[b]"Coach Mike Benevides was virtually forced to give up one safety Saturday with his offence sputtering in the fourth quarter and facing a 26-km/h breeze. He did not want to give up a second, however, but that message was never relayed in a proper fashion to punter Ricky Schmitt.
Schmitt’s second kneel-down proved to be the difference in a 19-17 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, though the way the offence was misfiring the Lions weren’t going to get past midfield anyway.
“The first one was clear; we were supposed to take a knee. The second one was a debate,? Benevides said. “We could have punted it and it wasn’t communicated to Schmitty, but it was irrelevant at that point.?
Benevides opted to keep his defence on the field a couple of times when the Ticats were in punt formation, thinking Hamilton was up to something.
Confusion was apparent, and the lack of mental focus on the unit coached by special teams co-ordinator Chuck McMann was cited after the game by kicker Paul McCallum."[/b]
Really, with the wind and where they were punting from, the Cats could very well have been in field goal position right away. Wasn't the worst decision to give up 2 when there was a very good chance of at least three being scored moments later with less time on the clock to come back
I am not a fan of giving up safeties at all.
Why give the opponents free points and the ball?
Medlock had the wind, he could boot a field goal from 50 road, let alone the 50 yard line
We hadn't scored a TD all game, BC has the top ranked pass defence and we are not a running team.
It made no sense, and to do it twice in succession is just plain foolish!
Boot it out, hope for an illegal block, fumble or just decent coverage and count on your "D" to hold them to a field goal or less.
Then at least you get the ball back on the next possession.
As you said, Medlock had the wind, which means your punter, doesn't, and he also is in cramped quarters in the endzone, so he's rushing his kick.This means you are almost certainly giving up three knowing the conditions and kicker you are dealing with, and possibly giving up 7 due to great field position.
That's the reason I'm pro-safety when the wind is against you, because if you kick it and everything goes your way, odds you're going to end up pretty much where you began. The first safety made sense to me. You're putting them in a spot where a field goal is needed to tie, but where your defense can smother then attempt. The second one though, not a good call. A 1 point lead can easily be tied with a single, and said single is easier to get with the wind conditions, and you're going to give up the game with a field goal. Far better to kick it away hold them to three, tie the game and get the ball back, then give up two and hope to prevent them from getting 3.
You kind of directed me to an idea that's never crossed my mind before.
Let assume if you punt its an automatic 3 points, but lets forget the possibility of a touchdown. If that were the case you're actually still better off punting it away. Why? Because at the end of it all, you now have the ball.
Punt the ball, you give up 3, but you now have the ball back.
Concede a safety, you give up 2, but the other team has the ball again.
In effect, by giving up a safety you've given up a possession of the ball in exchange for a point.
Of course, in real life there's also the possibility of giving up a TD, but that's a risk when kicking the ball away after a safety too. At some point, if you want to win, your D has to make a stop and your offence has to get some first downs.
There's no fault in your logic here. If there is no possibility of a touchdown, depending on the score and time, in almost all cases taking the field goal would be the better option.
The problem is though, when you bring touchdowns into the equation the logic falls apart. Field position is much more important then in the NFL, because of the longer wider field and reduced set of downs. LaPol touched on this
It's much harder to sustain and complete a drive from poor field position, and a far easier when starting on your opponents end. If you are starting in your 20, your only 10% likely to sustain a drive to get a touchdown in this league, and around 15% if between your 20 and 49. Conversely, you are 29% likely to get a major if you start your drive in the opponents end, which is typically the case if you punt. Sure, you are conceding 2 points, but it's the difference between a 3/10 with an almost certain 3 if it doesn't happen and the ball back in poor position (due to wind again) vs a 1-1.5/10 with an unlikely or possible field goal if it doesn't happen or the ball back in likely average field position.
They must be available to be scored upon on ANY play however unlikely that may seem. The fact of the matter is that in Canadian football, you can score 3, from any play and from any point on the field of play via a drop kick or place kick through the posts and above the cross bar.
Even though the odds of this happening are astronomical, on a punt out of Team A's end zone, Team B could recover at the 35 and immediately drop kick the ball for 3. Where this is an illegal kick in American football and theoretically they could retract goal post assemblies if need be, we in Canada cannot do the same (despite our more obstructive goal posts) without sacrificing certain nuances (the vestigial rugby components) of the game.
But you're also getting the field position back after the field goal is kicked. Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing you should never take a safety, and the first safety was a good call, but the second one is quite an interesting debate because of the circumstances, which could be argued either way.
To me, the way we were moving the ball, the way Medlock was kicking, the way we were returning kicks, the way the wind was blowing, the fact a safety is kicked from the 25, it felt inevitable we were going to score more points. Even after a safety, you're only talking one or two first downs and we're right back in field goal position and if not, easy enough range to punt a single or pin them deep yet again.
There are two good outcomes for BC
Safety: Be up by one, need to keep the other team to a 2 and out just to avoid giving up the lead or being stuck in just as bad a position as before
Punt: Ask the D to prevent a TD from the 40 or so, be tied, and have your offence on the field at the 35 with the chance to flip the field with a few first downs.
Neither is right or wrong. In this game though, the way the game was going, BC was inevitably going to lose if they got into exchanging punts. The only way for them not to lose that game was to put the ball in the hands of their offence, generate some first downs and flip field position. As counter-intuitive as it seems, punting the ball from the back of the end-zone may have been the best way for BC to gain some field position and give their O a chance to do that, whereas a safety kept them back on their heels hopelessly trying to stop the bleeding.
In regards to the first play, I think the better option is to take the safety. You generally expect your defense to prevent a touchdown after a safety touch on that drive and your offense to go to work. A possible 3 points your opponent may or may not score at that point isn’t a total wash vs the almost certain 3 and possible TD that gives them the lead. The odds from that field position favor them getting the ball and kicking.
The second safety, I think your better option would have been to punt it. A one point lead in the CFL has very little meaning with the single, nevermind if the opposition gets a field goal and takes the lead (which happened). Far better in this case to punt it, kill more time off of the clock, hold them to 3 and get the ball back near the end of the quarter.
Really, that’s the core of the argument behind taking a safety. When you have the wind in your face, taking the safety tends to leave your opponent at field position that odds state they will be left kicking it (punting or field goals). Punting the ball in these conditions, tends to leave your opponent in field posistion that odds state will result in a touchdown or field goal.
The later is riskier, and most coaches don’t like taking risks with a substantial lead, but are more prone to gamble when behind or having a short lead. You’re right, it’s not right or wrong, it’s just more right in some circumstances and less wrong in others.
I do know though, the way our special teams was playing that game, punting to Banks or Sinkwell from the endzone did not look like a wise prospect to me.