Saturday, 22 September 2012

Winnipeg 34, Hamilton 12

Remember when Montreal had that hex on the Ticats? The one where they won like once in 21 games or something? As soon as they gt rid of that one, they picked up another, but this time the hex was put on by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Since that fabled four-in-seven series in 2010 – the Cats and Bombers played four times in the season's first seven games – Winnipeg has won six straight over the Ti-Cats, including four straight in Winnipeg. The latest loss came in a 34-12 rout on Friday night.

Since being inserted into the lineup, Avon Cobourne has done nothing but produce. The fire in his belly last night was evident. You heard the TSN announcers say how angry he looked when the Cats decided to kick a field goal instead of go for it on third and one in a one-score game. Cobourne is a leader and while his numbers weren't as gaudy as the previous two weeks, he was probably the best player on the field last night.

If not for the spectacular season Chris Williams is having on returns, more people would be talking about what Luca Congi is accomplishing. Congi has missed two field goals all season and has made every kick over 40 yards. Since one of the concerns heading into the season was Congi's leg strength, it is nice to see that he is becoming reliable from longer distances. Last night, Congi was the only player to register a point for the Ti-Cats. He is a player that has gotten little press this season, but he has been the team's most consistent player all season long.

For most of three seasons, I had to listen to fans (and read comments on here) about how Kevin Glenn wasn't a winner, how he was nothing more than a .500 quarterback and a million other negative comments about him. I want to know where that same criticism of Henry Burris is? Whenever I used numbers to back up any claim I made about Glenn, the horde would just want to talk about wins. Now that Burris has managed just four wins in 12 contests, all I hear from his apologists is stuff about his numbers. Funny how that happens. While I don't think Burris has been the biggest problem with this team – probably not even in the Top 10 – his hot-and-cold play has been the reason behind a couple of losses, this one in particular. Burris was just terrible against Winnipeg. He was missing receivers and he didn't even bother to run (didn't the Cats trade for him because of his running ability?) when the opportunity occurred. To put it bluntly: he sucked. He was everything that fans complained about with Glenn. The upgrade to Burris looks like no upgrade at all and I am starting to wonder when the heat will fall on him.

The other big upgrade the team made in the off-season was ditching Marcel Bellefeuille for George Cortez. Well, George Cortez has spent most of the season making fans wish Bellefeuille was still calling the shots. I want to like Cortez, I truly do, his decision-making leaves a lot to be desired. The one that will stick out in this one was his decision to kick a field goal on third-and-one instead of go for it, which is standard in the CFL. The Cats kicked and Congi hit it, but it was the last time Hamilton would score all night. Why he didn't go for it is a mystery to me.

Penalties absolutely killed them tonight. They took 17, which if you're keeping count at home is five more than the amount of points they scored, for a total of 135 yards. Sure, some of them were specious – Rey Williams being called for "offside" because he had his arm pointing across the line of scrimmage is one of the stupidest calls I have ever seen in my life – but the fact of the matter is, the Ti-Cats once again went to Winnipeg and shot themselves in the foot.

Final Thoughts
This season is over, isn't it? They aren't winning the Grey Cup, they aren't hosting a playoff game and they probably won't even make the playoffs. This is just a bad football team. Is this the most disappointing season in Tiger-Cat history? I think it is the most disappointing one that I can remember. I know there have been seasons where the team was expected to be good, but most of those followed seasons in which they were bad. This was a team that was one game away from playing for a championship last year, so expectations were sky high and for good reason.

I know a lot of people are ready to quit this team, and I don't blame them one bit, but maybe I just enjoy the punishment because I will continue to solder on. Perhaps out of loyalty or perhaps out of pure idiotic naivety, I won't say the season is truly over until the season is actually over. Until Hamilton has been eliminated from the playoffs, I will hold out hope that they will find a way to turn it around and win the Grey Cup. Is it likely? No, but that won't stop me from believing that anything can happen.


  1. You are correct in that you said not to look at win-loss records. I agree with you.

    At the end of the day, that's all it comes down to though.

    But if you look at what you want to compare, stats, offensively we are so much better this year vs any of the 3 years with Glenn. I think Burris also has a weaker running game with Walker and some oline changes have made that unit weaker but the stats don't lie and Burris is a much better QB.

    The special teams is pretty much the same in my opinion, good returns (Thiggy, Williams), good punting and good kicking. I have no complaints about this unit.

    As for the defense, I think you can agree it's worse than the previous 3 years.

    If you take our offense from this year and our defense from any of the past 3 years, and we have up to 4 more wins.

    The way I look at the record of 4-8 is by what has cost us games.

    The offense is 3-3. The defense is 1-5.

    The offense didn't show up in 3 games and the 3 games they won, the defense gave up way to many points. The 3 losses are SSK, Toronto after LD and 2nd Winnipeg game.

    The defense's 1 win was against Edmonton because they held tough in the first half. The sad thing is, that 4 of the 5 losses could have been prevented. The first 4 games of our 5 game losing streak should or could have been won.

    In all 4 games, we were either tied or winning in the last 3 minutes. 1 stop in each of those games and the outcome would have been different.

    I do not want Bellefeuille or Glenn back.

    With Glenn, the offense would sputter for 2-3 quarters every game and when we lost, we were never really that close in games. Burris has his off games too but his off games are way better than Glenn's bad games.

    With Bellefeuille, I don't think that he could take this team any further than he did. The playoffs last year was indicative of his 3 years in Hamilton, play 1 brilliant game vs Montreal and then just can't get anything going in Winnipeg. I guess you could say the same thing about Glenn.

    The question now is, is Cortez > Bellefeuille. I see them as really the same to be honest. The issue with Bellefeuille was that he never seemed too upset after a loss and never held his guys accountable. With Cortez, the interviews are exactly the same and I don't see any upgrade over Marcel in the overall scheme of Head Coaching.

    Cortez is a great OC. I don't know if he knows enough about defense to put in his 2 sense and help make adjustments.

    Rookie head coaches are tough to go with when you have a team that needs a few tweaks to take it the next step.

    I have always been leary about hiring a rookie head coach. Never really liked the Bellefeuille hiring or the Cortez hiring or even the Greg Marshall (Western Coach) hiring. I would have rather see Kent Austin or even a guy like Danny Maccochia. Not a huge fan of Danny, but the Guy has won a Grey Cup. Charlie Taafe didn't work out but he too, like Cortez, was hired late (January) and your co-ordinators mostly have jobs at that time.

    If the Cats had acted sooner, they could have gotten Milanovich (yes I know, rookie head coach, but let me explain) and Chris Jones.

    A rookie head coach can work if they hire the right co-ordinators. Chris Jones is an experienced co-ordinator so the rookie head coach really doesn't have to spend much time with the D as he is more familiar with the offense.

    The difference between 4-8 and 8-4 with this team is 1 stop in 4 games, that's all.

    1. Whether the difference is one stop or 100 stops, the fact of the matter is the team is 4-8. When 6-6 wasn't good enough, there is no excuse for 4-8. After three years of what most labelled mediocre football, I don't see how regressing can be seen as a positive. We'll see where everything stands at the end of the season, but anything short of a Grey Cup appearance will be an absolute failure and make all the moves made in the off-season mean nothing.

  2. If you improve the defense, this team will improve over the last 6 weeks and if they can some how get into the playoffs, we could do some damage.

    I like the moves with the DBs that we have made but I never thought that it was the real weakness of the defense.

    Markeith Knowlton hasn't been himself since 2010. He said last year was because of the schemes but he keeps his job and Baggs doesn't? This year, he hasn't played that well when he has been healthy. After a couple games with Carlos Thomas, I think the Cats have hit a gem with Brock Campbell.

    The d-line has shown up for 1 game. This team goes as the d-goes.

    Also, not a big fan of Rey Williams. He seems to always be in chase mode and never steps up in the hole to take on the running back.

    I expect next year the Cats to rebuild and not win many games so that they can put a good push on in 2014 with the new stadium.