Another frustrating loss last night. It was a close game that could have been won. Many consider Montreal to be the best in the league. Here are some differences that I feel resulted in us loosing:
While Montreal actually had more penalties, we had many untimely ones, and unnecessary ones. This killed our drives, extended their drives, and cost us points. This will only improve with more discipline. At least they benched some guys after bad penalties.
Blitz schemes. Montreal is a master of this. We stink. Our blitzes are often ineffective. Almost every time we were 2nd and long, Montreal blitzed and we threw a short pass that was stopped. You have to have a plan for this, as Montreal does this every week! Bad coaching on this one. Almost every time Montreal was 2nd and long, we rushed 3 (BRUTAL), and AC picked us apart, often making a first down or more. IMO you should blitz in some form or another on 2nd and long 3 out of 4 times. Play aggressive, but keep changing things. This could improve if Kavis Reed makes some changes, but I kind of doubt it. He likes dropping into coverage.
Injuries. The biggest was the loss of Brooks. As soon as he left the game, the middle of the field opened up, and Cavillio was able to move the ball. This was a huge loss for our defense. I hope he is not out for long. Hopefully we won’t continue to get injured. It’s tough to do much about this. If Brooks is out for a while, they need to find another import for this position. Auggie was often out of position, and can’t play this position.
Adjustments at half time. Again our offence sputtered in the second half. Montreal had some big drives, and got Cahoon involved. This one’s up to the coaches. Time will tell if this gets addressed. We need to play for 4 quarters if we want to win.
Special teams. Terrible punting and coverage. Very little return game for us, primarily because of no blocking. That blocked punt was the turning point of the game. More coaching issues here, and possibly a personnel issue. Fleming is not getting the job done.
Montreal’s receivers are able to make big catches, ours made few. Brock Ralph drops in the end zone. Ouch! Do we have a receiver’s coach? I expect this to improve after we win some games, and we loosen up.
Jason Maas needs better timing on deep passes. At least we went deep, but he often under threw. He did make a lot more 10 – 20 yard passes. This was an improvement, and I expect the timing will come.
8.) The guys up front. Montreal dominated the trenches tonight. Many say that’s where games are one or lost. You have to make it on 3rd and 1. For those who were not paying attention, when we were on the goal line, Hage (our centre) got the procedure penalty because he moved the ball into the neutral zone before he snapped it. I spotted this right away. Hey the play by play guys don’t always see everything. If the O-Line stays healthy they will get better. The D-Line needs a little help from the linebackers. Of course rushing 3 all the time doesn’t make it easy.
- The running game. They kept trying to run between the tackles. This wasn’t working, so try something else. Montreal did a good job of mixing in Edwards. If you can’t convert 2nd and long plays, you have to be able to run more than 4 yards on first some times. We often did not. I think Radelin got 1 touch near the endzone last night. He should get more touches so the defense can’t key on Ranek. We will get better at running once the O-Line spends more time together. When Corey Holmes comes back, we should also be able to confuse the defense, as long as Holmes and Ranek are both in the backfield at times.
This list is a little longer than I expected. We did do some good things last night, maybe not enough to win, but I still see improvements. If we continue to improve on some of the things above, we should have a pretty good team at some point this year.
For all the nay sayers who are giving up, hang in there. I think this team will have a shot at making the playoffs. If they are on top of their game at the end of the year they could make some noise in the playoffs. This is obviously not a Grey Cup contender yet. I hate saying this, but if the core of players stay in steeltown, look for big things from this team next year.