Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats


Will Week 6 be the week that the Tiger-Cats get their first win of the 2022 season? For the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, this week is a critical opportunity to put together a high-quality four-quarter performance and get this win. Hamilton is coming off a bye week, and CFL teams are 3-1 coming off of bye weeks this season.

The Tiger-Cats are hosting the Redblacks, and have played significantly better at home in 2022. The Redblacks are coming into the game with numerous and significant injuries. Those injuries affect many different areas of the Ottawa roster, but the most significant is the loss of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

In contrast, the Tiger-Cats should be coming in fresh out of their bye week. They do have a few injuries, most notably to linebacker Simoni Lawrence and wide receiver Papi White, both have been ruled OUT for this game.

Regardless of the team’s records and the injury situation, both teams are facing, the winner of this game will be the team that plays the best fundamental football and makes the least number of mistakes. Offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl said, “We have to stay true to what we are with our core and foundation.” Generally, consistency is the key to improving in the CFL, the Tiger-Cats are starting to get to a point of consistency in their lineup, especially with regards to the offensive line, although they will be using their 5th different combination of players in 5 games . Head coach Orlondo Steinauer said, “we are prepared and ready for this game.”

With this being the Tiger-Cat’s first opportunity to face a team from the struggling East division, it will be important for Hamilton to play with confidence and play their most complete game of the 2022 season. If they can get this win, the O-4 Tiger-Cats will potentially leave this weekend tied for 1st place in the CFL East. We will look at what the Tiger-Cats need to do to accomplish that goal with this week’s 5 Growling Questions.

Growling Question #1

Can the Tiger-Cats defend pressure the Redblacks quarterback and produce four or more quarterback sacks?

The Redblacks will be giving quarterback Caleb Evans his first start of the 2022 season. It will important for the Tiger-Cats defence to take advantage of this situation by applying pressure and creating disruptions in the Redblack’s offence.

Due to the Jeremiah Masoli injury, Caleb Evans is being thrown into the fire and will need to have time to settle into a rhythm. The Tiger-Cats need to do everything possible to keep that from happening. In this game, the Hamilton defense needs to play aggressively and be willing to force the quarterback into making errors.

Growling Question #2

Will the Tiger-Cat’s defensive front seven be able to contain the Redblack’s run game and hold their rushing attack to less than 4 yards/carry?

With a new starter at quarterback, the Redblacks will need to be able to establish their running game to allow time for Caleb Evans to get comfortable. In their first four games, Ottawa’s William Powell has been able to 113 rushing yards on 22 carrying giving him an average of 5.1 yards/carry. If the Tiger-Cats allow William Powell to take over it will negate the advantage that the Tiger-Cats have due to the Redblacks quarterback situation. It will be important for the Tiger-Cats front 7 to be able to play aggressively and make the Redblack’s offence one-dimensional. Hamilton will have to accomplish this without Simoni Lawrence, so we will see if his replacement Kyle Wilson can step up and make a difference in this game.

Growling Question #3

Will the Tiger-Cats offensive line be able to protect Dane Evans and give up less than two quarterback sacks?

The Tiger-Cats ongoing offensive line saga continues with Alex Fontana being re-activated and returning at the center position. Other than Fontana, the rest of the Tiger-Cats offensive line is the same lineup that started for the Edmonton game in Week 4. This element of consistency should lead to improved performance by this much-criticized unit.

Coming into this game there has been major issues at left tackle, and fundamental pass protection issues. Chris Van Zeyl said, “when our guys are set at different levels you allow cracks and seams and that’s when (defensive) guys get home.” With Colin Kelly making his second start at left tackle, and Alex Fontana being the only new addition to the lineup, this could be the week that the Tiger-Cats offensive line comes together and has a good game.

Growling Question #4

Can the Tiger-Cats score three touchdowns?

To win this game the Tiger-Cats are going to have to score touchdowns. Whether they score on offence, defence, or special teams is not as important as scoring touchdowns rather than field goals. On paper, Hamilton comes into this game with several advantages over the Redblacks.

The Tiger-Cats need to exhibit a killer instinct, take this game over, and finish it. If the Tiger-Cats make numerous mistakes and fail to score when given the opportunity, then their advantages will melt away. The Redblacks are coming into this game with many issues, the Tiger-Cats need to come in and take this win.

Growling Question #5

Can the Tiger-Cats win the +/- turnover battle?

The most important factor for winning games in the CFL is winning the turnover battle. The primary reason that the Tiger-Cats are 0-4 is their habit of turning the ball over in the 4th quarter. Had the Tiger-Cats effectively protected the ball in Week 2 and 4, they would be 2-2 right now and in first place in the East. They cannot keep turning the ball over, and keep allowing their opponent’s defense to score touchdowns against them. To win this game the Tiger-Cats offence needs to protect the ball, and their defense needs to force turnovers. This statistical area will determine the winner of this game.

The Tiger-Cats are well aware of their situation, win this game, and will have the opportunity to start building towards a turnaround in this 2022 season. Defensive back Alden Darby Jr. said “we are one game out of first place in the East”, and he mentioned, “our fans want us to put on a show, and that is what we are gonna do.” For the 2022 Tiger-Cats, this is the moment that they need to come together and get this win. This Saturday at 5 pm at Tim Hortons Field, the Tiger-Cats will need to come out with confidence and aggression and get this Week 6 win vs. the Ottawa Redblacks.

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

Full coverage of the 2022 season on CFL News Hub.

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