As we highlighted in the season preview of Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats will look to use continuity as the driving force behind this 2015 campaign. Despite a few new faces around the team, the roster heading into tonight’s contest looks largely unchanged from last year’s Grey Cup contender. With greater comfort and command of Kent Austin’s ever-changing offensive playbook, sophomore starter; Zach Collaros, will look sharp this evening.
Jeff Reinebold and his special teams magic should be on display once again this season, with ‘Speedy B’ Brandon Banks looking to explode down whichever seam Reinebold sets up for him. Defensively, the Ticats will field a near carbon copy of the roster that won the east last season, so look for chemistry to be at an all-time high amongst their linebackers, defensive backs, and linemen. Should the injury bug be less menacing for these tabbies, expect big things from these cats.
We won’t keep reiterating what most fans already know about Calgary. The Stampeders are yet again, a very good team. Veterans from the 2014 championship squad have found themselves homes elsewhere, and yet this iteration of the Stamps looks set to make another cup run. Of course, they haven’t played a game yet.
On the attack, Calgary has one of the strongest 1-2 punches in the quarterback game with Bo Levi Mitchell and Drew Tate. Jon Cornish will line up behind either of them, which is trouble for whomever wishes to stop him. The one unknown about this offence heading into a new season will be Calgary’s depth at offensive line. With Brett Jones, and Stanley Bryant gone, the Stamps will need their replacements to take on big roles as the two started nearly every game last season. Pierre Lavertu and Edwin Harrison are currently slated to take on those positions, which should provide early insight into how well this offence will fare in 2015.
On defence the Stampeders look almost identical to last season, which is bad for their opposition. Charleston Hughes is back from injury, and the 2013 sack leader will be in the hunt to re-assume the title this season. Veterans Juwan Simpson and Keon Raymond will again be leading the defensive secondary to ensure that any contested ball comes down for red.
Many will be quick to jump and call this game a re-match of the 2014 Grey Cup. Technically, that is a correct description, but do not forget what 19 weeks of regular season play, and a playoff campaign will do for your team’s performance. Both teams look good on paper, which is about as good as you can be heading into week 1. Now we have to sit back and prepare ourselves to watch the 2 best teams from last season show what they’ve learned, and what this season has in store!