Higgins

Last week I commented about CFL defenses being 1 dimensional. This week I am asking the question what do you all think of Higgins ? My opinion of him is that the game has passed him by. He is a cerebral man, quite intelligent, out of the same cloth as Tressman (that's why he was hired by the way). His special teams blocking schemes are so outdated that BC didn't even have to try to block a punt and they did. His decision making is worse (the two challenges for interference). Add the fact that Smith is as useless a QB as I have seen in quite awhile and the result is a last place finish in the East (yes behind Hamilton and Ottawa). Als fans, it will get worse before it gets better.

I would have to agree. He's a complete fossil. Special teams are worse right now than they ever were under Rychleski. Taylor has no lane or any kind of blocking upfront. Blocking on Whyte's punts is awful. And those two challenges were so poor that it made me question his basic competence as a coach. I don't know who told him to challenge those calls, but it was terrible advice that he never should have heeded.

The difference between Higgins and Trestman is that Trestman is a superior football mind, period. Higgins hadn't been able to find a coaching job in seven years, and there was a good reason for that. As you say, the game has passed him by.

Assuming we can't fire him during the season, then for sure he's gone at the end of the year. Who should replace him?

I'd go the route that Edmonton and Winnipeg did this year; it's sure worked for them.

So, looking at other teams' coordinators, I'd target the following:

Mark Washington (BC DC);
Dave Dickenson (Calgary OC);
Mark Nelson (Ottawa DC).

Washington would be a good candidate. Dickenson would be fantastic, but he'll never leave Calgary (the family / Montana proximity) and they are clearly grooming him to be Hufnagel's replacement. Nelson I'm a bit unsure of. He's a great DC, but is there a reason he's never been a head coach despite decades of experience? We don't want a Tim Burke / Richie Hall situation.

Other names to consider: Marcus Brady, Khari Jones, George Cortez

Seriously? You want to fire a coach 4 games in for the second year in a row? Who has had no say in player recruitment. Taking over a team that has serious deficiencies in key positions. Working for a GM who is probably not an ally who brings in nobody who can really help on the field?

Actually given this Higgins probably deserves a paid holiday for the next 3 years. Coaches will be lining up to jump into this.

No, slant, that is not at all what I am saying.

Read more carefully. .. my original post is based on the (I thought) clear assumption that Higgins is NOT going to be fired during the course of the season (let alone after 4 games), but will be let go at the end of the year.

I don't want to fire Higgins now. It would achieve nothing and anyway the org won't do it because Hawkins is still on the payroll. But if the season continues to spiral downward the way it has so far, I would definitely not bring him back in the offseason.

As for player recruitment, what connections does Higgins have? He's been out of the coaching game for seven years. Do you really think he'd have brought in scads of awesome talent, or that Popp was holding him back from doing so? He had so few connections, the best he could do was bring in fellow retread Rick Worman whom he promptly fired a week into training camp! And instead of filling the spot with someone qualified, he just gave the job to a guy who has done nothing as a coach but break down film for other coaches.

And those absurd challenges from last night. Does that fill you with confidence in Tom Higgins? What about special teams, the unit he's in charge of? As oldpro noted, his blocking schemes are so outdated that the Lions were able to block a punt without even really trying. Is that Popp's fault? What about the complete absence of blocking for Taylor on kick returns? The endless holding penalties? Nobody forced Higgins to fire Rychleski, but he did, and the unit is now measurably worse off.

I agree that Popp hasn't been at his best in terms of player recruitment, but there is enough talent on the field for us to be competitive, at least. Blowouts like last night and the general disarray of the team are not normal. We're not an expansion team. We have talent on both sides of the ball. There is no reason for us to be this horrendous.

Cant fire him now and the Als wont fire him until season's end. The problem with Higgins and most of his staff is that they are just average coaches (not including Thorpe - who will become the next Head Coach) I mean they have Bolduc ??? and one of his assistants from Sherbrooke (cant recall the name right now) What are these two doing ? It appears that they are working on ST with Higgins, I mean Bolduc couldn't win at the CIS level, really Als management, what could you be thinking !

Yes Madjack..I realize you are saying after the year. But to be calling for his firing 4 games in I think is faulty.
He's been dealt a poor hand to play and that is not his doing. I'm shocked at how poorly Smith is playing but that is who he has to work with so far.
I believe that the talent level is below standard and any coach needs time. Montreal will not being doing themselves any favors by adding to dead payroll and becoming perceived as a graveyard for coaches.

Discipline...I'm not suggesting that Higgins has scads of contacts. But every HC and GM must work in tandem. A functional relationship is one where the HC over time assesses his team, determines shortcomings and formulates a vision that fits his philosophy. The GM/ scouts will search for talent to fit that philosophy.

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I think you hit the nail on the head Slant. While Higgins hasn't been great he's also been out of coaching for quite awhile. The last thing you guys need is a coaching & QB carousel. He needs a full season and if he shows no improvement you have a full offseason to find a replacement. How many years was Higgins signed to? And why was Popp's signing so well received if he meddles with the coach?

No matter how we feel as fans. This is the team and they will have to find their way, Smith is 3-4 as a starter. I don't see how starting a QB carousel in addition to the coaching one will accomplish anything, the reality is there is nobody behind Smith right now. After the season the team can look at the situation more clearly.

As most of you I am disappointed but there are still 14 games remaining; let's not fire some of the staff,including the Head Coach and the QB now. Yes, Troy Smith is a major question mark but I am inclined to still give him a chance. Who can replace him?

My biggest disappointment has been the loss to Winnipeg; with regards to last night game, I was definitely not expecting a win. Not an excuse, but it has not been better under Don and Mark at BC Place. No one can explain why.

There are talented players on this team and good coaches. For me, the number one issue/question mark remains Troy Smith; he will definitely have to improve in the next 3 to 4 games,otherwise his stay in the CFL will be cut short.

As most of you know, my choice for Head Coach,for the 2014 season, was Jim Popp; this being said, I have confidence in Tom Higgins and I don't see why we should consider firing him now.

The next game against the Argos will be crucial/ extremely important; the Als will have to win.

The only consolation is that all East division teams are as bad or not better than the Als and they have not lost a game,yet, to an Eastern team I definitely don't expect Ottawa and Toronto to win in week 5; if so, all 4 East teams will have 1 win each.

Hoping for better games ahead.

Richard

Given the absurd wasted challenges last night and the special teams fiasco, why would anyone have confidence in Tom Higgins? I'm legitimately curious.

I know I certainly don't have confidence in Higgins. I was never in favor of his hiring. No fault to him, but he could not land the RedBlacks HC job. Has been out of coaching for 7 years and was handed the Als HC by Wettenhal.
So reality is, Wettenhal is who the finger should be pointed at for this move.

And while yes it is true the Als have never fared well at BC Place, last night's game was one of the worst efforts I can recall.
One would have hoped for progression over lastw eek's game and given it was Game # 4. The exact opposite.
And with that Higgins being the HC has to take blame. No adjustment whatsoever. Every aspect of the team's performance was bad. However as I mentioned in a previous post, hard to blame the D when they were on the field for basically three quarters of the game.
OC reports to the HC. ST reports to the HC.
HC leaves Smith in for the better part of the game as oppose to making some changes.

So for me, with 14 games left, unless something drastically changes, I do not see Higgins leading this team past the Argos or Redblacks and will battle the TiCats to stay out of the basement.

Argos have Ray and Milanovich. Are are currently without Owens and Drurie. They come back and this team should finish first.
RedBlack have Burris while hot and cold, certainly has the experience to lead them to a second place finish.

Als Stala? Johnson? Smith? DesLauriers? ST return game?

3-4 as a starter? No. This year, he is 1-3 as the starter. Last year is last year -- it doesn't count. And his numbers through four games are absolutely abominable, some of the worst CFL QB stats that I can remember seeing over the past decade. Having said that, I agree that for now, we need to stick with him. But one more game like last night and he will effectively leave the coaches with no choice but to start looking at other options. You can't be competitive with that kind of performance consistently from the man behind centre...

Here's a stat for the record books

45 passing yards last night. 39 of them to Stafford.

I had to do a double take when I saw that... 45 total passing yards. That is just plain shameful!
100 yards is a bad night in the CFL if you ask me. But 45 yards....

I didn't think we could set the offensive bar lower than it was last year, but there's the proof. :oops:

I know but I don't think the options will make this team better THIS season.

No, but if he keeps messing the bed it will leave us in no better shape this season AND with no way of assessing his replacement. If Smith is the guy who's going to keep delivering 9 yards of passing in a half of football, we need to start the evaluation of his QB replacements ASAP, so that we're ahead of the game next season. If we stick with him through these kinds of nadir-type performances, we'll be the same crap team, but without any sense of who could replace him next year. There's also the matter of the other players, who will check out mentally if we keep starting a QB who clearly is not pro caliber. It's as much for team morale as anything else...