Keys To Beating Montreal - EDSF – November 10th, 2013

"Some people think football is a matter of life & death. I assure you, its much more serious than that!? Bill Shankly (I know … Different type of Football … I just love the quote!)
Alright Ladies & Gentlemen! It’s Playoff Time!

Win or Go Home!
Do or Die!
It’s Now or Never!
Some sort of verbal ultimatum & irrevocable action to succeed at all costs!

So with that being said … It’s time once again to take a look at the Keys to Beating Montreal in this weekend’s Eastern Division Semi Final.

Let’s start with the Defense.

  1. Contain Troy Smith
  2. Challenge The Receivers
  3. Create Turnovers

Contain Troy Smith

When I say contain, I mean it in the most literal sense. They need to keep QB Smith in the pocket. They need to keep him from running or rolling out with ease. This can be achieved with equal and sustained pocket pressure & a spy by the MLB or WILL LB. Linemen must stay in their gaps/lanes while rushing the passer & pushing the pocket. If they leave gaps in the middle or off the tackles, the former Buckeye will quickly take advantage for big gains. The DLine must be very assignment sound & the LB’s must be able to fill the gaps quickly & soundly. The other key aspect in containing Smith, I think we saw a glimpse of last week against Winnipeg … Defensive Linemen Getting Their Hands Up & Deflecting Passes.

A solid front & sustained push into Smith’s face with the linemen getting their hands up deflecting passes or making Smith throw over top adding air under his throws will be very important.

Challenge The Receivers

By no means am I saying the Alouette receivers are soft or light by any means … Except for Deslauriers who folds like a cheap tent & Carter who I think can be manhandled. But I believe that the TiCats need to apply up front, in their grille-type pressure to the Montreal receivers. They can’t let Green get off the line of scrimmage clean & untouched. They have to get some sort of jam on him & Bruce. Again, by no means do I think they can intimidate Arland &/or SJ. But they need to be physical & make them change their routes. Get hands on them. Get a body in the way. Be aggressive fighting through picks. It’s playoff football & I truly believe they’ll be able to get away with a little more contact.

Ideally I’d like to see Rico Murray with a bump & cover inside 10 yards with an over top cover with McCullough on # 19. Anyone covering Bruce, push him to the sideline, he does less damage there.

Create Turnovers

This is really a desired result of the first two key factors. If you can contain Smith … Get your hands up defensively along the line … make Troy throw errant balls … bump receivers off their routes … then the TiCats should be able to create turnovers.

I think the most likely source of turnovers will be in the form of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. Pressure from Isaac outside combine with “HANDS UP? and line-backers dropping in coverage equals turnovers to me.

In Summary ... On Defense

Contain Troy Smith - Disciplined - Assignments - Keep in Pocket - Get Hands Up
Challenge The Receivers - Get a body on the big boys - Bump & Run #19 & #1
Create Turnovers - Get to the ball - It’ll be in play - Get to the ball - Strip - It'll be in play

Now let’s take a look at the offensive side of the ball for Hamilton.

Much has be said & written about Montreal’s propensity to blitz. Much also has been said & written on how Hamilton can & must defeat the blitz. The simple answer, which has been discussed at length, is in a traditional pro-style offense, is to get rid of the ball quickly & make Montreal pay dearly for blitzing. This puts much of the team’s fate in the hands of Henry Burris & the receivers to read/recognize the blitz & find the hot route/area/player accordingly. That means Henry & the receivers have to be on the same page & be in synch & adapt quickly & seamlessly. That’s a heavy burden & one that they have not been able to achieve with any consistency or frequency thus far.

So … with that said … I suggest a different approach. Rather than trying to read/react/adapt/counter/handle Montreal’s blitz … I’d like to see them change it up and dictate & not be stuck in a traditional style offense.

Hold onto your hats ladies & gentlemen … But I’m suggesting that the TiCats start Dan LeFevour & mix in Jeremiah Masoli for the first half of the game & then go to Burris in the second!

With that in mind, here are my 3 Keys On Offense For Hamilton.

  1. Spread & Stretch The Field
  2. Second & Attainable
  3. Sustain Drives

To start the game I would have Dan LeFevour at QB operating the Zone-Read-Run-Option offensive set. Spread Montreal both horizontally & vertically. Soften up the edges of the Als’ defence. Put their linebackers & defensive ends on an island on the edges. Make them choose whether to take the running back or take the quarterback. Make the Alouette front 7 play assignment football rather than freelancing & making plays. Make their DB’s also decide whether to come up & contain the QB or stick with their man. Hamilton must also run at least one or two receivers deep and at least attempt a few throws to make Montreal respect the deep threat.

Zone-Read-Run Option ladies & gents with Dan LeFevour to start the game.

Then I’d mix in some of the Spread-Triple-Option (Or the incorrectly labeled “WildCat?) offense that we saw Hamilton use against Montreal 2 weeks ago. 7 man, overset Oline . Both OT’s to one side of the formation with TE Delahunt. Pound the ball with Masoli. Run the options to the crisscrossing receivers in the backfield. Let Masoli throw a few. Hit the TE on out routes & releases. Make the option pitch to the RB. Hit Gable on wheels out of the backfield.

2 different offensive sets. 2 non-traditional strategies. 1 goal.

Spread & soften up Montreal’s front seven. Dictate rather than react. Control the ball. Control the clock. Sustain drives. Stay out of 2nd & long. Get at least something on 1st down. 3 - 4 -5 -6 yards. String together some 1st downs. Move the ball slow & steady. Get something & make Montreal play a balanced, assignment based defense rather than an attacking one.

Hopefully this will have Hamilton owning time of possession in the 1st Half. Winning the field position battle. And most importantly … with a lead on the scoreboard!

Then I’d start Henry in the second half. Having Montreal base their half-time adjustments on the LeFevour/Masoli sets, the TiCats change it up again & unleash a traditional pro-style offense with Burris.

I know I’ve preached about this before, but we saw it last week against Winnipeg & it worked. We saw the Good Henry & not the Bad Hank. You gotta get Henry on the roll. 5-7-9 step designed roll-out packages. Oline slide blocks. RB fills gaps. Overload one side of the formation with 3 receivers running triangle tree routes that overload the zone(s). 1 vertical stretch route. 1 snag/stick sideline route. 1 drag/sit route. All to the area that Henry is rolling towards. All right in his view. Hit the deep. Hit the sideline. Hit the drag/sit. Or keep running up the seam.

This gets Henry in a rhythm. Gives him at least 3 or more easy reads. Instead of him having his head on a swivel looking for an open receiver with the rush coming at him, get him moving & focused on one side with multiple options. When they do this, Henry has had his best games. All we’re looking for Sunday is for him the have a good half after a softened up & unbalanced Montreal defense tries to adapt & adjust!

Those are my offensive keys & game plan. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of what we shall call “feedback? from other members on the board!

Great post as always FG69.

I can't offer much, but I feel, we must control the line of scrimmage on offense!
The "O" Line can and must have a great game.

Told ya ... Basically nailed it as far as the game plan.

I thought it'd be a little more effective ... weather may have played a role ... but in the end ...


That's all that matters! (Other than pointing out that I told everyone that LeFevour would play a major role!)