Ticats, Renegades moving at different speeds

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

It is interesting to watch two franchises address the issue of failure.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Renegades both are struggling on the field, but are tackling it differently.

The Tiger-Cats, last in the league with a 2-12 mark, have made some dramatic and, at times, bizarre mid-season moves to try and correct their sagging football fortunes. First, they radically changed the football operations, stripping general manager Ron Lancaster of much of his duties, while putting in a marketing person to handle contracts.

And the Tiger-Cats recently have been signing a slew of players in the process to evaluate for next season. Some of those players will be in uniform tonight when the Tiger-Cats play host to the Edmonton Eskimos at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

The fact the Tiger-Cats have taken this proactive approach can be seen as a sign of panic or refusing to maintain the status quo while drawing on the public's goodwill, which so far has kept Ivor Wynne packed for home games.

Of course, you can evaluate the players all you want, assuming the Tiger-Cats' football operations stay the same with head coach Greg Marshall and his staff. It's expected a new GM will be signed, one with experience in player personnel, contract signings and coaching contacts. The new GM may make hiring his own coach a condition of employment, which will leave owner Bob Young, who hired Marshall personally, with a difficult decision.

Unlike Hamilton, the Renegades' approach to failure is to do little. The new owners, Bernie and Lonie Glieberman, have resisted the urge to do quick-trigger moves while the team has gone into a freefall after flirting with first place after eight games. They now are 5-9 following their 29-18 loss to the Argos on Wednesday, their sixth consecutive loss.

The Renegades still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs, but look dispirited because of too many injuries, too many turnovers and too many defeats.

This should be the time when an owner does some major shakeup, usually with a coaching change, to jumpstart the team. Think of the changes Sherwood Schwarz made in 2000, bringing in Pinball Clemons as the head coach while still active as a player and almost seeing the team make the playoffs. And Schwarz did it again in 2002, firing rookie head coach Gary Etcheverry midway through the season and moving Clemons from president back to head coach. The team came to life and made the playoffs after appearing out of it.

The Gliebermans and their vice-president of football operations, the venerable Forrest Gregg, have made no attempt at a shakeup.

Current Renegades head coach Joe Paopao is all but finished, even if the team miraculously wins eight games this season, which contractually gives him an extension on his deal. Paopao suffered through a miserable 5-13 season last year in what became a season of turmoil on and off the football field for the Renegades.

With quarterback Kerry Joseph healthy this season, the Renegades had high hopes. After a 3-0 start, things appeared promising, but then it slowly started to fall apart.

And now everyone is wondering what the Gliebermans, who have created headlines, mostly for the wrong reasons, will do. They've sat idly so far, suggesting a major off-season shakeup is in the works.

One thing is for sure: It won't be a quiet off-season in Ottawa and Hamilton.


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