Ticats’ Jones ponders changes for rematch against Riders

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats return to practice Sunday morning for the first time in 10 days, preparing to ride in the CFL’s early-season Rematch Rodeo.

Hamilton plays host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Tim Hortons Field Thursday night. Both teams are coming off a bye week after the Ticats somehow managed to lose 18-13 in Regina on July 5.

This weekend’s schedule had Toronto playing in Edmonton and Winnipeg at B.C. in the back ends of home-and-homes which opened with Argo and Bomber wins last week.

Before the first Saskatchewan game, June Jones wasn’t sure how much he was going to alter his playbook for next week’s déjà vu.

“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I think some of it will change. But at the same time, you’re going to do the things that you did well in game one, and probably throw out some of the things you didn’t do well, and tweak it from there. This is a first for me, playing the same team two weeks in a row. A least there’s a bye in there.”

We’d suggest a couple of changes: a second-half running game that was as good as the first quarter’s and starting at least one offensive drive on the good side of centre field.

CFL statistics released before this week’s games contained both positive and negative indicators for the Ticats, which makes some sense for a team that sits at .500.

The Ticats are the only team in the league which hasn’t generated a point from a turnover; they are third-last in turnovers created, with only five; Jones is 0-for-4 in challenged calls; and Hamilton ranked last in fourth-quarter points per game.

On the other side of the ledger, the Ticats led in first-half scoring and time of possession; their defence led the league in fewest plays allowed and ranks second in yards per game against; Jeremiah Masoli was only marginally behind Mike Reilly in passing yards and Brandon Banks led in both targets and receptions.

Hack honoured

Like a lot of us, Dave Hack would like to have known back then what he knows now.

And he was very good back then.

The offensive tackle from the Maryland Terrapins, who played nearly a decade for the Tiger-Cats and was a critical part of the 1999 Grey Cup winners, made the CFL east all-star team five times, including four in a row from 1999-2002.

He was this year’s honoree at the annual Cats Claws Walk of Fame’s dinner.

Beyond his post as Director of Phys. Ed. and Athletics for the Orchard Park Central School District near Buffalo, Hack also officiates high school games and runs clinics for offensive linemen, where he’s learning nearly as much as he teaches.

“There’s a lot of new stuff — techniques and ways of filming — I wish we had when I was playing,” he says.

Hack was a Ticats season’s ticket holder for two or three years after his playing career ended and still usually gets to a game or two a year at Tim Hortons Field. He keeps track of the team through ESPN broadcasts.

“It was good seeing them finish strong last year and they’re off to a pretty good start this year too,” he says.

He sees being named to the Walk of Fame “as a great honour. I’m humbled by the recognition. Hamilton meant a lot to me. I’m a Ticat through-and-through.”

It got overlooked in this space, but another Ticat great passed away last month.

Gene Ceppetelli was the centre of the Ticats’ dominant offensive line when they owned the 1960s East. He played five seasons (1963-67) for the Cats and won three Grey Cups, then won another with the 1970 Montreal Alouettes after he returned from two seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

Ceppetelli, who was from Sudbury, played his college ball at Villanova. He died in Springfield, Pa., at the age of 78.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (211 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

29 Comments on Ticats’ Jones ponders changes for rematch against Riders

  1. Paul Bomber // July 14, 2018 at 10:38 am //

    Like all these efforts to pay tribute to the past. And I’m sure he meant “honored”, not humbled. (someone beats you in a race, you get humbled. Someone says your awesome and you weren’t expecting it? That’s being honored)

  2. Frank Sabados // July 14, 2018 at 11:22 am //

    How about just win the damn Game Tiger Cats

  3. Cats need to be more consistent and not blow games like there last one. The east is all for them to finish 1st this year and a Grey cup appearance. Especially with how the 3 other east teams are looking so far. Its time for them to get ahead of the pack. GO CATS.

  4. Puck Hog // July 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm //

    Looking forward to this rematch. The Saskies need to be better to win. They have to make improvements with their OL or establish a running game or utilize screen passes- something. Anything to slow down the pressure on our qb or we lose.

    • Hamilton is going to be pis*sed off and tough to beat in their own house. You hit all the points to improve Puck Hog. The game relies on the execution of our O line. We need pass protection and running lanes.

      I think the Cats are going to come at us aggressively with their run, and quick hit pass game to get our D on their heels. If they stand tall and our O finally gets moving, we should have a decent game to watch.

  5. Jones does need a change up. He bed to get Manziel into the game at times he believe things have stalled.

  6. Enrico Arcuri // July 14, 2018 at 1:39 pm //

    The thing Jones needs to change is installing John Manziel as the #1 QB … Masoli stats are misleading … throwing INTs instead of TDs is never a good thing, you best believe if Masoli has another dud game, that the Manziel era will soon be upon us !

    • you guys clamoring for JM….be careful of what you wish for. If he gets in, it means the oily one has crapped the bed…and JM WILL NOT play at a high level…for sure, not this year, and maybe never.

  7. Nice to hear some Ticat news again after their week off. Whenever I think of Dave Hack, I remember him as being a very good and tough offensive lineman for many years but I also remember the player that replaced him on the off-season Travis Claridge who was very good but passed away that off-season.

  8. David Tress // July 14, 2018 at 1:45 pm //

    Manziel should be sent in for a series or two to shake things up and present a different look.

  9. Ari Katz // July 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm //

    Saskatchewan has the best defensive front I. The league. Their constant blitzing of six to seven guys caught the Ticat offence off guard even with Landon Rice at tight end. Change things up a little bit not only by running but throw the nice screen pass to Whitlock, Erlington and Timmis which will keep the c
    Defence off balance. Mix in some hitch screens using Jones, Saunders on top of Banks. Continue to throw deep balls to Toliver and Banks to open up the ground game and shorter screen passes to keep the defence guessing, I still think that Masoli is a little banged up. Let’s see how he is but I think there should be no hesitation in turning to Manziel as I think Manziel presents a different obstacle all together for that pass rush.

  10. Jones needs to go back to his two Canuck RBs… they are by far the most reliable and productive… still not impressed with White and Witlock…

    • Peter North // July 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm //

      Pretty sure the last game was White’s first action of the season and he only ran the ball once, maybe twice. Not sure how he can even be evaluated at this point.

  11. Masoli’s stats are totally misleading. Has made very key mistakes in key situations – fumbles and INTs. He should actually have more INTs as defenders have dropped other balls dangerously thrown into blanket coverage. However, also messes up drives – Jones foolishly decides to throw on 2nd and 2 but it is Masoli who does not complete the 2 yard pass. Yes stupid not to run the ball but we can’t complete a 2 yard pass? Drives over. Masoli does not throw the deep ball well either. For every deep ball that has some accuracy and touch there are scores that miss by miles. Most concerning? If you need drives to keep momentum, kill the clock or to win the game Masoli not the guy. If Masoli was the only option his play should be concerning but we have freakin’ Manziel in the wings. We act as if it is Masoli’s job by default. It is time to let Manziel truly compete. Let Manziel play. Nobody can say Masoli has not been given an insanely fair chance.

  12. MR. Green // July 14, 2018 at 5:30 pm //

    I think this game won’t even come close to resembling last game. I also think Manziel will get some time, even if Masoli I’d playing great. Winnipeg did a great job letting Streveler handle some plays last week. I also think Bridge, after that last drive, gave him confidence and he will be better. Hoping his start there last year also gives him confidence.
    This is a game where Hamilton could blow us out. Riders must be ready and play better, especially on second and long on defence. Chris Jones adjusted and I’ve never seen him blitz like he did in his 3 years here.
    Like the story said, they came out running the ball effectively then abandoned it. Almost wonder if they made a consious effort to get Masoli his 300 yards and will that play into the plan this week to break the record? You would think not and they will never admit that. I believe Hamilton learned last week what needs to be done and that loss could be what they needed.

  13. This is how the Cats win.
    Manzeil Masoli Manzeil Masoli
    Manzeil Masoli Manzeil Masoli
    It’s “Here’s Johnnys” turn to shine
    Nothing to lose both great Qb’s
    End of year the guy who shone throughout year should start at QB in playoffs

  14. bigplay // July 14, 2018 at 7:21 pm //

    Holy crap Snake, White had 2 carries the first 11 yards right up the gut a great run the second from Hamilton”s own 4 yard line everyone Knew it was a running situation and the exchange was a little high a loss of two yards and you made this assessment on this! WOW talk about throwing the baby with the bath water.

  15. Steve J. // July 14, 2018 at 8:06 pm //

    Play whoever you want. I don’t freakin’ care anymore. I’m so sick of all the b*tching and moaning. Go Cats!

  16. Ron Tuthill // July 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm //

    Humbled or honored they can still mean the same thing. Hack was an outstanding right tackle for the ti-cats. Whether it was the lines fine play or Danny McManus’s quick release or a combination of the two in 1998 or 1999 the line only allowed eight sacks all year. This is unheard of today and Dave Hack was a big part of it. He deserves to be honored. This was a time he was going up against Elfrid Payton and James “Quick” Parker two of the finest ends in the CFL.

  17. Dundas dude // July 15, 2018 at 1:55 pm //

    With all due respect to Timmis and the rest, we need Alex Green back. Think of beauty, watching Harris, Johnson, Jackson and Wilder pound that rock this weekend. Hamilton needs to finish this week, go Cats.

  18. If June Jones does not get Manziel for set(S) of game reps I will be disappointed and start to wonder why not. No one is saying start him at this time.

  19. TicatTO // July 15, 2018 at 9:00 pm //

    It’s interesting that over the past year comments on Ticat stories were usually Ticat fans with some occasional input from other league teams fans but that seems to have changed. Now we get trolls from other teams plus the added attraction of Manziel fanatics.

  20. Manziel is not complaining at all. listen to comebackszn podcasts on spotify. Team player.

  21. Stats are stats; numbers don’t lie. Masoli’s just fine. What needs to be tweaked are some of the play calling on offence. JJ is smart, but sometimes too cute for his own good, like most coaches. For instance, on Hamilton’s first drive against the Riders, run – run – run! Only one pass on the drive until they’re 1st down on the Sask 12 yd line, they hand off to Timmis and he gets eight, so it’s 2nd and two from the 4 yd line. Two downs to get two yards, and be 1st and goal from at least the 2 yd line, and what did Jones do? Calls a weak-ass screen pass to the right that gets knocked down, and they’re kicking a FG. Jones has said that it’s not so much about surprise as execution; guess he forgot. If the Cats had scored a TD on that drive, the game could have been completely different.

  22. hey Tiger…you sound like a testosterone-overloaded teenager…dreaming of a date with actresses Jessica Jones and Jessica Day.
    you guys clamoring for JM….be careful of what you wish for. If he gets in, it means the oily one has crapped the bed…and JM WILL NOT play at a high level…for sure, not this year, and maybe never.

  23. Here’s a thought… Do you think maybe the Cats will never play Manziel? Is his NFL promise so high (providing he stays clean) that he can’t afford to risk injury? Maybe it’s part of an undisclosed contract?

  24. Masoli does not play defense. Although the defense has played well the last couple of minutes at half or game they somehow go to sleep. Controlling 11 minutes in the first quarter and walking away with only 4 points is bad news for any team. Bad coaching calls all the way around since they call the plays. Manziel had a great college career let it go to his head with all the booze. He was mediocre at best in the NFL when he was sober if he was. There are a tremendous amount of college QB’s that stink professionally. Manziel is one of them he will do no better than Masoli. This team needs to work on blitz coverage or just mail Rick Jones the 2 points.

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