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Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2023 Week 5: Game Preview, Depth Chart, And Game Prediction

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Week 5 Game Capsule

Visiting Team: Ottawa Redblacks (1-2, 3rd in the East Division)

Home Team: Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-3, 4th in the East Division)

Location: Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario

Date and Time: Saturday, July 8th at 7:00 pm EDT

Where to Watch: TSN and RDS in Canada, CBS Sports Network in the US

Expected Weather: Partly Cloud, 30% Chance of Rain, 5-15 km/h Winds

Draft Kings Betting Line: Hamilton Tiger-Cats -3, O/U 43.5 points

The Tiger-Cats are coming into this Week 5 game off of a Week 4 Bye Week with an 0-3 record. Hamilton has needed more chemistry and discipline in their three previous games, creating disappointing outcomes on the field. This week head coach Orlondo Steinauer said, “It’s not where we expected to be, where we wanted to be, but it’s where we are.” Injuries have also been a limiting factor for the Tiger-Cats, especially along their offensive line.

Despite the slow start to the season, the bye week has given the Tiger-Cats a chance to regroup and get healthy. Many of the offensive linemen that were injured will be back. They will still be without starting quarterback Bo Levi Michell, but they have had a chance to give backup quarterback Matthew Shiltz to work with the Tiger-Cats receivers. Defensively, the Tiger-Cats have suffered the consequences of untimely penalties that have extended the offensive drives of opponents.

Ottawa comes into this game after picking up their first win of the season in Week 4 against the Edmonton Elks. Quarterback Tyrie Adams helped lead them to their first win, but after sustaining an injury, he is out for the season. That opens the door for former Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to step in and take over the offence as the starting quarterback for the Redblacks. Like Adams, Masoli suffered an injury in the early part of the 2022 season and has been out since that injury occurred. Many Tiger-Cats have experience playing with Masoli, and they are excited to see him be able to make his comeback to the field.

While it could be easy to get wrapped up in a potential rivalry between the Tiger-Cats and their former quarterback, linebacker Jameer Thurman stated this week, “It’s not about them; it’s more on us.” Steinauer also restated the Tiger-Cats focus for the week “It’s more important that we focus on ourselves.” It is important to note that teams coming off of a bye week are 3-0 for the 2023 season, and the Tiger-Cats can get a vital division win if they can play fundamentally sound football for four quarters.

Tiger-Cats Depth Chart for Offence

Quarterback Matthew Shiltz will get his second start at quarterback of the 2023 season against the Redblacks. Against Montreal, Shiltz could connect with receivers Tim White and Duke Williams for explosive plays. But rather than following up with more explosive plays to get the ball in the end zone, they followed up with mistakes that cost the offence scoring opportunities.

Shiltz with have a healthy offensive line in front of him this week, and they need to protect him and allow him to find a comfort level in the game. Offensive lineman David Beard said, “We need to take care of the football, keep Matt up and keep him pressure-free.” Also, with a healthy offensive line, it would be beneficial for the Tiger-Cats to establish their run game with running back James Butler.

Wide receiver Richie Sindani talked about the mindset of the offence coming into Week 5, “We wanna figure out ways to get our offence going early, then kind of get those bigger plays throughout the game.” The biggest improvement the offence needs to make is to finish their drives by getting touchdowns rather than being forced to kick field goals or turning the ball over. Wide receiver Duke Williams mentioned that those improvements must come from the players “Once we correct the little things, everything will take care of itself.” If the Tiger-Cats have developed the chemistry to hit explosive plays consistently, they could have a big game on offence this week.

Tiger-Cats Depth Chart for Defence

The most significant question mark for the Tiger-Cats defence is their defensive backfield. This week they will have to play without the veteran leadership of free safety Tunde Adeleke. Defensive back Stavros Katsantonis will fill in for Adeleke and join a young secondary that needs to find ways to make plays. Earlier this week, defensive back Javien Elliott stated their focal point for this week “Execution, we have to take the ball away, get turnovers, that’s the main thing, get off the field.”

Getting off the field, especially in 2nd and long situations and sudden change situations, has been a weakness for the Hamilton defence. Orlondo Steinauer mentioned this weakness “We need to respond better to sudden change situations,” and he added, “We need to make timely plays consistently.” The ability to get off the field will help Hamilton defensively, but also help the offence get a better starting field position.

The defensive front will have the challenge of facing former Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli is a dual-threat quarterback that can produce explosive plays. Linebacker Simoni Lawrence said, “We are going against a great quarterback in Jeremiah Masoli, he is a rhythm guy, and we have to get him off rhythm.” At the same time, working to find a balance between pressuring and containing Masoli, the Tiger-Cat’s defensive line will need to be disciplined. Earlier this week, defensive lineman Casey Sayles emphasized, “Our defensive line needs to get pressure and get in our gaps.”

Tiger-Cats Special Teams Update

The Tiger-Cats special teams units have underperformed in the first three games of the season. Hamilton’s kick and punt return teams need to control field position and give the Tiger-Cats offence a short field to put up more points. Conversely, the kick and punt cover teams need to be sound and not allow their opponents to break the game open with a big kick or punt return. One element of the Tiger-Cat’s loss in Week 3 was their inability to contain the returners from Montreal, and the Alouettes eventually were able to break the game open.

Earlier this week, the Tiger-Cats released wide receiver and returner Lio’Undre Gallimore. Lawrence Woods III is also ruled out for the game this week. So that gives running back Tyriek McAllister the opportunity to step in on kick and punt returns. In a post-practice interview, McAllister said, “I am trying to bring some life to the team.” McAllister will get several chances to bring life and produce a big play this week as he returns punts and kicks.

Tiger-Cats Injury Report

Before Week 4, the Tiger-Cats had several players on their injury report; many were offensive linemen. That list has been much shorter this week, and many of those linemen are back on the field. Defensive back Tunde Adeleke (hamstring), fullback Bailey Feltmate (head), and offensive lineman Tyrone Riley (elbow) are all listed as out for the game.

In addition, starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is still on the Six-Game injured list and is not expected to be available this week. Several other players that did not appear on previous injury reports are also out this week. Those players are defensive back Lawrence Woods III, wide receiver Chris Osei-Kusi, and defensive lineman Mohamed Diallo.

Personnel Additions This Week

Early in the week, the Tiger-Cats signed former Edmonton Elks quarterback Kai Locksley to add more depth and experience to their quarterback position. Locksley is a multi-threat athlete that will most likely be used in short-yardage situations but could see a more dynamic role moving forward. The Elks released Locksley after refusing to get back into a game after the coaches had pulled him for fumbling a snap.

The Tiger-Cats have also signed National fullback Myles Manalo; the Tiger-Cats drafted Manalo during the 2021 CFL Draft as a linebacker. At the end of the 2022 season, Manalo moved to fullback; he started the 2023 season with the Tiger-Cats but was released. Manalo is a 6’2″, 230-pound native of Burlington, Ontario, and he played U Sports football at Western University.

Game Prediction

The Tiger-Cats come into Week 5 in need of showing improvement and ultimately getting their first win of the 2023 season. Hamilton has had opportunities to be successful this season, but in the critical moments of games, they could not make the plays that determine the game’s outcome. Steinauer addressed this earlier this week “We need to make timely plays consistently.” On defence, the Tiger-Cats have yet to get off the field on 2nd and long and have been repeatedly penalized and extending their opponents’ drives. Hamilton will need to play consistent, timely, and disciplined football to get a win this week.

Ottawa comes into the game with the momentum of getting their first win. That win comes with the loss of quarterback Tyrie Adams, but they get Jeremiah Masoli back to lead their offence. Like most CFL games, the team that makes the least number of mistakes and plays consistently over four quarters will determine the outcome of this game. Defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis described the Redblacks “They have a bunch of competitors, and they will compete until the end.” The Tiger-Cats will need to meet and exceed that energy to get their first win of the season at home.

Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 25, Ottawa Redblacks 23

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Aaron Sauter Reporter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.
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