Some good came out of this game but again there has not been enough progression in many areas to really expect something big happening in future games.
We had more of a pass rush tonight as the group worked well against an average Edmonton offensive line. Granted, it looked better also because we sent Glasper or a linebacker in to aid that rush numerous times. I would say it is a marginal improvement and they showed some signs that they can make plays by forcing Ray to get the ball off quicker.
Bradley had a great game both in coverage and with his tackling. He has always been their best corner since he has been here but we haven’t seen him play as much over the same time period.
I thought our punt return coverage was superb, save for one major return by Jackson. For the most part they did their job effectively. From day one when we used a new snapper or two for field goals and converts, and a new holder in Porter, I knew that would be a critical area to keep an eye on. We saw the botched placement tonight and although the kick still went through the uprights, it still is a concern going forward.
There is an asterisk to all this in that we didn’t see the real Ricky Ray tonight. Had we seen Ray play like he did in the first 4 games, I think we would have been blown out of the water a lot earlier in the game.
As I said in my thread last week, this isn’t Printers’ fault on offence. No he isn’t the Printers from B.C. and we may never see that, yet (from reading many more posts tonight) like I said last week our offensive line play has been ugly. It has nothing to do with Jesse not getting 100-150 yards because I don’t just measure it that way, it has to do with the lack of time that Printers or Williams have had in the pocket to make more plays. Whoever is at quarterback, you don’t see them having that second or two in the pocket without having to worry about someone breathing down their necks. The pocket collapses almost immediately after the ball is snapped. Printers is still running too much instead of scrambling, there is a difference. Printers cant make B.C. plays with Hamilton time.
The lack of imagination on offence makes it too easy for the opposition, and this hurts the offensive line. Let’s see a screen pass, how about a pitch out? They would be nice just for a change but why do we have to hold our breath. Let’s open things up and not be an easy film session for defensive co-ordinators across the CFL.
If you look at many plays closely, and if you watch the receivers closely, you will see that 75% of the time they are not getting open. Tonight I concentrated on that, and I couldn’t believe how many times that there were no options to pass for Printers. In addition we are still dropping too many passes.
What I didn’t understand, and it wasn’t a big deal in the scope of things, is how some coaching decisions are made. We were still in the first or second quarter and the game was 3-3 and neither offence was clicking yet and the Ticats were against the wind on their 15 yard line approximately on 3rd down. Why did we just not give up the 2 points and try and kick to them deep in their own end rather than punt? It didn’t come back to bite us as they only scored 3 points on the 25yard punt (plus or minus), but it is little things like that, that I question. They could have scored 7 points by just moving the ball around 40 yards rather than make Edmonton work for their major scores.
Then what was the rationale for a shotgun attempt inside the 5 yard line when it is 2nd and 1 yard to go? There are 2 more downs to get that yard and we squander points. We cant afford to settle for 3 when we are so close to getting 7.
Similarly we could have been a little more creative when we had a 2nd and 3 against Saskatchewan 2 weeks ago late in the game, and we call a simple handoff to Jesse when we could have used a qb bootleg. The entire defence was concentrating on Jesse, so they made the play and we had to punt and the rest was history. Instead, we could have controlled our own destiny, but we gave the Riders another chance.
My questioning of calls began last year in game one in Calgary when we called a hitch pass to Brock Ralph when we were on our own 1 or 2 yard line. Ralph dropped the ball and it was live since it was a pass thrown backwards and Calgary pounced on it to score 7 points. What is the rationale to make such calls at the wrong time?
Anyhow, as bad as the game was to watch, there were signs of slight improvement, but the major concern is that offensive line not giving the offence the time to make plays, the receivers not finding the seams, and that just adds up to less time with the ball and less time to put points on the board.
At the same time, when you look forward to the next 3 games against the East, if you think we are in a hole now, we could be in a real bind if we don’t take 2 of 3. Sounds like a large task and it is, and if we don’t win 2 of 3 then we can forget about battling in the East, and the crossover may be out of the question by then too.
This is another unfortunate situation to go through one more year, and the fans have had there say by not showing up at games. Tonight’s crowd was another disappointment but by raising ticket prices and having to resort to blackouts, the signs are there for tough times ahead. We were told in prior years that exposure is important so we didn’t blackout our games, and now because of the ticket prices and lack of attendance, we have to blackout 2 games. Isn’t exposure important nowadays too? Is it not just an admission that we shouldn’t have raised prices dramatically to watch a team that continuously underperforms?
Regardless, in the end it is just a game, and more importantly I hope that Jason Tucker and Jykine Bradley are ok and will be back with their teams soon. Never like to see an ambulance on the field.