Coming into the season the Tiger-Cats had made appearances in the last 2 Gray Cup championship games, and it was expected that they would continue to be successful and make a run at a 3rd straight Gray Cup championship game. At this point in the season, the Tiger-Cats have not looked like a team that is capable of being a championship team in the CFL.
In Week 5 of the CFL season, Hamilton has a bye week after starting the season with 4 straight losses. Commonly, teams will use a bye week to allow players to recover and rejuvenate, but it is also an opportunity for the coaching staff to take a look at how the team is performing and make decisions to improve their performance in the future games.
There is no doubt that head coach Orlondo Steinauer and his coaching staff will be using this bye week to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the 2022 Tiger-Cats. Today we will take a look at 6 areas that have led the Tiger-Cats to a disappointing start to the season.
Quarterback Dane Evans
In the off-season, the Tiger-Cats decided to let go of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and give quarterback Dane Evans full control of the Hamilton offence. In the previous season, Evans had been an effective backup quarterback that was used for short-yardage plays and had an excellent passing performance in the 2021 Eastern Divison Finals.
But so far in 2022 Dane Evans has been unable to get comfortable as the leader of the Tiger-Cats offence. His performance has been defined by multiple turnovers, including 3 turnovers that have led to defensive scoring opportunities for the Tiger-Cats opponents. These turnovers have been a result of a lack of attention to detail, indecisiveness, and an inability to show growth as a player over the first 4 weeks of the 2022 season.
An ongoing problem for the Tiger-Cats has been a revolving door of offensive line personnel. To build an effective offensive line you have to put capable players in positions that match their skill sets and then get a large number of plays together to build chemistry within the group. In 4 games the Tiger-Cats have used 4 different offensive line combinations.
The left tackle position has been a known personnel weakness and directly affects pass protection. Along with an inconsistent lineup and poor pass protection, the offensive line has been unable to work together to establish an effective running game. This combination has made it very difficult for the Tiger-Cats offence to get into a rhythm so far this season.
Offensive weapons fail to produce explosive plays
If you look at the Tiger-Cats offensive personnel, you will see a lack of elite speed. The offense is built around a group of possession receivers and running backs that are unable to overcome the lack of offensive line run blocking. This offensive model can be effective at times in you commit to a high-efficiency passing offence, but the Tiger-Cats receivers have had several dropped passes.
This puts the offence into a position of being predictable and having to throw low percentage passes regularly. This leads to protection issues and eventually allows the defense to play aggressively and take the ball away from the Tiger-Cats offence.
Offensive Coordinator Tommy Condell
The primary role of an offensive coordinator is to build an effective game plan and then execute that game plan each week. Hamilton’s offence under the direction of Condell has lacked both, a sound game plan and effective execution. Offensively, the Tiger-Cats look like a team that lacks confidence and does not seem to have the ability to make adjustments as the game progresses especially in the 2nd half of games. The result is an offensive that appears to just run a collection of plays rather than a game plan, and this is especially true when the Tiger-Cats try to manage a lead against their opponent.
Lack of effective edge rusher
When building an effective defense it is important to find ways to produce edge pressure against opposing quarterbacks. This has a major issue for the Tiger-Cats defence, they have produced some quarterback sacks but they have had to use blitz schemes that use the defensive backfield to produce pressure on the opponent’s quarterbacks. The best pass rusher on the Tiger-Cats defensive line is defensive tackle Dylan Wynn.
But when your best pass rusher is on the interior of the line it gives the quarterback the ability to get out of the pocket and extend plays. A quarterback’s ability to extend plays puts additional pressure on the defensive backfield of the Tiger-Cats. This combination has overextended the defensive backfield and led to their 4th quarter breakdowns.
One of the most important factors for winning CFL games is winning the turnover battle. The ability to take the ball away from opponents and set up short field possessions on offence greatly increases offensive performance. So far in 2022, Hamilton has been on the wrong side of the turnover ratio. The result is that the Tiger-Cats offence routinely gives up points to their opponent’s defence, and they continually put the Tiger-Cats defense in situations in which they have a poor field position. When you put these two factors together you see the Tiger-Cats taking away their scoring opportunities while putting their opponents in a position to easily score points.
During this bye week, the Tiger-Cats need to take a deep look at these areas of their football team. The coaching staff needs to make adjustments to solidify these areas and give the Tiger-Cats a chance to win games. Currently, the Tiger-Cats are 0-4, but there are in a unique situation. They play in the East Division of the CFL, and in 2022 that means that they play in a division in which all teams have the same issues that they have.
The teams that can make adjustments the fastest will eventually rise to the top of the East Division. If the Tiger-Cats can take an honest look at themselves and fix their weak areas they can still win this division and make the CFL playoffs. We will find out over the next couple of weeks if the Tiger-Cats are capable of getting things back on track for their 2022 season.
Stay with CFL News Hub for the 2022 season.
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