Ticats offence a handful for Argos

Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris throws against the Argonauts at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton,...

Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris throws against the Argonauts at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., Sept. 3, 2012. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

TORONTO - Chris Jones is expecting Hamilton to bring its A game on offence as the Ticats face a virtual must-win as the second half of the CFL season officially kicks off.

Needless to say, Toronto’s defensive co-ordinator would like to see his unit step up in class, especially after he graded Monday’s performance a C.

“We either made a bad play or a very good play,’’ said Jones. “There wasn’t a lot of consistency. We had too many missed assignments.”

Chevon Walker, who likes to run off tackle, was able to get the outside, especially in the first half when Hamilton’s rookie tailback produced 91 yards on nine carries.

Late in the game, the Argos could have forced Hamilton into either attempting a third-down conversion or attempting a field goal, but an offside penalty provided the Ticats with another set of downs.

“He’s certainly a genuine back,’’ Jones said of Walker, who finished with 14 attempts and 111 yards. “We got physically beat one time. Another time we didn’t get in our gap and it allowed him to get off early. When he gets momentum, he’s tough to stop.

“We’re a man cover team and they (Ticats) were doing some things to get to our perimeter. You have to give credit to their coaching staff in getting him outside. When you give him enough opportunities, man or zone, he’ll make you miss in space. He certainly has the acceleration to go the distance.”

Whether it’s eliminating penalties, attaining a higher level of consistency, there’s plenty to work from a defensive perspective.

Holding Henry Burris to 13-of-30 is always a good thing, but the Argos aren’t about being good.

“It’s no accident that our defence is good,’’ said defensive back Patrick Watkins, who picked off Burris on Labour Day, one of three turnovers Toronto would force. “But in order to become a great defence there are things we must improve on, whether it’s individual assignments or us as a team knowing to adjust on the fly in the middle of the game.

“The ingredients and chemicals are there to be a great defence. Nine weeks in and we feel good, but we don’t feel where we could be.”

One of the revelations on defence has been Watkins, among others.

Jones wants his unit to play fast and physical, a system that puts players in positions to make plays.

Given his size, most teams would want Watkins to play inside football’s proverbial box, but Jones has moved Watkins around, a dimension that keeps Watkins on his toes and in his playbook.

“It’s a defence that’s constantly changing,’’ said Watkins. “You’re never comfortable to the point where I’m not in my playbook. I’m always in my playbook. There’s always an adjustment.”

SWAYZE LEFT HAZY AFTER BIG HIT

Swayze Waters has taken his share of lumps, been on the receiving end of some punishing blocks and can understand the violent nature of football.

As a kicker, Waters isn’t often in the middle of the mayhem, but he was on Labour Day and there’s no telling how much carnage he may see in Saturday’s rematch when the Ticats visit Toronto.

“It was a pretty good hit,’’ recalled Waters of a late first-half block he absorbed during Toronto’s 33-30 win. “But it’s football. (Chris) Williams broke it out (a missed field goal attempt) and I was mirroring the ball. When he broke it out to my left, I started taking off toward him.

“They had kept a guy back, which usually they don’t do, usually teams send all their blockers down to where the returner is. It kind of caught me off guard. I tried to cut, slipped a little bit and took a pretty good hit. I’ve got in a few tackles. If we (punters) can tackle, they can block.”

For Waters, Labour Day marked the first and potentially last time he’ll get to kick at Ivor Wynne Stadium, where the wind can play havoc.

“It was tricky,’’ admitted Waters.

At Rogers Centre, Waters has adapted to the wind that can bounce off the open side of venue when the roof is open.

“I would have expected the closed-in part to block the wind,’’ he added. “Facing that side, you’re actually going into the wind.”

Waters has adjusted well to his new team and environment.

Back in mid-July, the Argos summoned Waters when veteran Noel Prefontaine’s hip woes finally forced him to shut it down.

Waters lives with starting running back Chad Kackert and third-string quarterback Trevor Harris, who holds on field goals for Waters.


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