Thursday, 14 June 2012

Toronto 29, Hamilton 24

For the fourth season in a row, the Cats have dropped their preseason contest with the Argos, this time losing 29-24. The last seasons have seen the Ti-Cats make the playoffs, so perhaps this loss portends to a somewhat successful season. It is not the loss that matters, though, but what the players did that counts. On that front, there are a lot of positives to take from the game, but a few negatives as well.


With the way Chevon Walker played – 62 yards on six carries – the team might not need Avon Cobourne. Walker looked unstoppable out there and did not look out of place playing with the starters. On his own he is deadly; in tandem with Cobourne, they could be downright lethal. Walker was the star of the game for the Ti-Cats.

But he wasn't the only player who looked great, so too did Henry Burris. Smilin' Hank slung the ball around the yard and piled up over 200 yards in just one quarter of play. He had three big pass plays – 52 yards to Sam Giguère, 41 yards to Bakari Grant and the coup de grâce, a brilliant 75-yard TD pass to Chris Williams – and looked like he is back in MOP form. If this continues, Burris is going to have one of the best seasons a Ti-Cat quarterback has ever had.

Sticking with quarterbacks, Dan LeFevour looked excellent when he took over midway through the third quarter. He looked poised and polished for a guy new to the CFL. It was a good debut, but before we annoint him as the heir to the throne, remember that it was against guys that will be out of the league before the month is over. Still, LeFevour's performance does deserve praise.

Another guy who did a lot for himself was defensive lineman Brandon Boudreaux. Like LeFevour, he played in the second half against the Argo reserves, but he had his name called on three straight plays in the fourth quarter. He was the best player on an underachieving defensive line.


The defensive line is still very much an area of concern. Aside from Boudreaux, nobody did much of anything along the line. They got some pressure, but more should have been had against a rather woeful Argonaut offensive line. The did not record a sack and every QB seemed to have enough time to make their reads.

Quinton Porter did not look good out there. He started the game – but don't start thinking there is a QB controversy in Hamilton because there is not, especially after how Burris played – and looked out of place and out of rhythm. He completed a mre two passes and never got the offense going.

Staying at QB, Tate Forcier did not look good. He didn't complete a pass and didn't finish the third quarter. With the way the team was using its QBs, it sure seemed like Forcier got the early hook. The competition between he and LeFevour is still ongoing, but the advantage has to go to LeFevour.

The injury bug bit again. Training camp phenom Chris Duvalt was plastered on a kick return during the first half and did not return to action; linebacker Ike Brown got dinged up in the second half; and probably the worst injury, and one that might have gone unnoticed, was the one suffered by Yannick Carter. Right at halftime, Carter was helped to the locker room by the team's trainers and it looked like a leg injury from where I was sitting. Duvalt and Brown look like they'll be back for the game against the Blue Bombers, but Carter looks like he could miss significant time.

Final Thoughts

It has been a long off-season, so seeing the Ti-Cats play again was very exciting. Seeing them loss wasn't a lot of fun, but getting a chance to see the new players in their new duds was.

While I don't like to draw too much from a preseason game, from the looks of things, the first-team offense is going to be scary. Sure, Burris will not be on pace for 800 yards passing every game, but he still looks to have a lot left in the tank. His solid play was a good sign.

The team still has things to be concerned about, but with cuts coming on Sunday, the squad that takes the field in Winnipeg in one week's time will be a much more streamlined group. I expect the coaches to work with the players on limiting the mistakes they made that cost them this game.

It was a solid effort that shows the team there is still plenty of room for improvement. Since this is the preseason, that's pretty much all you can ask for.

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