It would seem he's hit an important point about the size of receivers the correlation between that and success on offence. The trend seems to be to employ taller and taller receivers who can win physical battles and flight to stay on their feet for serious YAC yards while bidding adieu to the Darren Flutie / Ben Cahoon, possession receiving types. Hamilton and Saskatchewan currently have the shortest receiving corps in the league and have struggled for it.
Nice article, and the emphasis on body type has certainly changed. It does seem to be a natural outgrowth of the introduction of five and six-receiver sets in the '90s. Just a few years ago, the Als' starting receivers were Cahoon, Watkins, Vaughn and Stala -- not exactly a behemoth group. Today, receivers under 6 feet like Watkins and Bratton are complemented by bigger bodies (Richardson and Green), with a plethora of bigger receivers waiting in the wings (Deslauriers, Rodriguez, London, Baker).
I thought Frer's point about bigger receivers being open even when they're not is a good one. Richardson, for example, is a guy who can make contested catches in tight spaces with regularity.
When there's an abundance of big receivers available who can win physical battles, why would you employ a smaller receiver who by nature can not compete? Maybe a young Darren Flutie or Ben Cahoon wouldn't make the cut if they were entering the league today. As much as they're both sure hall of famers for their success, perhaps they just wouldn't be all that valuable in the CFL of today and tomorrow.
This isn't about their being overlooked, its about present day circumstances making their assets obsolete. Are we to employ a height roster ratio in tandem with our import/non-import ratio? I think not.
I also wouldn't equate this with the CFL becoming more like the NFL. The games are evolving differently. We don't line QBs under centre for any long distance plays. CFL linebackers are NFL defensive backs and CFL rush ends are NFL linebackers in stature. Our tight ends double as fullbacks and a smaller, light-footed scat-back is about the only type of running back that works up here where the 275 lb bruisers still have jobs in the NFL.
It just so happens that when catching ability and speed are the same, the 6'4" receiver will make you more plays than the 5'7" one. If there are a sufficient number of 6'4" receivers to go around, the 5'7" receivers will be pushed out.
if you are fast enough and smart enough, you can get open enough that height will not matter. I never played tackle, but at 5'8" I never had any problem being covered by much taller guys in flag and touch.
As usual JoeDavTav and Discipline are right, and this article looked good enough as usual from JoeDavTav that I have printed it out to scrutinise later on a clear mind and with time.
And let's not make this a simplistic short guy versus tall guy discussion nor laughably the "it's becoming too much like the NFL" line, as all things in comparison are seldom equal with each guy with a role on the field in the mix of the receiving corps to maximise the throwing field for the QB.
What we see now is the natural development of the pro offence and passing game in any league.
As all pro receivers can catch and often have hops and bigger than average hands, the shorter guys use guile in running often better routes and the taller guys use more their bodies to snatch the ball. This is true also in the NFL mind you, as every year there are also short guys in that league that make the top receiver stats as well.
We tend to see the shorter guys more from the slot position and more of the catches in the red zone with those taller guys, but note that's only a tendency and some guys whether short or tall are even versatile enough to play both the slot and the wide receiver position well.
I'll have more to comment on later after reading that fine article.