Marwan Hage leaned against a railing in the Tiger-Cats locker room and considered the question.
Is this the year the Ticats, who have failed to make the playoffs in four years and have participated in the post-season just once in seven years, begin to turn the corner?
"I hope so, man," the burly centre, about to embark on his sixth season in Steeltown, said. "We have to believe."
Certainly, there's a new look to the Ticats, who have been lumped with 3-15 records in each of the past two years. Gone are a couple of big-name players, quarterback Casey Printers and running back Jesse Lumsden, a talented offensive duo that was supposed to lead the club out of the wilderness.
But Printers never got on track and was released, while Lumsden, dogged by injuries, was allowed to explore free agency and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos.
General manager Bob O'Billovich didn't go for the quick fix. Instead, he acquired a handful of savvy veterans in the off-season -- quarterback Kevin Glenn, linebackers Otis Floyd and Agustin Barrenchea and tackles Alexandre Gauthier and Dan Goodspeed -- who not only bring leadership but also a steadying presence on the field.
"I think we did better than we had hoped when we started (to re-tool the roster) back in January," O'Billovich said. "We've got a good balance of guys who have won and have experience."
Glenn and Quinton Porter form a solid combination at quarterback, and if one falters, the other is capable of stepping in seamlessly. Though he has been in the CFL for eight seasons, Glenn is not the type to ruffle feathers if he finds himself on the bench.
The additions for the Ticats should help, but what could be most vital is that head coach Marcel Bellefeuille was able to mould the team from Day 1 of training camp. Bellefeuille took over when Charlie Taaffe was fired midway through last season.
"I had five days before my first game last season, but I was able to take the off-season and put a plan together," Bellefeuille said. "I like what we have in our foundation. It's not like basketball where you can change two players and you go from Point A to Point B really fast. But the key ingredients are there now. I believe we can get to the playoffs. There will be injuries and breaks, but I think we are capable of it, for sure."
ADDITIONS AND DEPARTURES
Additions: LT Alexander Gauthier (free agent, Winnipeg), QB Kevin Glenn (free agent, Winnipeg), OL Dan Goodspeed (trade, Saskatchewan), LB Otis Floyd (free agent, B.C.), LT Simeon Rottier (draft), WR Dave Stala (free agent, Montreal), LB Agustin Barrenchea (free agent, Edmonton), LB Yannick Carter (trade, Saskatchewan), OG Zac Carlson (supplemental draft), offensive co-ordinator Mike Gibson, defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall.
Departures: QB Casey Printers (released), RB Jesse Lumsden (free agent, Edmonton), LB Sasha Glavic (trade, Saskatchewan), WR Pat Woodcock (released), WR Tony Miles (released), DE Nautyn McKay-Loescher (released), LB Nick Kordic (released), WR Jo Jo Walker (released).