Grey Cup Final: The Game Within The Game

Ok, boys and girls. Let's talk FOOTBALL.

It all comes down to 60 minutes this Sunday. We are one game away from capping a spectacular regular season with the ultimate victory.

So what do our Als have to do to win this one? What are your keys to the game?

My thoughts:

Establish the run. In our first game against the Riders this season, we were completely ineffective on offense until we went back to the run and got Cobourne going on the ground. Saskatchewan's pass defense is much tougher than B.C's and I guarantee you we won't be able to cherry-pick TDs on blown coverage time after time as we did to the Lions. Without balance to our game, Chick and Baggs can pin their ears back and come after Anthony with evil intent. With Cobourne running the ball effectively, we can increase our chances of keeping Calvillo clean, force defenders into the box and away from our receivers, open up the wide world of play action, and control the clock.

Eliminate special-teams blunders. No fumbles, Larry. I'm looking at you. Duval has to be note-perfect on makeable field goals. Coverage teams can't let Armstead get outside contain. We don't have to dominate on teams, or make insane big plays. We just have to play solid football and avoid huge mistakes that let the other team back in the game.

Stay in your gaps, and play assignment-sharp defense. Gadget plays like the fake Armstead handoff only work if the other team bites on the fake. DBs have to trust in the ability of the linebackers and D-line to make plays at the line. Cheating away from your assignment against receivers like Fantuz, Getzlaf, and Bagg will get you burned for big gains and/or TDs.

Get Cahoon more involved. After watching film of the B.C. spanking, the Riders are undoubtedly going to be focused on taking Richardson and Watkins away from us to eliminate the big play and force us into underneath throws. And this is where Mr. Cahoon traditionally shines. If Calvillo can get Ben involved in the game early, we'll draw defenders into the slot and into tighter press coverage, which opens up the deep ball for everyone else.

Most importantly, we cannot beat ourselves. That means no dropping catchable passes (Watkins, Richardson), proper hot read recognition and execution (Calvillo), countering Etcheverry's wacky fronts by blocking the look and the look only (O-line), and avoiding controllable penalties (procedure, offside, UR, roughing the passer, objectionable conduct, face-masking).

I think we have the horses, the coaches, and the schemes to get it done. Barring Hawkins, we have no significant injuries heading into the big game, and given time and preparation, nobody attacks film like Marc Trestman. We can do this, we can win it all, but the Riders are not going to give us an inch.

Go get 'em, boys! :rockin: :rockin: :rockin: :rockin: :rockin:

Long term weather forcast for Calgary on sunday is sunshine with a maximum of 4 degrees. So it could be a bit cold and that is one more reason to establish the run, unlike the game against BC. Also I thought the special teams had a pretty good game, I think we started most of our offensive drives (if not all) past to 40 yard line and BC was usually behind their 25 yard line. So keep up the good work, I am not too concerned with Taylor's fumble(s) as he has been very reliable all season long, I am sure he will make the required adjustments.

d&p again I think you are bang on in your analysis. I couldn't disagree with any of your comments.

I was somewhat surprised in the early stages of the game on Sunday, that we weren't pounding the ball on the ground, given the Lions' well documented weakness against the run. However, when we got those 2 early turnovers it sure made sense to go for the jugular right away, which we did with great success.

We sure exposed that Lions' secondary. Yes, they lost Marsh early, which meant moving one corner to the side of the field he wasn't used to and inserting Dennis at the other corner. . . but still. . . I guess Miles and Banks are past their respective 'best before' dates. Great performance by AC and the receiving corps, shredding that secondary.

I was surprised too, but considering how they busted that B.C secondary wide open, it was hard to argue. :slight_smile:

Anthony said after the game that they felt they could exploit the Lions in zone coverage, take advantage of sloppiness on coverage switches and so forth. Boy did they ever. Like you said, losing Marsh early was significant, but even so, we just torched them play after play. The game was essentially over by the middle of the second quarter.

With Sask, we'll need to see a lot more of the other A.C. if we want to get the job done. One of the weaknesses of a defensive front that stunts as much as the Riders do is that you're vulnerable to misdirection runs and counters: you're often looping around the line to get to the QB and if other team has a run dialed up, you can get burned for big gains on the ground.

Yes I thought we would see more of Colbourne- but the plan was certainly the pass as focus and ,with a lead it ws a good plan. I like our defense this year. The linebackers and defensive backs have been playing a very tough man to man with the opposition’s receivers getting a fierce going over as they attempted to get free. It was no cake walk being a BC receiver last sunday!!! Lets do this again especially to our native Canadians-Fantuz, Baggs and company need to feel the pain of trying to get in position against a defense that is super aggressive. I can’t even single one defensive player as standing out. This was a team effort that pulverized BC.

The Als used motion to kill the Lions last week. It was a clinic on how to create confusion and force defenders into blown coverages and other mistakes by getting players moving behind the LOS prior to the snap. Bratton's first TD came on a wheel route in which he motioned deep in the backfield and then hit the LOS at full stride, blowing by the initial zone defender and wide open down the seam on his post pattern.

I'd like to see the same attention to motion against the Riders. Bratton can be the secret weapon tomorrow because they like to move him around behind the line to track coverage. He's unique in that we use him at the line for shallow curls crosses but also deep on posts and fades. I'm sure the Riders will be trying to blanket Watkins and Richardson, and this is where Bratton, Cobourne, and Cahoon can be the difference as receivers.

The O-line HAS to block the look. Not the stunt, the look. As in, stay in your gaps and trust the entire line to make their blocks. If guys are disciplined and stick to their assigned gaps, we shouldn't have too many problems, since Calvillo gets rid of the ball so quickly. If they start freelancing, we could be in big trouble.

I wouldn't mind seeing A.C. using the pump fake once or twice after establishing the short passing game on a double hitch to Watkins, Richardson, or Bratton. If we're able to burn their secondary for a big gain or two early, it will free up things underneath for the possession receivers and the run.

Finally, Sask IMO is vulnerable to the run. They did an effective job against Burris last week but had problems stopping the run on first down. We have an all-world talent at tailback. Let's shove him down Saskatchewan's throat.

We almost waited too late to do this, but as I predicted, Cobourne was key to our GC win. As much as I respect Marc Trestman, his stubbornness about being a passing team first came very close to costing us a championship. Cobourne ran all over Sask in the regular season, yet we waited until the second half, when we were down by 14 points, to get him seriously involved in the game? Marc, you are a great coach and human being and are humble enough to learn from your mistakes. Learn from this one going forward and bring more balance to our attack.


Eliminate special-teams blunders. No fumbles, Larry. I'm looking at you. Duval has to be note-perfect on makeable field goals. Coverage teams can't let Armstead get outside contain. We don't have to dominate on teams, or make insane big plays. We just have to play solid football and avoid huge mistakes that let the other team back in the game.

Duval was awful, Bratton's fumble nearly cost us the game, and Taylor was a non-factor. The teams have to do better next season.

Stay in your gaps, and play assignment-sharp defense. Gadget plays like the fake Armstead handoff only work if the other team bites on the fake. DBs have to trust in the ability of the linebackers and D-line to make plays at the line. Cheating away from your assignment against receivers like Fantuz, Getzlaf, and Bagg will get you burned for big gains and/or TDs.

Give credit to the Riders. LaPolice came up with a fantastic ground game that really had our D off-balance. With all the motion and fake reverses, Cates & co. were breaking off big gains on almost every play. The Riders finished with 190+ yards on the ground against the top run defense in the league. That's just a great game plan and execution.

On the other hand, our pass D really took away the CanCon receivers. Yes, Fantuz beat Cox on the post route for the first Sask TD, but after that, it was all field goals or running plays (Durant's QB draw for the TD).

Get Cahoon more involved. After watching film of the B.C. spanking, the Riders are undoubtedly going to be focused on taking Richardson and Watkins away from us to eliminate the big play and force us into underneath throws. And this is where Mr. Cahoon traditionally shines. If Calvillo can get Ben involved in the game early, we'll draw defenders into the slot and into tighter press coverage, which opens up the deep ball for everyone else.

Thank God for Ben Cahoon. Richardson was the unsung hero, but Ben really took advantage of the Riders' focus on Watkins.

Most importantly,we cannot beat ourselves. That means no dropping catchable passes (Watkins, Richardson), proper hot read recognition and execution (Calvillo), countering Etcheverry's wacky fronts by blocking the look and the look only (O-line), and avoiding controllable penalties (procedure, offside, UR, roughing the passer, objectionable conduct, face-masking).

We avoided the penalties and didn't have any key drops. On the other hand, Calvillo had no answer for the blitz in the first half, and the Etcheverry fronts gave our line all kinds of trouble until the fourth quarter.