Refreshed Tiger-Cats looking for puur-fect season

Refreshed Tiger Cats looking for puur-fect season

Author: Ashley Munson

The Hamilton Tiger Cats get their season up and running when the Saskatchewan Roughriders visit Tim Hortons Field next Thursday. This will be a very important mark for the Ticats as it will be the 150th year in the club football history.

Last time out Hamilton finished second in the East Division with an 8-10 record, with two of those losses at the hands of the Roughriders, and advanced to the East Final – following a dominant win over the British Columbia Lions – where they fell to defeat against the Ottawa Redblacks. This time out the Ticats will look to go one better than their 2018 conquerors and they’ll aim to do so with a new set up.

The 2018 season was June Jones’ first full campaign in charge, but the eight-time Grey Cup winners have made a change with former Tiger Cat safety and punt returner Orlando Steinauer being named head coach. Steinauer won a Grey Cup as a player with Hamilton and lifted another two with the Toronto Argonauts – once as a player and once as a coach – and the newly appointed General Managers Drew Allemang and Shawn Burke will be hoping he can bring some of that success back to Hamilton, after all, it has been 20 years since they last triumphed – which is when Steinauer was playing for them.

Last years Most Outstanding Player, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, is still around and will unquestionably start. If he can maintain anything like last season’s form, then the Ticats will have a lethal weapon in their ranks. Whilst the yards Masoli can throw will be nothing new you can expect the incoming coach to make some significant improvements in the defensive areas. Ted Laurent – the 2018 Most Outstanding Canadian – will remain heavily involved but players with an element of NFL experience have arrived and will strengthen the side both on and off the field.

Lorenzo Mauldin and Julian Howsare have arrived with varying degrees of know how. Howsare is the less impressive of the two; he was highly rated at Clarion back in his college days and was a key defensive pillar for their team but his NFL exposure is limited having spent the majority of his time with the New York Jets practice team. Mauldin, however, has a wealth of experience as well as ability. Mauldin earned himself a reputation as a big-hitter during his days at the University of Louisville and was snapped up in the third round of the 2015 draft by – again – the New York Jets.

Somewhat ironically, Mauldin made his NFL debut against the Cleveland Browns where he forced a certain Johnny Manziel to fumble; he went on to have a solid, if not spectacular, rookie year but was released in 2018 following injury – a fit Mauldin will be hugely influential in the CFL.

In addition to the two new ex-Jets, last season saw the arrival of another in the shape of Jamaal Westerman who was part of the package that saw Manziel go in the opposite direction. Westerman made a strong start to life as a Tiger Cat before suffering injury and Steinauer will be hoping to call on him again in the coming months.

Under Jones the team were not a million miles away and were by far one of the more entertaining sides to watch. Steinauer is likely to take a more balanced approach but having a quarterback like Masoli in your side gives you half a chance and if they can put out a vastly

experienced defensive line in most of their games, which will probably come down to how well their fitness regimes are managed, then it’s possible they’ll put the ninth Grey Cup into the trophy cabinet after a 20 year wait.

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