Dunk: Collaros a perfect fit for Austin's Ticats | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League

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Ticats Introduce Zach Collaros

It didn't take long to find a winner in the Zach Collaros sweepstakes.

After the 25-year-old was released by Toronto on Wednesday, he agreed to a three-year contract with QEW-rival Hamilton on Thursday that will keep him in Black and Gold through the 2016 season.

Just Another Reason

Zach Collaros' arrival in Hamilton from rival Toronto should signal the start of another bitter chapter in the long history of the Battle of Ontario, explains Justin Dunk.

Collaros' deal with the Ticats had a domino affect as veteran Henry Burris was released.

Collaros gives Hamilton a dual-threat pivot who displayed the potential to be a franchise-type quarterback during his time as a starter in 2013. Yes, it is a small sample size, but Collaros was impressive when he was the No. 1 man for the Argos.

He produced a 5-2 win-loss record in seven starts. Four of his five wins came in a row on the road which is a Canadian Football League record. Think about that for a second, no other quarterback in CFL history - none of the legends of our great Canadian game - ever put together a run like Collaros managed to do last September.

Who he beat in the process was impressive as well. He guided the Argos to wins over Montreal, Saskatchewan, Calgary and Edmonton in successive weeks - Taylor Field in Regina is regarded as THE toughest stadium to go into and leave with a victory in the league.

During his seven games as the starting quarterback, Collaros completed 67 per cent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions and added three rushing scores as well. In just his second season in the CFL those are some impressive numbers.

One stat that stands out the most is five, his low interception total. For such a young player learning the nuances of the Canadian game he protected the football. But even when things didn't go his way, he dealt with adversity well too.

When Ricky Ray went down with a shoulder injury against Calgary on Aug. 23, the Argos came out on the wrong end of a 35-14 score. One week later in Collaros' second career start and first in a six-game stretch, the result saw Toronto manage to score just nine points in a loss to the Alouettes.

Next week, however, he bounced back with a 336-yard passing day - his 2013 season-high - and two touchdowns while running in another to lead his offence to a 37-point performance and guide the Argos to a win in Montreal.

Your franchise quarterback must be able to handle and comeback from rough outings and Collaros proved he has that ability.

The signing of Collaros makes a lot of sense when you look at the ages of the other playmakers the Ticats have in place. Starting in order of youngest to oldest of the main weapons on Hamilton's offence: Collaros 25, Greg Ellingson 25, CJ Gable 26, Bakari Grant 26, Sam Giguere 28 and Andy Fantuz 30. It's a group that is young and will develop and grow together for years to come.

Collaros' age, combined with his skill set and experience as a starter, albeit just a handful of games, was obviously enough to convince Ticats head coach and general manager Kent Austin that he could be the man behind centre for the Ticats and a top quarterback in the league for years to come.

Under Austin's tutelage, based on his history of developing and getting the most out of his quarterbacks, Collaros will only improve and flourish.

Collaros moving from Toronto to Hamilton signals the start of a new chapter in the long history of the Battle of Ontario. 

About Justin
Justin Dunk started at quarterback for the University of Guelph Gryphons from 2005-2009, and threw for the seventh most yards in CIS history (9,530). His passion for football will always run deep. He covers the three-down league as a national columnist for CFL.ca. Dunk's work can also be found at Sportsnet.ca and 3DownNation.com. Follow Justin on Twitter @JDunk12.
Fan Comments
als rule
H123: now hopefully my final post to finish answering your questions!! you don't know montreal football is correct BUT you also don't know results nor how to achieve them!! montreal returned to the CFL in 1996 and have had no leadership problems from the sidelines, locker room or front office and see no need to see that changing his season!! lovie smith had 10 years with the bears and yes was 10-6 in his last year BUT also missed the p/offs in his last 2 years and that's why he was fired!! who had interest in smith in the CFL and NFL last year?!! NOBODY!! yes TRESTMAN was 8-8 in his 1st year with the bears and other then you I don't think anyone had him winning the SB!! being a NFL HC is a HUGE difference from being a OC and/or QB coach BUT of course you fail to see that!! finally your example of bud grant and marv levy is outstanding since both lost 4 SUPER BOWLS!! as for GM/HC popp he can have a job anywhere in the CFL or NFL with no problem BUT of course in your humble opinion he's nothing BUT a loser!! LOL LOL LOL
February 03, 2014 - 2:28pm
I don't profess to know MA's football. I know results and how you get it. For the most part, most of these guys you allude to for next season are mere hopefuls. Some will do well, however, one important ingredient is solid leadership from the sidelines. There is a big void there, they need a coach.
February 03, 2014 - 2:26am
als rule
@H123: SORRY the players as you say I alluded to aren't hopefuls for 2014 they all played important minutes as starters in 2013!!
February 04, 2014 - 11:36am
als rule
@H123: GM popp took over the als HCing job at game #6!! now this will show you once again how little you know about montreal football!! the offensive game plan was totally re-vamped, popp started the development of QBs troy smith and tanner marsh, RB tyrell sutton, WR duron carter, new offensive guards matte/bomben/ola/baillergeon among others!! on defence with new DC noel thorpe the squad showed rapid inprovement with new players along with new starters LB brouillette, CB tisdale, S mike edem, DBs gainey and wells, LB venables, LB bear woods, LB boulay, DT scott paxson, DT michael klassen, DT cash, and DE aaron lavarias among others!! so popp did nothing eh?!! yeah right!! LEARN TO KNOW YOUR SPORTS!!
February 02, 2014 - 9:44pm
als rule
@H123: you still can't get over the fact that montreal beat your green in back to back GCs!! well they did!! so it's time for you to get over it!! BUT winning the GC in 2013 still can't make up for the back to back losses to montreal in the GCs!! sorry buddy it's over!! montreal won and the green lost!! YOU CAN'T CHANGE HISTORY BUT you can as you are doing now constantly post negative post after negative post!!
February 02, 2014 - 3:29pm
No coach went 10-6 and got fired. Testerman didn't need anything but the ability to produce a winner. He didn't get it done. Remember Football 101 start at University in Montreal Monday morning at 8 AM.
February 02, 2014 - 4:42am
als rule
H123: REMEMBER and don't forget you're enrolled for the Introduction to CFL football for beginners 001 at the U of Saskatchewan starting at 7:15AM rain or shine without fail!! BE THERE ON TIME!!
February 02, 2014 - 10:00pm
Popp can't coach. Without TS and DC he would have lost his shirt. Hamilton was average and took drubbings but the beat Montreal every time. The Riders killed the Ti-Cats during the season??? The only way Popp get a job in the NFL is Testerman hires him.
February 02, 2014 - 4:38am
als rule
H123: popp can't coach LOL LOL LOL!! NO hamilton didn't beat the als everytime, one official beat montreal 1 time that being in the ESF!!
February 02, 2014 - 9:08pm
Popp didn't do anything different with the Als. New coaches, new ideas, nothing! First year for Testerman, how long was he an OC in the NFL? This was no new party!! Lovie's 10-6 was desired by so many teams in both the CFL and NFL. Grant and Levy were good. Testerman???
February 02, 2014 - 4:26am
als rule
@H123: your problem with popp is what?!! popp could have a job whenever he would want one in the NFL and as for being a loser that statement continues to show your lack of any football knowledge what so ever!! as for TRESTMAN in his 1st year YES he was 8-8 BUT how many years was smith hc of chicago?!!
February 01, 2014 - 6:38pm
Nobody wants Popp for anything in the NFL. Call it want you want but Lovie Smith went 10-6 and was fired. Testerman, an Offensive Wizard went 8-8. Don't tell me Cutler was hurt the backup pulled a Collaros in Chicago. What would Popp do. He was in the Eastern Finals in a four-team division, Face it he's a loser.
February 01, 2014 - 2:03am
I don't know about HC/GM Popp. Testerman went 8-8. Lovie was 10-6 and was fired. Neither made the playoffs and it wasn't a rebuilding year. I don't know ar, what do you think?
January 31, 2014 - 5:00pm
als rule
@H123: what do I think about what?
January 31, 2014 - 6:38pm
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