Cortez: Positive play negated by turnovers
The Tiger-Cats met the media upon their return to Hamilton on Friday, with Head Coach George Cortez recalling the missed opportunities of Thursday night.
Cortez stated that turnovers wiped out what had otherwise been promising offensive play from his team.
"You can’t have a very good opportunity to win the game when you turn the ball over,” said the coach. “That’s what I told the players today. Unless we take care of the football, it’s going to be very hard to win games.
“Yesterday was a perfect example of that. We did a lot of good things, and we negated a lot of it by fumbling the ball away or not protecting it in a crowd.”
Cortez: Stephenson impressed at unfamiliar position
Fullback Daryl Stephenson moved into the tailback position following a hip injury to rookie rusher Chevon Walker late in the first half on Thursday.
Stephenson was infrequently used while in that unfamiliar position, but his efforts as a receiver, blocker and runner did not escape the notice of his coach.
“I think he did a nice job coming into a situation,” said Cortez of his fullback. “For a guy that takes a few snaps a week at running back but not very many, I thought he did a good job.”
Burris: Ball protection is first and foremost
Quarterback Henry Burris indicated on Friday that ball protection was his priority after a game in which fumbles proved costly.
Much like his coach, Burris believed that the Tiger-Cats had done much to admire offensively on Thursday, before turnovers spoiled their gains.
“The bottom line is that we have to protect the ball,” said the Ticat pivot. “We can’t have four fumbles on my end and expect to win the game.
“In the passing game, I thought we did some very good things. We didn’t turn the ball over via the interception and we were very effective in passing. But when I tucked the ball, it seemed like every time I made a cut someone was there to get the ball out.”
Burris: Winnipeg was motivated
Burris had praise on Friday for the mindset of the Blue Bombers and the commitment of their fans that made the environment at Canad-Inns Stadium a challenging one.
“Their situation being what it was at 1-5, they were playing for their lives,” said the quarterback. “The word of a coaching change and personnel change was out there.
“Any time that you go into that building, you know that it’s going to be a packed house and that their crowd is really going to be supporting them well.”
Burris: Better execution needed, not change
Despite the result on Thursday, Burris was adamant a day later that no major changes need to be made to the Tiger-Cats’ approach as the team moves forward. He pinned Hamilton’s misfortunes on execution alone.
"No changes need to be made. We’ve just got to keep executing and getting better at that,” said Burris. “We can’t have the mental mistakes that we’ve made. If we didn’t have the six turnovers, we would have won that game."
“We made plays, and we had enough opportunities to put points on the board. If we don’t give them fuel and momentum, we would have won the game.”
Burris: “I’ll keep battling”
The Tiger-Cats’ quarterback told gathered reporters on Friday that while he had spoken with Cortez about Thursday’s performance, he himself was his harshest critic.
“I’ve been around this game long enough that he doesn’t even need to tell me,” said Burris. “Because regardless of what he says, I’m much harder on myself than anyone else can be."
“I’m out there playing hard and trying to make plays. Even in the waning minutes when we had a chance to tie the game up, I was going to battle to the end for this team. I’m going to continue to do that.”