the season went on, but they never fully gelled. But coming back this year are a group of players that could form the nucleus of a good secondary.

The only sure thing in the secondary is uncertainty. Ryan Hinds is the only player likely to be guaranteed a starter's role, with everything else being up in the air. Milt Collins is the presumed starter at safety, but I remember Carlos Thomas excelling in that role late in the season. I mean, the guy hits like a truck – just as Geroy Simon – which is a great skill to have when playing safety.

Dee Webb, who was brought over in the trade that sent Maurice Mann to the Argos, is a guy to keep an eye on. He was given a contract extension in the off-season, so the team sees something in him. Getting to be with the team in training camp will give Webb a chance to start off on the right foot. He could end up being the player that makes the biggest impact in the secondary in 2012.

Two other youngsters to keep tabs on are Woodney Turenne and Marcell Young. Both looked good in spots last season, and another year of growth could see them produce some big things.

Another player returning to the fold is the often-vilified Bo Smith. I will admit that I did not like Smith when I first saw him play, but upon his return to from the New York Jets, he looked a lot better. Last year, despite leading the team with three interceptions, he seemed to regress back to the old Bo Smith. He was trying to return from an achilles injury suffered late in the 2010 season, so perhaps he can go back to the guy we saw in 2010 now that he has had over a year to recover.

The secondary was easily the target of the most vitriol last season. But the unit improved near the end of the season and with a full off-season and training camp for the players, the secondary could be the one area that we see vast improvement come from little movement.

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