I'll let others dissect last night's performance on offence and special teams. As most posters know, I always focus on defence in every football game I watch.
I give Thorpe and the Als' defence an F for last night. We may have held the Redblacks to under 27 points, but that does not tell the whole story.
One of the things I was hoping for was to see fewer 3 man fronts. It simply hadn't been working so far this season, as we've been dreadful on second and longs whenever Thorpe has gone to it. With little to no pressure on the QB, our defenders have to stay with their man longer than normal, and we're getting a bit long in the tooth on defence (Cox, Parker, Brown) such that it is not realistic to expect them to cover their man that long.
So what did we see last night? Fewer 3 man fronts? No, we saw precisely the reverse! Thorpe was dialing it up even more frequently, including on first downs! And, frankly, it killed us.
I don't, in theory, have a major problem with a 3/4 scheme as the base set. But, and it's one big but, ONLY if you have the personnel to run such a scheme successfully (as in, several years back, when Calgary had George White, John Grace, Scott Coe, and Brian Clark as LBs; with those guys, a 3/4 makes sense as otherwise you've got a stellar LB sitting on the bench).
But we don't have that personnel. Woods is out, and Elsworth is still learning at MLB, so who would be our two MLBs in a 3/4? And this whole concept of dropping guys like Knapton and Kitchens into pass coverage is insane. . . when Burris has a lot of time, as he did last night since a 3 man rush can't beat 5 guys to get pressure on him, he'll find someone open, as guys like Knapton and Kitchens just don't have the speed to keep up with a slotback or a running back releasing out of the backfield (as he surely will, he sure ain't needed for pass protection).
So while Thorpe said all the right things pre-game, his performance last night in scheme selection was a major fail.
And I'm still waiting for someone, anyone, to explain how a penalty machine like Jonathan Hefney was considered an upgrade over Jeff Tisdale. Sure, Tisdale was a riverboat gambler, but I'll take getting burned from time to time if it's balanced by some timely interceptions (which he gave us) over an undisciplined Hefney who's playing out of position anyway (to my recollection in his previous CFL stops he's always been a DHB, and occasionally SAM, but never the boundary corner. . .I stand to be corrected).
Yes, Cato's two interceptions really hurt given where they occurred, no doubt taking major points off the board. Bede's FG miss hurt. Going away from Rutley in the second half hurt.
But, even with all those going against us, we still could have won had the defence at a minimum quit with this 3 man front nonsense.
My two cents (1 cent adjusted for our falling dollar).