Tuesday, 26 June 2012

No Need to Sit "The Monster" If You Simply Start Stala

How the Tiger-Cats will utilize the ratio has been a topic of much discussion ever since the possibility of Markeith Knowlton becoming a backup was brought up. It now looks like it is even possible that Knowlton, who two seasons ago was named the best defensive player in the league, might not even dress for Friday's game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

I came up with the not-so-original idea of the team running a 3-4 defense. This way, both Eiben and Knowlton could be on the field and the ratio issue would be solved without one of the best linebackers in the league being forced to the sideline.

Now I know that the team switching to a 3-4 is pretty unlikely (and the fact they didn't run one against Winnipeg last week tells me they won't), but changing the defensive alignment isn't the only way to ensure that Knowlton stays on the field. There is a much simpler way to keep Knowlton as a starter on defense:

Start Dave Stala.

For much of camp (or at least the parts that I have seen), Stala has been working with the second-team offense. The receivers making up the first-team offense have been, for the most part, the following five players: Andy Fantuz, Sam Giguère, Chris Williams, Bakari Grant and Onrea Jones.

There is one player on that list that Stala can replace and that is Onrea Jones. I have been very impressed with what I've seen from Jones, but that doesn't mean he has to be a starter. I say let him sit and watch before thrusting him into such a prominent position. Make Jones a backup and put Stala in the starting lineup. This way Knowlton can remain one of the team's starting linebackers and Eiben can be used situationally.

The season opener is Friday, so the team's decision will be known very soon. Hopefully the decision keeps Knowlton on the field as a starting linebacker, and one way to make that happen is to insert Dave Stala into the starting lineup.

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