To take anything meaningful away from a pre-season game is foolhardy. Wins and losses don't mean a thing, and at the end of the season no one is going to remember what happened in the pre-season.
That said, there is a reason that the pre-season exists: for talent evaluation and getting rid of rust. Last week the Blue Bombers and Tiger-Cats took two separate approaches to their pre-season games.
The Bombers played a large number of their projected starters. They did not play everyone, but key players like QB Buck Pierce and RB Fred Reid saw action. The Bombers laid a beat down on the defending Grey Cup Champion Alouettes to the tune of 34-10. The Als left many of their starters at home for this contest, but with Winnipeg having a lot of turnover in the off-season, the chance to jell quickly was important.
The Tiger-Cats took a similar approach to the Als, resting a plethora of offensive skill players as well as the entire Linebacking corps. The fact that the Cats were defeated 13-10 by the Argonauts holds little value going forward.
The tilt between the Bombers and Ti-Cats this week (Sunday at 1:00PM at Ivor Wynne Stadium) is the first of five meetings that will occur between now and August 13th. These two teams will be intimately familiar with one another before the summer is over.
The Cats that sat last week are expected to see some action tomorrow. I'm unsure of what the Bombers are planning on doing, but with these two teams playing each other so many times over the first half of the season, I would hazard a guess that even if many of the starters play for Winnipeg, they probably won't play long.
After last week's offensive debacle in Toronto, I'm curious to see if the offense will be more fluid and crisp with the regular starters in there. I'm also still waiting to see which player will separate himself from the pack to become the team's primary Kick and Punt Returner. It would seem that Demetris Summers has the upper hand, but his lack of breakaway speed worries me slightly. I'm hoping that we can see more out of Damon McDaniel, who could replace his brother Marquay as the team's return man.
This week's game will be broadcast live on Cable 14 here in Hamilton, and as always AM900 CHML will have radio coverage.
While the game itself is virtually meaningless, it'll be nice to be back at the ol' girl on Balsam and Beechwood for Tiger-Cat football. I was there for the season-ticket pick-up party, but that wasn't the same. It'll be a game day, and game day is always a special day.