Sunday 27 June 2010

More On Summers

As I expressed yesterday, I'm a little surprised that the Tiger-Cats decided to part ways with Running Back Demetris Summers and replace him with Marcus Thigpen. Nothing against Thigpen, as I'm sure he's a great player, but Summers played phenomenally during the pre-season, and I was sure he'd make the team.

Well, Drew Edwards had an interesting take on the situation today. It seems as if Summers was viewed as a Running Back who could return kicks, while Thigpen is viewed as a Kick Returner who can also play Running Back. The latter being more attractive to the Tiger-Cat brass.

Summers was expendable because of how good DeAndra' Cobb is. I understand that "Better is Better" and "In Obie I Trust," but I don't know if I feel entirely comfortable with this move. I mean, Running Back is hardly the most injury-free position, so it would be nice to have a player like Summers who could fill in should – heaven forbid – Cobb get hurt. Who is the primary backup to Cobb now? It's Thigpen, I guess. The team is going to have to bring in another RB, no?

I have no doubt that Thigpen will be a valuable member of the Tiger-Cats in 2010, but I still think that releasing Summers was a mistake. I know Obie isn't infallible (the Zac Carlson situation shows that), and I also know that I am hardly the foremost authority on what players the Cats should keep (my Brian Calhoun adoration showed that), but this move just doesn't sit right with me.

Obviously, I hope this all works out perfectly, but I don't know if this was the correct move to make. Only time will tell.


  1. I'm not too concerned. Other players who were good returners have had success when used as running backs - Dorsey and Holmes are two prime examples.

    But I'm not sure Thigpen is all that different from Cobb to begin with.

    According to his bio, Thigpen gained 1621 yards on 337 carries at Indiana, and also had more than 1000 yards receiving, in addition to 2000+ returning kicks. And he was a track star.

    Compare to Cobb's collegiate stats: 136 carries for 900 yards and 1600 yards in KO returns with Michigan State, ran for over 1000 with Antelope Valley College before that as well as returning kicks for 367. Also ran track in high school.

    While Cobb had a few games with Atlanta returning kicks, neither player had played significant time at the pro level before joining us, and no game time at RB.

    College isn't necessarily indicative of anything, but they seem quite similar in terms of their historical production. And they're of similar size to each other. Summers, a bigger back, may have changed things up a bit. But perhaps we won't miss much at all if Cobb ever has to sit out? We'll see.

  2. Those are all great points. I guess my trepidation comes from not having seen Thigpen play. I don't remember him at Indiana (in fairness, they aren't on TV much), but if those stats aren't smoke and mirrors, maybe I need to give this a chance.

    Having seen Summers play, and knowing he had previous CFL experience with Calgary, is what makes me unhappy with his release.

    All that said, if Cobb gets hurt and Thigpen succeeds, I won't be the least bit surprised. The one thing the Cats have always been able to do, even during the bad years, was run the football. I guess I'll live by the mantras on this, and give all involved the benefit of the doubt.

  3. We probably do need a third guy who can step in though. We still have an awful lot of DBs (11) on the roster. And with 2 FBs and 2 kickers, it leaves us tighter in a few places than we were last season.