(Sorry, I had to do that.)
Is there any team, right now, playing better football than the Hamilton Tiger-Cats?
My answer is no.
Looking back on the last three weeks, there is not one team that has come close to replicating the type of dominant performances the Tiger-Cats have had in that span. Look at the results:
- Defeated Edmonton, 36-11
- Defeated Toronto, 30-3
- Defeated Montreal, 40-3
What contribues to such a dominant stretch of games? I think the answer is four-fold:
First, Stevie Baggs' arrival has provided a spark to the front seven. I don't care what anyone says, his demeanour and excitement are infectious. He has added that missing piece to the puzzle. Every week, the Defense gets big play after big play, whether it's interceptions, fumbles, sacks, third-down stops or whatever else. The Defense has allowed an average of 5.3 points a game in the last three outings. In the CFL, that's unheard of. The front seven, from McIntyre to Bolden to Kirk to Hickman to Floyd to Johnson to Knowlton, have all provided big plays over the last three games, but the man leading the charge, the man they call Shakespeare because all he does is make big plays, has been Stevie Baggs.
Secondly, Kevin Glenn has been allowed to get into a rhythm. He was somewhat off in the Toronto game, but he still threw for two touchdowns. When Kevin Glenn is on his game, he's as good as any QB in the CFL.
Thirdly, the coaching staff has put together some great game plans. After getting torched by Fred Stamps to the tune of 181 yards and a touchdown on ten catches in Edmonton on October 3rd (the last time the Tiger-Cats tasted defeat), Greg Marshall tore a strip off the Defense. What did they do the next week? Held Stamps to a minuscule 34 yards on six catches. He was a total non-factor. The next week, the Tiger-Cats focused on the league's leading rusher, Cory Boyd, and held him to an insignificant 26 yards on 11 carries, which was his worst output of the season.
Finally, the much maligned Secondary has stepped up big time. Geoff Tisdale has put together a fine season and might even be in line for an All-Star nod. Tisdale makes turnovers, and his strip/pick of Fred Stamps was a thing of beauty. Dylan Barker, though he has butter fingers, has been getting better and better after being inserted into the starting lineup following the retirement of Sandy Beveridge. He has even curbed that interception problem. Ryan Hinds, as a rookie, has gotten better each and every week. He had a dropped interception against the Als, but he also had a nice one against the Eskimos. Anyone that knows me knows that I am very high on Hinds. Mark my words, he's going to be a difference maker for this team now and definitely in the future. And I'd be remiss if I didn't say something about Bo Smith. It is well known that I have not been fond of Bo, but since he has returned from the NFL, he has played very well. He still gets beat (as witnessed this week against Montreal), but the guy is as physical as they come, and he might be one of the best tacklers on the team. He has been a welcome re-addition.
Are the Tiger-Cats the best team in the CFL? Right now, I think you'd have a hard time making the case that they aren't.