After 9 games, we're 7-2, but I think we can all agree that the team needs improvement in certain areas. What do you think we need to do going forward? Remember, the goal here isn't to finish the season with a respectable record, then lose in the playoffs. The goal is to win the Grey Cup. Do you think we can win the big one this year, and if not, what has to happen for us to win?
My list of recommendations:
More commitment to the run. It is critical for us to get Cobourne involved in the game earlier. Not only does it make our offense more effective, but it saves Calvillo wear and tear from a pass rush that otherwise can tee off on the quarterback without worrying about play action and run D.
Improvement in the deep-passing game. Somehow, we have got to find a way to make defenses respect our ability to go deep. Calvillo needs to work on his touch and the receivers have to be committed to running their routes properly.
More creativity. Trestman & Milanovich have to dig into the playbook for a more creative mix of plays. What worked to perfection last season no longer works in 2009: teams have figured out our quick-passing game and our dink and dump offense. We have to stop expecting our receivers to earn YAC to get a first down, and we have to find ways to get playmakers like Richardson more involved in the offense.
More McPherson. Yes, I think the time has come. I'm not advocating that we make Adrian our starter, but I do think he needs to see the ball in more than just short-yardage situations. This, to my mind, goes hand in hand with keeping Calvillo on a slightly shorter leash during periods when he's struggling. There is nothing wrong with McPherson playing a series or two when the offense is going two-and-out under Calvillo and we can't move the ball. Rolling with Calvillo exclusively was fine when he was posting MOP numbers and piling up TDs by the bucketful. This season, his efficiency is diminishing with each game. Playing McPherson gives us a chance to evaluate our QB of the future while also presenting opposing defenses with a very different look at quarterback.
More blitz. I know our four-man pressure is generally good, but to my mind anything that you do repeatedly, whether on offense or defense, becomes a tendency that other teams can scout and exploit. We simply don't bring enough blitz pressure on a regular basis, which makes it easier for the other team's QB to make his reads pre-snap. While I don't believe going back to the blitz-happy Matthews days is warranted, I do feel that our D could benefit from more blitz packages that give other teams different looks as far as what we like to do on certain downs and in certain situations.
Guzman for Cox. I hate Chip Cox. It's not personal, but he was a terrible DB and is now an average linebacker. He has two positive attributes: speed and tackling ability. However, he simply cannot read plays worth a damn. He constantly gets confused on coverage assignments, particularly when his man leaks out into the flat, and often winds up double-covering another receiver, leaving his man wide open and leading to a big gain for the other team. He doesn't match up well with receivers one on one, but isn't enough of an impact player at the line to compensate. Guzman, from what I've seen, is a stud who can make plays at the line of scrimmage. He doesn't have Cox's speed, but is much better at reading the play as it's developing.