Hamilton Tiger-Cats

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

PREDICTION: 2ND IN EAST

HEAD COACH: Greg Marshall

GM: Rob Katz

OFFENSIVE THREAT: JASON MAAS

DEFENSIVE STALWART: TIM CHEATWOOD

UNSUNG HERO: AGUSTIN BARRENECHEA

KEY ADDITIONS -- QB Jason Maas, RB Josh Ranek, RB Corey Holmes, WR Kwame Cavil, SB Terry Vaughn, OL George Hudson, OL Pascal Cheron, LB Ray Mariuz, S Scott Gordon, P Pat Fleming, OC Joe Paopao.

KEY DEPARTURESRB Jesse Lumsden, OL Tim Bakker.

STRENGTHS -- Suddenly, the Ticats have become one of the deepest offensive groups in the league. The team struggled last season to score points but the additions of quarterback Jason Maas from Edmonton and running backs Josh Ranek from Ottawa and Corey Holmes from Saskatchewan give Hamilton a formidable attack. Throw in perennial 1,000-yard receiver Terry Vaughn from Montreal to a receiving corps that already includes Craig Yeast and D.J. Flick and this could be the most exciting bunch to watch this season. New offensive co-ordinator Joe Paopao has plenty to work with in his first season with Hamilton.

WEAKNESSES -- The secondary was in a constant state of flux last season but the defence still ranked sixth overall in a nine-team league. With an explosive offence, the defence just needs to hold teams to minimal points to win games. The front seven is solid, so it will be up to the defensive backs to do their job and shut down opposing offences.

INTANGIBLES -- The fans in Hamilton have responded to the ownership change that took place more than two seasons ago and have supported the team well. They've been crying for a competitive bunch and this should be their year. Games at Ivor Wynne Stadium are a great experience so the Ticats will be a tough group to beat at home. If they can go .500 or better on the road, things should go well.

PROGNOSIS -- Because of the revamped offence and solid defensive line, the Ticats should be able to host a playoff game this season.


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