CFL Preview: Hamilton looks to create distance in East standings

Montreal trying to keep pace against the East's best

The Ti-Cats will get some major firepower back this week in Bralon Addison (86) and Jeremiah Masoli. Kyle Marshall/Toronto Observer

Week 9 in the Canadian Football League wraps up on Saturday when the first half of a doubleheader sees the Montreal Alouettes travel to Hamilton to take on the first-place Tiger-Cats.

Hamilton (4-3) has won three of its last four games and hopes to remain perfect at home, having not lost at Tim Hortons Field since their final regular season game in 2018, against the very same Alouettes. 

Meanwhile, the Als (2-4) have lost four of their last five games, despite leading the league in many offensive categories, including total points per game, total yards per game, rushing yards per game, net offence and sit second in passing touchdowns behind the B.C. Lions. 

Ti-Cats head coach Orlando Steinauer understands and respects the threat that Vernon Adams and Co. pose. 

“Their offence really has yet to really be stopped when it comes to yardage and that sort of thing. They seem to keep the ball, not a lot of two and outs, their time of possession is high,” he said, after practice. “We’re going to have our hands full. They’re definitely a better football team than when we played them the first time.”

In that first matchup, the Ti-Cats came away with a 27-10 victory. Montreal sputtered and struggled to move the ball and didn’t score after the eight-minute mark in the second quarter.

But the following week, the Als would drop a 50 spot on the Redblacks, and the league got a taste of what that offence could do. 

One advantage for Hamilton is that it seems even more likely that quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will be back starting as he took the majority of first-team reps at practice on Thursday. 

Masoli hasn’t taken the field in a game since sustaining a rib injury in week two against Saskatchewan. He has dressed for the last couple of contests while David Watford filled in for injured backup Dane Evans. Read the full injury report here.

Montreal native Sean Thomas Erlington, who returned from his own injury last week, is excited to have Masoli back.

“It’s just great. It’s amazing having him, having his voice in the huddle. Just his confidence brings the whole offence up.”

Sean Thomas Erlington (31) is happy to have Masoli’s leadership back on the field. KYLE MARSHALL/TORONTO OBSERVER

With the signal caller on the home side coming off a rib injury, Adams was a full participant in practice all week after suffering a rib injury in last Friday’s nail-biter against the Argos while still leading a near comeback. 

Steinauer also revealed to reporters that the team has released receiver DeVier Posey. The 2017 Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player signed with Hamilton before the eventually cancelled 2020 season, and then again for 2021, but has been on the injured list all season. 

His now-former head coach emphasized how hard this direction was to go, but knows that Posey will land on his feet soon. 

“These are tough decisions and there’s going to be more to be made,” Steinauer said. “I would be very shocked if he’s not playing for somebody by the end of the year.” 

Hamilton will get a chance to continue their dominance at home, playing five of their next seven games at Tim Hortons Field, which Thomas Erlington said they’re hoping to take advantage of. 

“It’s amazing. We’re trying to go undefeated this year again at home and we’re trying to just go off the good 2019 season,” he said. “The fact that we get to play five of those seven games at home is just incredible.” 

Storylines to watch: Adams and William Stanback seem to be the most dangerous quarterback/running back tandem in the league at the moment, and if they catch fire, they could put the Als back in the race for the Eastern Division … Bralon Addison and Brandon Banks were both full participants in Thursday’s practice and will be returning to the lineup on Saturday, with Addison playing his first game of 2021.

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Posted: Oct 1 2021 3:27 pm
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