Sunday 13 June 2010

Toronto 13, Hamilton 10

The first pre-season game is in the books, and it wasn't pretty. I was in attendance and got a first-hand view of the action. There were some positives and some negatives. The Cats lost, but in the pre-season, that doesn't really mean much. Player evaluation is what matters most, and while it is hardly my decision who gets cut, here's what I saw:

Demetris Summers looked very good. Summers shook off an early fumble and performed very well. His 77-yard kickoff return was the highlight of the day for the Cats. He also busted a couple of runs for significant gains. Summers may have been the best offensive player for the Cats this afternoon.

Quinton Porter also looked very good. He completed five of seven passes and drove the field rather easily against the Argos starters. However, just like last season, he was unable to punch the team in for a major, settling for a field goal during his time in the game.

On defense, Khari Long looked unstoppable. Three big sacks and pressure applied by him almost every time he was on the field. A great overall game from Long. The rest of the defense held up for most of the game, allowing only four field goals. The team had two interceptions and played quite well for the majority of the game.

There were two things I was really looking forward to seeing. One: who the Kick Returner was going to be; two: how Punter Justin Palardy would play. As I said earlier, Summers had the best return, but Reggie Fish also looked good on the opening return. He was injured a little later and didn't return to the game, but I will be interested to see what he does in next week's game against Winnipeg. Palardy started off great. He hit some beautiful kicks, but later in the game his kicks became wobbly. On the whole, I think Palardy played well.

The kick coverage will be much improved this year, based on today's game. The Argos never really had a chance to break one long, and the players seemed to always be in the right place.

The offense could never really get the ball going once Porter left the game. Both Adam Tafralis and Jason Boltus looked unimpressive. Neither could get any offensive momentum. Tafralis also nearly got WR Adam Nicolson killed on a completely indefensible pass that went in between FOUR Argonaut defenders. Nicolson left the game after that and didn't return. That is the type of pass that a QB cannot, under any circumstances, try to make. Nothing good would have come from it. It was a bad choice on Tafralis's part to throw that pass.

Boltus did absolutely nothing in that game that made me think he will be any type of QB for the Tabbies. His timing was off, his decision-making was questionable, and he just seemed slow in all aspects of the game. I would be surprised if he remained with the team after final cuts.

Brian Calhoun, a player I had very high hopes for, did not look impressive at all. He seemed tentative in hitting the holes and looked confused out there. He was stuffed on a third-and-short and never seemed to develop any rhythm. He did score the game's only TD, but overall I was not impressed with what Calhoun did. One area that he did very well in was pass blocking. One or two times he flipped the rushing Linebacker. I hold out hope that he'll play better against Winnipeg. After this game, Demetris Summers definitely has the edge for the backup Running Back spot.

Final Thoughts
It's hard to judge a team based on an exhibition game. I think when the top players that dressed were in, the Cats looked good. The defense was ferocious, and the offense moved the ball with relative ease. When the backups came in, the game changed. The team didn't have much of a rhythm throughout the game, but whatever rhythm was there disappeared.

It was nice to finally get the season underway. With this one out of the way, it's home for the first time since the loss in the East Division Semi-Final next Sunday against Winnipeg. I suspect that some of the starters who sat out today's game will see some action next week to please the Ivor Wynne faithful, even if only for a series or two.

On a personal level, I got to meet Tiger-Cat legend Danny McManus prior to the game today. The group of people I went with scoured the area around the Rogers Centre SkyDome for sausages and hot dogs prior to the game. We found a place on Front Street, and on our return to the stadium Danny Mac walked out... also looking for a hot dog. We spoke for a couple of seconds, at which time he said he had only one question, "Where did you guys get the hot dogs?" Why am I not surprised that Danny McManus would want some street meat before the game?

Player of the Game (Offense): Demetris Summers
Player of the Game (Defense): Khari Long


  1. Tafralis had 5 dropped passes 1for td 1 fifty yards get real moron

  2. I saw nothing out of Tafralis that made me think he's ready to unseat Porter as the teams primary backup.

    The TD pass that was "dropped" was overthrown. He missed McDaniel on that one by just a touch, but just a touch is still overthrown.

    Another pass was underthrown. He had Mann in stride and he underthrew him, which then led to the challange by Couch Bellefeuille, which was ultimately held up as being incomplete.

    Tafralis didn't look as bad as Boltus, but I saw absolutely nothing out of Tafralis that made me think he's ready to go.

  3. Wow, that Tafralis man-love is really intense among some commenters. lol

    He's got some potential. But he's still very much a project.

    Thanks for the summary - seems quite reasonable to me, though I only caught the second quarter on the radio. A balanced point of view.

    One issue I have: Why am I VERY surprised that Danny McManus *didn't* know where to find some street meat before the game?

  4. Ty, I can answer that question because he told us why. He usually has a guy right outside the doors he came out of, but because of the fences for the G20, he wasn't there, or at least that's what Danny Mac thought. That's why he didn't know where to find his pre-game dog.

  5. Danny going out there unaware of his secondary vendor? Wow, he's slipped some in retirement. :-)

  6. there is no replay in pre season

  7. Considering Coach Bellefeuille challenged the play and it was upheld, that would mean you're wrong.

  8. your so wrong

  9. Well, I was at the game and saw Coach Bellefeuille throw the challenge flag, saw the ref see a replay and then say that the call on the field was upheld. You can sit there with your assumptions or you can take the word of someone who was actually at the game; your call.

  10. Never thought one single pre-season play would matter so much to someone to keep arguing. I'm just not sure what the point of that argument really is - is it over replay, or that Tafralis was allegedly robbed of a completion?

    Good thing it won't matter so much to the coaches' evaluation of Tafralis, otherwise some anonymous fans might be pretty pissed. ;-)

  11. I'm happy to see passionate fans whether they agree with me or not (though I do wish they'd be more original than to just call me a moron, but that did give me a nice laugh) but to not take the word of a guy who saw the play and challenge transpire before his very eyes is just ludicrous. Some people just stubbornly refuse to accept when they are wrong. Oh well, can't please everyone.

  12. they told coach there is no replay in pre season and he did catch the ball.Upstairs told the ref and i was there

  13. Don't let it spoil your season Anonymous.

  14. youre buddy porter threw 5 int in prac yesterday