Raic and Filer have been on the radar
Tiger-Cats Head Coach George Cortez addressed the signings of wide out Bogdan Raic and offensive lineman Mike Filer to his team’s roster following its Monday workout.
He indicated that both men had been scouted previously, and believed that both would prove to be valuable additions to his squad.
“They were guys that we looked at in the draft that we liked,” explained Cortez. “We had two guys go back to school that were at the same positions. Filer worked out several times while we were preparing for the draft. We think he’s made an improvement, and Doug (Malone) said yesterday that he’s come along since he saw him last.
“We think they’re guys that have a chance. I have a hard time pronouncing 17’s (Raic) name, but he made one nice catch today.”
Elliot won’t revolutionize the Bombers’ offence
Hamilton will face an unfamiliar foe on Thursday when Joey Elliot makes his first start of 2012 against the Tiger-Cats.
Film featuring the young Blue Bomber is scarce – Elliot has only started two games since 2010 – but Cortez argued on Monday that a new quarterback will likely do little to change the complexion of Winnipeg’s offence.
“He played us a bit in the preseason and he’s played a little in the regular season,” said Cortez of Elliot. “It’s hard for anybody to make dramatic changes to their offence in just a couple of days. If they like him doing things that they haven’t been doing and that are part of their offence, it’s not that hard. But to do things that aren’t part of the offence is pretty hard.
“You have to assume that a very large chunk of what they’re going to do is based on what they’ve been doing. We’re closing in on three months of playing after all.”
Injuries included in the “nature of football”
The injury bug has bitten the Tiger-Cats in recent weeks, but Cortez pointed out on Monday that his team is hardly alone in being forced to accommodate injuries.
“It’s the nature of football,” said the coach of his walking wounded. “I look at the injury list for everybody, and we’re in the middle of the pack with the number of players we’ve got. Some people have more, and a few have less.
“Some of the injuries are things that if you were a lawyer, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, because you wouldn’t have any trouble doing your job. But if you’re a football player and you have an ankle problem, you have a hard time doing your job.”
Even the least severe ailment forces at least a temporary change of plan. Cortez commended his special teams units in particular for the way in which they have handled changes forced by injury.
“Sometimes it’s something that won’t be around for very long, but in any given week if you get a couple of those, it can affect how you align and who plays where,” said the Ticat coach.
“I think the special teams especially have done a great job of juggling guys and getting them ready to play. Sometimes, the way that we’re practicing the punt team on day one isn’t exactly how we’re playing it in the game.”
Charbonneau-Campeau showing promise
Rookie receiver Simon Charbonneau-Campeau is one of several Ticats being thrust into a more central role due to injuries to established starters.
The Sherbrooke product was inserted into last week’s tilt against the Stampeders following Andy Fantuz’ third quarter knock and caught three passes for 45 yards.
Cortez spoke of Charbonneau-Campeau’s debut as unsurprising given his skill set, and reiterated that he sees a bright future for the young Canadian wide out.
“We liked Simon enormously coming out of the draft,” said the coach. “He was restricted somewhat in training camp, because he – and a number of other players – had really bad blisters.
“I wasn’t surprised that he caught the ball at all. He’s got great size and he’s a pretty smart guy and has learned well. I think he’s going to be a good player for us. We’re not going to put him in the Hall of Fame after three catches though.”
Injuries are spreading experience
The traffic in the treatment room has one potential upside for the Tiger-Cats, as it has forced the team to spread practice repetitions to players at previously unfamiliar positions.
Cortez would not go as far as to describe the phenomenon as a positive on Monday, but did indicate that the changes give his players the chance to test their knowledge. The coach used the example of his slotbacks to illustrate the point, where Sam Giguere and Dave Stala are being used in the wide slot traditionally patrolled by Andy Fantuz.
“I don’t know if it’s a silver lining. It certainly gives us the opportunity to get guys practice snaps at places they don’t play as often,” said Cortez of the effect of injuries. “Whereas Andy was taking most of the wide snaps, now Sam is taking most of them this week. Dave played a lot of wide in the game after Andy got hurt.
“So now we’ve got a variety of people that have been given more than a blackboard knowledge of what’s going on. It’s one thing to say that you have the wide position and sit down and draw the routes up. It’s a whole other thing to go out on the field and run them in a semblance of what they’re supposed to look like.”