July 9, 2019 6:00 am

Rick Zamperin: Tiger-Cats will miss Thomas Erlington, but it’s next man up

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli hands off to Sean Thomas Erlington (31) during third quarter CFL action between the Ticats and the Toronto Argonauts in Toronto on Saturday June 22, 2019.

CFL PHOTO - Geoff Robins

The bad news was inevitable, but it didn’t make it any easier to swallow after learning that Sean Thomas Erlington was going on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 6-game injured list.

The 26-year-old running back suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Hamilton’s 36-29 loss in Montreal last Thursday night.

Four days later, Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer confirmed Thomas Erlington’s injury status but hinted that the Montreal native would likely return at some point in 2019.

Thomas Erlington was having a banner campaign in his first opportunity as a No. 1 back in Hamilton, rushing for 224 yards in three plus games – sixth among CFL running backs – and recording 11 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown.

Not having him in the lineup is a big blow to Hamilton’s offence, but Ticats fans shouldn’t throw in the towel on the 2019 season.

While S.T.E. may be out of the lineup for the next several weeks Hamilton can depend on its depth at the running back position to support the offence.

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READ MORE: Hamilton Tiger-Cats suffer first loss of 2019 against Alouettes in Montreal

Recently signed Anthony Coombs was more than effective on Thursday night (6 carries, 51 yards & 5 receptions, 61 yards) and rookie Maleek Irons (12 carries, 50 yards, 1 TD) has shown glimpses that he can be an effective option out of the backfield.

Not having Thomas Erlington on the field shouldn’t mean that Hamilton has to abandon the run game and I don’t see that being the case when the defending champion Calgary Stampeders arrive in Steeltown this Saturday.

Hamilton’s Tommy Condell, and every other offensive coordinator in football, will say their offence is much more dangerous when it can run multiple plays from the same formation and keep opposing defences guessing.

Just because Thomas Erlington is going to be on the sidelines, it doesn’t mean the Ticats should just start chucking the ball all over the yard.

Continuing to employ a balanced attack will be the key to moving the chains and ensuring Hamilton’s good start to the 2019 season continues.

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