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Dear Hamilton – Learn From Our Past

Published: Tuesday, Jul 18th 2017, 2:07pm

By: Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

We may only be 4 weeks deep into the 2017 CFL season but most the games are already in midseason form. 2017 is looking like it will be one of the most tightly contested seasons in CFL. Every team seems to be in every game despite their records with maybe one exception (coffHamiltoncoff).

Is Hamilton really this bad?

To paraphrase a line from my favourite man of the cloth Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr, “Short answer ‘NO’ with a ‘BUT’, long answer ‘Yes’ with an ‘IF’.

Short answer: NO, Hamilton isn’t really that bad, BUT only if you are talking the musical.

Long Answer: YES, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats really are this bad and IF they don’t turn it around there is going to have to be some changes in the front office.

Now don’t think I am saying that Kent Austin should be looking for a soft place to land, he is by all accounts untouchable, but the structure of the system he has set up is recipe for disaster.

Starting on the coaching side, he has a coordinator that doesn’t coordinate. From all reports, there is dysfunction in the Ticats offense because Austin is completely hands on, leaving his sophomore Offensive Coordinator, Steve Ptaszek, acting as an assistant and filling a coaching spot in title.

Then on the front office side, Austin is not only Head Coach but VP of Football operations, but Eric Tillman is the General Manager. Under normal hierarchy, its VP then GM then Head Coach, but not in Tiger Town. Essentially Austin is his boss’ boss, which seems like a super idea in the long run.

Now if there was only some recent history that would prove that neither of those situations are ideal.

Maybe some place in the league…

Maybe a franchise that both Tillman and Austin are familiar with…

Maybe the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Two of the worst seasons in recent Rider record they had the exact same systems in place, albeit not at the same time.

2011 Season: Ken Miller quits coaching and gets the golden ticket to the position of VP of Football operations. The team hires Greg Marshall to be their new Head Coach, and the team goes from 2 straight Grey Cup appearances to 1-7 to start the season and fire Marshall less than 1/6 of the way into his 3-year contract. Instead of promoting an interim coach for the remainder of the season, they decide to put Grandpa Kenny back on the field.

So, you had a situation where the General Manager, Brendan Taman, was stuck between Ken the coach and Ken the VP. Fortunately, for the Riders the experiment ended when Miller announced he was stepping away from football completely before the end of the season.

Final Season Record: 5-13

2015 Season: Head Coach Corey Chamblin finally got full control of the defense when the team decided not to retain Richie Hall as defensive coordinator. While Hall’s defensive style wasn’t flashy or as aggressive like Chamblin wanted, it was suited for the athletes the team had at the time.

Defensive pressure, tight coverage, never get beat on the deep ball, bend don’t break. More importantly it won games.

With Hall gone Chamblin hired Greg Quick to be the new puppet, I mean, defensive coordinator. It became abundantly clear that Quick was put in the role to fill it in title while Chamblin was going to call the defensive plays. Despite some decent offensive numbers, the Riders went 0-9 before Chamblin was fired. Quick finished the season and resigned as defensive coordinator, on the plus side he had more wins than Chamblin did as defensive coordinator that year.

Final Season Record: 3-15

Those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, or in the Ticats situation do 2 really dumb things at the same time.

There are fans that believe that the Ticats have plenty of season to turn this thing around, its not unheard of a team having a slow start, the 2011 BC Lions started 0-5 and won the Grey Cup. However, the Lions were within 8 points on 4 of those 5 losses, the Ticats have lost by more than 2 touchdowns in all 3 games.

So, can Hamilton turn it around and get back to being a beast of the East?

Really short answer…

Hell No!


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