My thoughts about Johnny Manziel….

My thoughts about Johnny Manziel….

‪As many, if not all, fans of pro football in both sides of the border have heard the news today that former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel will not be coming to the CFL. Included in this post was the words I wrote on my Facebook page from earlier today…

My opinion about Manziel as a football player hasn’t changed, but I’m well aware of this man’s poor character decisions off the field. ‬

‪Like every human, assaulting/abusing people is never okay. The league and the team understood that despite Manziel has been admitted to and completed rehab and anger management classes. ‬

‪I’m a believer of second chances, but as long as accountability and maturity is at is prime priority. The league made the right decision to not allow Manziel into the league until he steps up with consistency to be a better human being.‬

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Kent Austin Revokes Head Coach Role, Remains VP of Football Operations

Kent Austin Revokes Head Coach Role, Remains VP of Football Operations

After four plus years at the helm, Kent Austin has officially relinquished his duties as Head Coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Austin will remain with the team as Vice President of Football Operations. June Jones will now assume the role as Head Coach. 

Austin joined the Tiger-Cats in 2013 as VP of Football Operations, Head Coach and General Manager. No noble Ticat fan will forget the significant impact Kent Austin made in his tenure as HC. From taking over a team in disarray (Full season in Guelph in 2013, half season at Mac) to a Grey Cup challenger every year. Furthermore, he led an organization through the Mount Rushmore full of injuries every season and made the playoffs every year. 

Now, as of this time of writing, I haven’t seen any posts on social media praising or critiquing this news. However, what I have seen over the last month is, for the most part, is the unnecessary bashing of the team and its amount of selfish. I’m all for fair discussion and proper critique, but to unfairly critique without merit and lack of knowledge in the business and the sport buy overlapping others opinion to justify ones needs is wrong. 

The football team is not perfect. Ever since Quarterback Zach Collaros went down in late 2015, the team lost its position, not its edge, as a prime contender for the Grey Cup championship. Despite a due diligence of a season last year (Masoli played admirably given the quality of the team that was again derailed by injuries), the team never had a proper formula as they once again this year had several key players out. Jeff Reinebold was released as Defensive Coordinator earlier this month, signalling that the end of Kent Austin with the team is closer than it was originally predicted. 

I respect and commend Kent Austin for what he has done with this team on the field. He shouldn’t have been unfairly reprimanded almost every week by these bandwagoners whose agenda is to feed their lack of knowledge and one sided perspective to social media (most notorious is the Facebook group page Hamilton Tiger Cats Fans) during the four plus seasons with organization. Glad he’s still the Vice President of Football Operations as he got a great eye for talent.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2017 Season Preview

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2017 Season Preview

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats head into the 2017 Canadian Football League Season with lofty expectations. 

The team had a compelling offseason as well as training camp, with big key moves to strengthen the secondary and a kicking competition in which it had question marks going into, and still now heading for the season opener. 

Here is the look of the three phases of the team….

Offense

Quarterback Zach Collaros comes into the season as the ace of the franchise. Despite the great talent and memorable performances ever since he dawn the black and gold, Collaros’ kyryponite has been injuries. In his past three seasons with Hamilton, the Cincinnati, Ohio native has never played a full season. With great talent and entering the prime of his career, Collaros needs to stay healthy. If he can accomplish that, both he and Tiger-Cats are destined for an oppurtunity to compete for the Grey Cup in Ottawa. Jeremiah Masoli has proven that he can be a primary insurance policy, but afterwards, there’s a logjam of third string quarterbacks. Everett Golson (currently on the IR), and Logan Kilgore will do recurring duties as the third stringer this season.

Running Back C.J. Gable appears to be more healthy than he has been since his stellar 2013 rookie season. After his respectable season last year, the USC alumnus will look to retain his good health, and put together a thriving 2017 campaign. If so, it will benefit not only him, but the Tiger-Cats offense that is counting on his production and protection. Ross Scheuerman will be the prime backup, along with second year Canadian Mercer Timmis. Carl-Oliver Prime 

The receiving core should be good this year. The core consisting of Terrence Toliver, Luke Tasker, Brandon Elliott, Mike Jones and Bryan Tyms should provide speed and reliability for Zach Collaros to ulitize. After a great showing at camp, Felix Laubert-Laussier and special teams ace Brandon Banks are the most notable backups for the receiving core.

Regarding the Offensive Line, this is the most important question for the offense this season…Can they consistently protect Collaros? All things considered, this O-Line is better than the previous years. The core consisting  Xavier Fulton and rookie Jordan Swindle anchor the blindside (Tackle) areas, while second year Brandon Revenberg and Ryan Bomben is at Guard, and Mike Filer in the Centre position. 2017 draft pick Brayden Schram and Landen Rice provide the backup.

Defence/Special Teams

At the Defensive Line, Johnathon Chick, Ted Laurent, Michael Atkinson and Adrian Tracy anchor the line that can cause a ton of damage and headaches to the opponents offense this season. Justin Capicciotti will serve as a primary backup to Chick and Tracy, and should be a beneficial contribute this year. Rookie D-Linemen Hamiltonian Justin Vaughan, first round 2017 pick Connor McGough, and Davon Coleman will play a critical role this season as they bring a lot of promise. Look for Evan Gill to also play a factor, when healthy.

For the Linebackers, Simoni Lawrence will anchor a tenacious trio with Larry Dean at the middle, and newcomer Will Hill at the SAM. Second year Terrell Davis and McMaster alumnus Nick Shorthill is expected to play a role in certain defensive formations throughout the campaign. 

In the secondary, Emmanuel Davis, prized free agent Abdul Kanneh, Craig Butler, and Courtney Stephen anchor what could be a special group that can cause repeatable damage to the opponents. Cornerbacks Justin Rogers and Richard Leonard will get to play a key role, while Ethan Davis and recent signee Aaron Berry will join Jay Langa and Mike Daly as valuable backup pieces, but just as important at special teams.

Under a familiar face in Jeff Reinebold as Defensive Coordinator, expect a lot of aggressive pass rush, and lot of in your face coverage this season.

Returner specialist Brandon Banks is looking to re-establish himself as the dominant special teamer he can be. Sergio Castillo overcame multiple kickers to win the kicking job after an impressive showing during preseason albeit there was no field goals.  With new Special Teams Coordinator Dennis McKnight, and the unit already showing great strides at camp and preseason, all good things can be delivered.

Prediction

Hamilton finishes first place in an interesting Eastern Division, with them going to the Grey Cup. If the team gets fully healthy down the stretch, they can contend as advertised for the Grey Cup, with the record of 12-6.

Jeff Reinebold becomes new Tiger-Cats Defensive Coordinator 

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced earlier Monday afternoon that Jeff Reinebold has been named as the new Defensive Coordinator. 

Reinebold has over thirty years of coaching experience in pro football, 13 in the Canadian Football League. The veteran coach came to Hamilton in 2013 as Special Teams Coordinator, and as a Linebackers Coach in 2014. 

As the Special Teams coordinator, he oversee the emergence of a superstar Kick Returner and fan favourite Brandon Banks, as he rose to the elite level of historic proportions in short, but ongoing CFL career.