Marcel Bellefeuille said “to a high probability” that defensive end Stevie Baggs will likely be in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ lineup for Sunday’s East final versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, after having to sit out the semifinal due to ratio restrictions.
The Ticats head coach made the tough decision to sit Baggs in Sunday’s semi-final game versus the Montreal Alouettes, when the return of all-star linebacker Jamall Johnson put them in an unfavourable ratio situation.
Johnson’s return, after missing three weeks with an ankle problem, compounded with injuries to several Canadian starters, left the Ticats with a shortage of Canadians on defence. So they sat Baggs and inserted Canadian defensive end Luc Mullinder into one defensive end position, then shifted CFL sack leader Justin Hickman to Baggs’ spot on the wide side.
But at Wednesday’s practice, Canadian cornerback Ryan Hinds practiced, leading Bellefeuille to believe Hinds will be the non-import needed in the lineup in order to re-insert Baggs for Sunday. Hinds has missed eight games due to an ankle injury, and the team planned to see how he was feeling after Wednesday’s practice, before making final lineup decisions later in the week.
“Right now, they are both practicing and doing well, so I suspect [Baggs]will be part of our roster,” said Bellefeuille.
In order to stay completely focused on the Bombers this week, Bellefeuille instructed his players not to speak about the 52-55 overtime upset victory over Montreal, and only to focus on the upcoming game when speaking to media this week.