La longue passe

Le football est parfois surprenant.

Toute la saison, la défensive des Alouettes en a arraché contre la longue passe. Les punitions d'obstruction contre le receveur ou de contact interdit contre le receveur ont plu comme la mousson au Bengladesh. Une fois en éliminatoires, la tertiaire des Alouettes a joue deux parties presqu'impeccables contre la longue passe!?!?!?

Particulièrement Dix a éprouvé des problèmes de couverture, et pourtant, il a connu deux bonnes parties après la saison, quand ça comptait.

On ne doit pas juger une saison sur deux parties, mais avouons que c'est embêtant de penser à laisser partir un morceau de la brigade, quand les morceaux ont soudé quand il le fallait.

Je demeure convaincu que nous avons besoin d'un demi de coin avec un plus gros gabarit que Dix et Estelle, pour mieux rivaliser avec des receveurs comme Carr, Lewis, Stala, Bauman, Fantuz et Arceneaux.

I know what you mean. Here we were concerned (and rightly so) about our tendency to get burned by the deep ball, all the PI / illegal contact penalties, etc. And then in the championship game, with everything on the line, Burke's boys come out and absolutely shut down a team that lives off the deep ball (Saskatchewan). :lol:

I am now convinced that had we not been forced to live like nomads and lose practice time week in and week out, the defense (and the offense too) would have given a much better accounting of themselves. Look at how much better we were in the playoffs when the coaches actually had time both to work on player fundamentals and to scheme new plays, looks, and formations.

That said, I, like you, still believe that a bigger, more physical body at wide-side corner would be ideal. Dix has come a long way this season -- I can see why the coaches were high on him way back when some of us were scratching our heads trying to figure out how this little dude was going to replace Davis Sanchez -- but if the secondary has a weakness, it's at his spot when teams decide to go after him with big, fast wideouts.

Agree with most of that, but some of the D secondary/LBs are free agents and the others have to be re-signed. We definitely have to fix the practise field issue. BUT we need to have them all back, or Popp has to go an a shopping spree - yet again! This is what I hate about the CFL - we never know from season to season who will be back. And especially in the case of a good season (with a GC or two to boot!), that increases market value for some players with NFL scouts.

I'm hoping we can keep our team essentially intact - especially the O-line as you have suggested d&p. If we have key holes to fill in the off-season, who knows what to expect? One key element, for sure, is AC. Let's hope the surgery goes well and that whatever treatments/rehab is required will be successful. On top of that, he will have to get himself into shape and decide to re-sign for at least one more season - may be a tall order! In the same vein, all of our O super-stars have to re-sign.

If we lose key players, and even if Popp is successful in signing super-stars from elsewhere, it will take time for them to jive as a cohesive unit - O and D. Consistency, to me, is the key. Otherwise, all expectations of a "threepeat", "dynasty"...will be folly. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

I'll say it one more time
Perhaps it will sink in.
The Alouettes have the best defence in the league
They did all year

Simply put it's a defence that rests on two pillars: talent and effort
If one of these pillars is lacking in any particular game...the whole thing falls.
As explained by others...the Alouettes play more man defence than any other team in the league
More than any other coverage, man relies on consistent pressure on the quarterback
Give receivers that few extra seconds and no amount of talent can keep them from getting open

The point is....again...when the game is less than important, the effort level goes down.
Quarterbacks sit in the pocket and play pitch and catch.
When the game is important things change dramatically
Bowman, Stewart, McElveen and especially Wilson suddenly ramp up the pressure
Quarterbacks are on the run and coverage is assured.

This explains the Alouettes complete breakdowns on defence one week, then complete turnaround the week after. It also explains how they're a completely different team (against the Argonauts...say) in the regular season as in the port-season. If it was deliberate, I'd call it a form of "rope-a-dope" But I imagine it's simply a natural reaction to the importance of the game.

The reason I mention Wilson is because of his essential role in stopping the run.
The Als were close to impenetrable on the ground...forcing teams into 2nd and long.
While run-stopping is often a more passive form of defence (stopping holes rather than pursuing QB's etc) it's the extra effort by McElveen and Wilson in important games and in crucial situations that makes the difference for the whole defence.

The one increasingly weak point in this defensive "strategy", geared towards championships...and that evolved "organically" as a result of the lack of significant competition in the East...is the increasing toll age is having on Anwar Stewart. And Stewart's age is one of the factors that's making for an increasing "effort gap" between "games that matter" and "games you can lie back and put your shoes up"
At "full-speed" Stewart is barely cutting it. It's hurting the team and is definitely going to have to be addressed.
I'd like to see Anwar rotating inside....where his pass-blocking and run-stopping talents could still be of great use.
But the Alouettes definitely need a new, younger rush-end for next season.

I'd also like to take my hat off to Tim Burke for the creativity of his Grey Cup strategy. While I think the Alouettes might just as well have got it done...playing man and relying on the magnitude of the game to inspire the effort needed to fuel this defence....there's no arguing with success.

And in this case that's a good thing. :wink: