Tiger-Cats in quite some 'rut'

The Tiger-Cats have lost five games in a row going into Saturday’s game against Edmonton — who are...

The Tiger-Cats have lost five games in a row going into Saturday’s game against Edmonton — who are on a similar losing streak. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

HAMILTON - Head coach George Cortez uses the term “rut” to describe the Tiger-Cats five-game losing skid.

Quarterback Henry Burris refers to the problems as growing pains and “a hole” the Tabbies have dug for themselves these past five weeks.

But what both men and the rest of the 46-man roster know is that it can’t stay this way much longer.

Not without more substantial change than the team has made in the past week or so.

“I think they understand there is a sense of urgency,” Cortez said of his team. “We need to get out of the rut we are in. We are in a hole and we need to get out of it.”

Standing in the way of that happening this weekend are the Edmonton Eskimos, a team coming off back-to-back losses of its own in the western version of the Labour Day Classic games.

“We are that same type of team right now,” Burris said of his Ticats and the visiting Eskimos. “We’ve been embarrassed the past few weeks. Playing here at home we don’t want to have the same performance we had here last time against Toronto.”

Burris, on more than one occasion in his conversation with the assembled media made reference to the mistakes the team has made and how that — not a perceived lack of talent on the roster — was the cause.

And while that may be true on the offensive side of the football for the Ticats, the team’s actions spoke louder than any opinion could about the team’s defence.

Following a 45-31 loss in Toronto last week in which Chad Kackert ran wild for 172 yards on the Ticats defence, Bob O’Billovich and the Tabbies braintrust, which had already added defensive tackle Torrey Davis to the roster in the days leading up to the Toronto game in a deal with Calgary, went out and made a deal with B.C., bringing in Brandon Peguese.

Davis will start at defensive tackle with the full week of practice under his belt while Peguese, who only arrived on Wednesday will dress and according to Cortez is very much in the team’s game plans for Saturday’s game.

Davis will start in place of the injured Ronnell Brown at defensive tackle while Peguese is listed third on the depth chart at defensive end behind starter Bruce Davis and backup Brandon Boudreaux.

Torrey Davis isn’t making any promises with regards to sack predictions or his abilities as a run-stuffer, but he said he does like the fact that people will be watching him with some level of expectation.

“Maybe yeah, but I love it,” he said. “That makes me play even better when I know people are looking at me. I love it with a passion. I’ve done it before. It’s not complicated or stressful to me in any way. It’s just something I love to do.”

On offence, the only change that could have an impact is the addition of Aaron Kelly to the 46-man roster to bolster a receiving corps that already includes Chris Williams, Onrea Jones, Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz, Dave Stala and Sam Giguere.

Grant, who had a number of drops a week ago in his first game back after breaking his hand, should be better but really the whole team has to be if the Ticats are going to get out of this funk.

“We need this win right now,” Burris said. “We need to win at home No. 1, but we need to get out of this hole that we are in which is the most important thing going on right now as far as within this team.”

When slumps drag like the one the Ticats are in, there is always the risk that finger-pointing starts. Defensive end Greg Peach says that has not been the case in Hamilton.

“We are the same team and we’ve got the same attitude and we’re not going to change just because a few things haven’t gone our way,” Peach said in response to a what-have-you-learned question. “It’s the same atmosphere in there. We’re here to work. There’s no separation. There is no pointing fingers and that’s the positive of the situation I guess. I’ve been in situations where there has been (finger points) from college to the pros so that’s what’s encouraging for our team.”

A win on Saturday and hopefully Peach will be able to point to something a little more positive than simply the fact that there has been no in-fighting to date.

HAGE DONE FOR THE SEASON

Sometimes the game of football is just cruel.

For the second year in a row Marwan Hage, one of the true good guys in the game, is being forced to prematurely call it a season.

Last year it was a knee injury that did in the Ticarts veteran centre. The injury occurred on Labour Day and officially ended his season about three weeks later.

This year it is a triceps injury, an injury the Tiger-Cats thought was getting better as recently as last week and according to head coach George Cortez, the team and Hage had started to consider contract-extension talks. That may still be the case, but those talks were put on hold as an MRI that was supposed to reveal how well the injury was healing, instead came back saying he required surgery.

Hage will go under the knife next Thursday.

Hage has already missed three games this year due to injury with the team shifting Tim O’Neill over to Hage’s centre position from his normal position at guard. That will be the way the Tiger-Cats go the rest of the year ... barring another injury.


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