On Saturday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats accomplished the three goals of a preseason game; they were able to evaluate new players, avoided significant injuries, and picked up a win against the Toronto Argonauts. During the off-season, Hamilton made several personnel moves to put themselves into position to go on a Grey Cup championship run in 2023.
Heading into the preseason opener against Toronto, the Tiger-Cats needed to show that they could put together new names and faces on the field and produce a better product than the 2022 edition of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Offensively, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell debuted with the Tiger-Cats and found success in limited action to start the game. Mitchell found wide receiver Richie Sindani on a 32-yard completion to give both players their first touchdown as Tiger-Cats. The offensive line of the Tiger-Cats played a solid game and helped running backs James Butler and Trey Ragas run for over six yards per carry.
At wide receiver, Justin McGriff, Kiondre Smith, and Richie Sindani all made plays and showed the ability to produce explosive plays. Linebacker Bailey Feltmate also appeared on offense and scored a touchdown on a pass near the goalline from quarterback Taylor Powell.
Defensively, the Tiger-Cats played a solid game against Toronto in the first half while shutting out the Argonaut’s offense. Coming out of halftime, the Tiger-Cats struggled to get back into their groove defensively and allowed the Toronto offense to get back into the game while scoring 16 points in the 3rd quarter. Defensively, cornerback Lawrence Woods III and defensive back Stavros Katsantonis intercepted passes thrown by Argonauts quarterback Ben Holmes.
The Tiger-Cats special teams units received more attention than expected in this training camp with the return of special teams coordinator Jeff Reinebold. Reinebold’s special teams unit did not disappoint with a punt return for a touchdown by Lio’undre Gallimore and several successful kicks by kicker Ethan Ratke and Johnathan Garibay. Ratke made two convert kicks and a 19-yard field goal, and Garibay made one convert and a 46-yard field goal.
Turnovers and Third Quarter Letdowns
While the Tiger-Cats left their first preseason game with several positives and a sense of accomplishment, some lingering problems from 2022 showed up on the field. During the 2022 season, the Tiger-Cats developed a bad habit of jumping out to a lead in the first half but then having a letdown after halftime. Unfortunately, that was a problem again in this preseason opener.
The defense came out with a different intensity level in the 3rd quarter than in the first half. The point could be that the Tiger-Cat’s defensive letdown was due to getting young players on the field so that the coaches could evaluate their performance. However, regardless of the personnel on the field, the flow of the game felt very familiar to many of the disappointing outcomes the Tiger-Cats had to start the 2022 season. The offense did score in the 3rd and 4th quarters, and the Tiger-Cats did hold on for the win, but the 3rd quarter letdown is a habit that Hamilton needs to break immediately.
Turnovers were another issue that limited the 2022 Tiger-Cats’ level of success. The turnover issue triggered the signing of quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and sending former quarterback Dane Evans to BC. Mitchell had no turnover problems, but backup quarterback Taylor Powell played most of the game and had a rollercoaster-like performance.
Powell threw 20 completions on 26 attempts and a touchdown pass to Bailey Feltmate. The quarterback also fumbled the ball in the 2nd quarter, which was a flashback to Dane Evans from 2022. He also threw two interceptions in 1st down situations. One of those interceptions was in the first quarter, and the second was in the fourth quarter. After all the changes the Tiger-Cats have made, the most significant change that they still need to make is to eliminate turnovers on offense.
Preparing for Preseason Game #2
This week the Tiger-Cats are continuing training camp and preparing to face the Montreal Alouettes on the road this Friday, June 2nd, at 7:30 pm. Hamilton must come into this game ready to play a solid four quarters of football and focus on ball security. The starting players for the Tiger-Cats will likely see limited playing time as the Tiger-Cats hope to come out of the preseason with minimal injuries and accurate evaluations of the players that are new to the Tiger-Cats organization before they cut the roster down heading into the 2023 regular season.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7
Big Announcement: CFL Unveils Free Live Streaming Platforms
Get Alerts & Stay ConnectedCFL iPhone App
CFL Android App