2021 CFL Preview: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

by Sean Murphy

In our penultimate installment of CFL team previews, let's take a look at the Tiger-Cats, who have unfinished business to take care of after falling just short of a Grey Cup title in 2019.

Jeremiah Masoli will get the nod as starting quarterback to open the season but he'll likely give up some snaps to capable backup (and potential future starter) Dane Evans. There are some questions on the offensive line with Ryker Matthews no longer anchoring the left side. Remember, it was the offensive line that got dominated in that 2019 Grey Cup loss to Winnipeg. 

With that being said, the offense remains largely unchanged at  the skill positions. This is likely to once again be one of the league's most explosive offenses. Wide receivers Bralon Addison and Brandon Banks make up one of the best 1-2 punches at that position in the entire league. Meanwhile, RB Don Jackson was brought over from Calgary to compliment Sean Thomas-Erlington, who returns from injury. 

Defensively, the Ti-Cats are once again loaded after allowing the league's fewest points per game in 2019. That doesn't mean there aren't departures to deal with, however, with cornerback Delvin Breaux Sr. electing to retire and linebacker Larry Dean moving on to Saskatchewan. Simoni Lawrence will be asked to do a lot and lead this defense back to the levels it reached two years ago and he's certainly proven capable of lifting the defense in the past. This is an extremely well-coached unit that shouldn't take long to come together, even with some new faces in the mix.

Special teams doesn't get talked about enough in the CFL as it's a big facet of the game, particularly up north. The Ti-Cats might just have the best special teams in the league led by coach Jeff Reinebold. With an absolutely electric return game, Hamilton is always a threat to score on punts and kickoffs. 

No team boasts shorter odds to win the Grey Cup than Hamilton as it checks in priced at around 4-to-1 at most books. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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