Keys To Beating Toronto – EDF – Sunday, November 17th, 2013

No need for fancy phrases or motivational quotes ...
We know what this is ...
This is Toronto vs. Hamilton ...
Hogtown vs. Steeltown ...
Eastern Divisional Final ...

Let’s get right to it & start with the defensive side of the ball.

  1. Four-Four-Four Defense
  2. Force Frito Ray
  3. Frazzle Owens et. Al.

I’m sure after watching the tape of the EDSF & looking at the statistics throughout the year, Coach Milanovich & his staff will look to administer a very healthy dose of Norwood/Steele in an aggressive running attack. If they can get decent yards along the ground, between the tackles on 1st down & get into 2nd & short or 2nd & mid … The Argos will rack up the yards & points & control time of possession and quite literally run the TiCats out of Rogers Centre.

The 1st Defensive Key to me is to use a 4-4-4 defensive alignment on 1st downs & obvious run situations. The TiCats did this a little bit this past Sunday versus Montreal as Coach Steinhauer would bring in Plesius & Bowman at LB’s & substitute out Issac & Eric Davis & slide Rico Murray over the field corner. I fully expect to see more of this alignment & personnel grouping in the early going of this Sunday’s game as Toronto will most definitely try and establish the run & it will be integral for Hamilton to stop it & put the Double Blue into 2nd & long.

My 2nd Defensive Key is to Force Frito Ray into throwing downfield between the hash marks. I know this sounds crazy, why would the TiCats want Ricky Ray throwing into the heart of the defense? Well, because of exactly that, it’s into the heart of the defense where there’s support, clutter, traffic, disruption & more opportunities to put a knock on their receivers & break up plays & even get some much needed take-aways.

Ricky, within Milanovich’s offense, is a master at the dump-off in the flats while under pressure. He gets the ball into the hands of Andre Durie or the RB or Owens who then turn a little play into a much bigger one with YAC. (Notice once again … it’s YAC … Not YAC Yards … The Y denotes Yards … No need to say it twice!)

Of course the TiCats need to pressure right in the face of Ricky Ray. But they need to take his usual release valve away. They need a spy on Durie so that he doesn’t get that little dump off in the flat & then turns it up the sidelines for 20 or 30 yards after the catch. (See how I did that?) The TiCats need to force Ricky to throw over top of outstretched hands right up the middle. Make him put a little air under the ball. Make him go over the middle with passes that can be tipped or are a little risky. Make him go deep to other receivers. I think the TiCats match up well with their corners & DB's against guys like Chiles, Inman, Barnes etc, etc,. It's not them that are going to beat you.

Related to this point is my 3rd Defensive Key. Bump, rub, disrupt, knock … Get a hand, body, anything on Owens & Durie to knock them off their routes and really get under their skin … of #2 in particular. If you frazzle Owens, you take him out of the game. He’s also a fumble machine. You gotta get some sort of contact on him as he comes off the line of scrimmage off his waggle. Anything. A jam. A rub. Anything. Just get a body in his way & make him change his route. You get in Owen’s face & he’ll get frustrated.

Durie is a little different as he’s a calm, calculated pro & silent assassin. Still, you need to know where he is at all times. He’s not a huge fan of contact. He makes his living from the hash marks out to the sideline. Doesn’t like the middle of the field. So the TiCat defenders gotta be in his hip pocket & force him back inside towards pursuit. Can't let him casually walk out of bounds after a gain. You gotta tackle him and make him earn any YAC.

In Summary …

If the TiCats can stop Toronto from getting significant yardage on 1st down running plays & put them in 2nd and long & make Ricky go to receivers other than Owens & Durie … I like Hamilton’s chances … I Like It A Lot! (Read in Lloyd Christmas Voice!)

Four-Four Defense … Force Frito Inside … Frazzle Owens

Next we’ll take a look at the offensive side of the ball. Which will be much more difficult since with the creativity of Austin & Condell … we could see the return of the single wing or veer or wishbone … who knows with those two!

Yeah, that covers it. The only other thing is to not take cheap penalties.

we gotta be discipline on tackling and not allow durie owens etc get their yac yards,plus pound owens i still think he's somewhat banged up,,,,set em up on the 2nd and 4 and see if they can run on us, doin so ,need to bring pressure on ray,, cuz sittin in a zone he'll eventually pick ya apart.,,,,on offence we need to use our jumbo offence and pound gable,,,which will set up a decent pass action for hank,,,from there i think we have decent receivers enough to beat their secondary.

Very Good Point & Thanks For Mentioning It ...

... No Stupid Penalties! Especially with hits on RR ... Gotta be in the strike zone ... Hits low & hits high will most definitely get flagged! Err on the safe side since the pressure is as good as the sack ... Don't take that extra step on Ricky ... They'll get flagged!

The number one "key" is to score more points than the blew team. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Seriously though, I believe the main key will be the Cat front 4. If they can put consistent pressure on Ricky Bobby they have a chance. He is darn good at picking apart a zone and if you go man to man while blitzing that will create a Ricky Bobby Feeding Frenzy. Coach 'O' will be a big part of our success or lack of it. Hopefully he has a few tricks up his striped sleeves which will confuse the blew team's 'O'.

OSKEE WEE WEE :rockin:

Nothing would please me more than seeing a Ricky sandwich with Norwood and Lawrence as the bread on the blew team's first play on offence. I don't even care if they draw a penalty, because I want to see RR PUNISHED. :rockin:

On defence, give them yards on the ground but try and take away as many passing lanes as possible. On offence, don't get fancy, if it's a long yard or more on 3rd down, do the field goal and take the points. Short quick passes with the odd long ball to keep them honest. Use Gable on the short passes as well.

And yes, no stupid penalties.

Only thing to add--
Steinauer vs O'Shea


We can and have had success pressuring Ray,
test out that shoulder,
His es-capability is questionable.

That's a nice list of key, but there is more than one phase of the game, we have to play offense and special teams also.

With Ricky Ray in, a strong Argo receiving corps, and a solid running game, there is little chance of fully shutting down the Argos offense. The defense will need to avoid giving up the big plays, and the offense will need to keep pace.

Unlike last week's game, I suspect his game will be a high scoring affair. Burris will need to be at his best, and will need to distribute the ball, with a balanced offense. If Hank is unable to execute a little better than the past few weeks, there is no way the Ti-Cats move on to the Grey Cup. The defense must play solid and possibly come up with a few big plays. Special teams are usually a non-factor in the playoffs, particularly when inside. Hopefully we are able to score field goals when called upon.


Against the Argos... If we do the following two items, we will be succesful.

  • Long sustained drives. Our best defense is our offense. CJ and Dan, solid run game. Keep Ricky Ray and their O off the field.

  • If we can stop their run game with out stacking the box, we can be succesful on D. Make them beat you on the ground. It's their weakest assest on O.

Of all the blew team players, Durie is the one who scares me most. The guy seems to be able to escape anything less than the perfect wrap-up tackle. The guy's a Weeble - hitting him may make him wobble, but he won't fall down. And getting him wrapped up isn't the easiest thing either, especially in open field. Maybe Isaac has some tips on how to stop this guy? But I think you're right, he seems more dangerous on the outside - where there is open field - so forcing him inside and having someone stick to him like glue could be the key.

Mr.Obvious says this game hinges on 'good' Hank playing a smart game and avoiding the big brain cramp at the worst possible moment. If Hank can avoid the pick six then I like our chances.

Great analysis FenderGuy.

Hank's been a wee bit shakey lately which probably means he'll be sharp on Sunday. I do think D needs to either score or create a few turnovers. Ray is as solid a playoff qb as the league has seen in a long while.

My apologies for the delay … It was always my intention to cover all 3 phases of the game. So without further adieu … Let us look at the offensive side of the ball.

  1. Good Henry
  2. Get It To Gable
  3. Go For Speed

I won’t belabor the first key too much, since we’ve all touched upon it in various ways at some point or another in some way or fashion … but in order to win we definitely need to see Good Henry on Sunday and hope that Bad Hank is somewhere buried away in Rob Ford’s basement drinking & smoking whatever!

When I say we need to see “Good Henry?, I specifically mean that he needs to realize that the game is not on his shoulders. When Henry takes the game into his hands or upon his shoulders … that’s when Bad Hank makes his Mr. Hyde appearance!

Henry needs to realize that he’s as only good as those around him. He needs to spread the ball around. Throw on a 3 count. Get the ball into the hands of playmakers. He needs to throw it away rather than trying to make a play. Henry needs to be a point guard. Distribute the ball. He doesn’t have to make the play. Get rid of the ball Henry … It’s of no use the longer you hold it!

Which leads me to my second key … Get It To Gable!

My biggest ... And I mean BIGGEST critique of Burris is how many times Henry misses Gable out of the backfield. Time after time after time … I see Gable gliding up the hash-mark seams totally uncovered! HENRY HAS TO RECOGNIZE THIS! It’s the difference between a 4 yard play & a 40 yard play. He continually misses the seam/go route. He always dumps it off to the shallow wheel route or shallow curl at the expense of the seam. Do it once or twice, regardless of success … & you’ll open up the underneath patterns.

The other aspect of “Get It To Gable? is that quite frankly … The Toronto LB’s can’t match up with him athletically. McCune is tough but can’t track him sideline to sideline. Ball is aggressive but can’t keep up with him vertically. Morley plan simply isn’t the athlete/player to be in this conversation.

Get the ball to Gable. Screens, draws, shovels, wheels, options, seam/stick/go patterns. He’s the best athlete on the field … get him the ball!

And lastly but certainly not least … the TiCats will win this game if they embrace & focus upon speed & athleticism! Toronto’s Defense is slow. They’re tough. Aggressive. Physical. But frankly they’re slow & they take undisciplined penalties. Chris Jones is an undisciplined coach. You can get under the skin of his players. Get to Ball, Mitchell & Watkins … Guaranteed 45 yards in penalties at least!

They have 1 cover guy in Watkins. That’s it. That’s all. He’s dedicated to Fantuz. Their LB’s can’t cover Gable & the SB’s in space. Coach Austin & Condell need to stretch & test Toronto vertically & horizontally & then adjust to the holes/gaps that are revealed.

So in summary … (And once again sorry for the delay)

  1. See The Real Me … Henry … HENRY!
  2. Gable … Sure Plays a Mean Pin Ball
  3. Sub … Sti .. Tute …

Henry has to realize that he has & is the leader of the best group of athletes on the field. Get the ball into their hands. Let them make the plays. 1-2-3 throw … get the pigskin into the hands of playmakers!

i think the main key as far as our offence is concerned is how we can implemenet our jumbo offence and pound the ball. i like seeing oneill or a fullback(delanunt) lined at te,,cuz we can outnumbered their size guys along the line,,,the hope is they try to match it and then we can at times go play action,,especially if they have to throw in an extra lb or dlineman to stop our run.,,,ball control is also huge,,cuz you need to keep ray off the field as much as possible.

Thank you, FenderGuy.

I've been looking for the second part of your write up.I thoroughly enjoy reading them and learned a lot from them. I try to keep your notes in mind while I'm watching the game.

I'm thinking penalties may just be the deciding factor. Not so much hits on RR but forward pass interference. It seems to me that there are a lot to these penalties called at crucial points in a game and often are major factors in the outcome. Receivers who fail to catch the ball look to the Officials with their hands outspread looking for the call. In a game as crucial as this I hope the Officials use some discretion and call only blatant penalties and not the cheap ones. I know rules are rules but common sense has to enter here somewhere.

Oh, the irony, given the ending of regulation last week.

All I'm hoping for is consistency within the game.

Key on all three aspects of the game

Offence, Keep creating 2nd and 5yards or less situations, Don’t play the deep ball to often on first down

Defence, Disrupt Ray with blitzes early and often(without drawing penalties)

Special Teams, Banks needs to get under the ball. Force no yard majors and don’t concede singles for lack of effort! This will create good field position.