Running Game 2011

http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=365528

According to this interview, the job is Whitaker's to lose in TC. Not to say that he can't lose it, but that he's got the inside track.

Not really a fan of this decision, I have to say. I'd prefer it if the spot were wide open and we had Whitaker, Cobb, Bernard, and Green fighting for the spot. Whitaker hasn't shown enough in the past couple of years to warrant an insider's spot IMO.

Anyhow, I thought I'd start a thread devoted entirely to the running game this season, as it seems to be such a frequent topic of conversation among us Als fans. :slight_smile:

I agree with Discipline that I am not the greatest fan of Whitaker, we would need better performance out of the position.

As Jim Popp mentioned this morning, what Whitaker has going for him is he knows the system, known to be pretty complex. As for Trestman`s comment, I think it is just a coach showing some loyalty to a veteran.

Popp in discussing the RBs - Whitaker, Cobb, Green, Bernard - mentioned that there were too many and that not all would be taken to the main camp. He also said they would keep 2 of them for the season.

. . . and Emmanuel Marc is in the mix as well. It will be interesting to see which 2 make it to opening day. Tough to predict at this point.

My gut feeling is that Green won't make it to camp. He's 34 years old, the oldest of the prospective backs, and doesn't have any previous CFL experience. And personally, I'd rather see Whitaker, Cobb, and Bernard duke it out for the starting spot.

Noted on TSN is the huge question about Whit's ability to block. He was the back whose lack of block may have had something to do re the game of august 19 in which Calvillo was injured. From his apprence it seems to me that Whit's lacks Cobourne physical presence and strength. Cobourne was the stength in the backfield the past few years. I doubt that Whit is up to the task.

Correct me if I am wrong. . . lord knows it wouldn't be the first time.

I recall well Whitaker missing a block leading to a sack of AC. .. but I don't believe that was the play on which AC hurt his sternum, I think that was a different play in a different game.

Regardless, I'm not prepared to throw him under the bus based on one mistake. That said, I can't say I've been impressed with him the few times I've seen him play.

As long as he isn't just handed the job and there's fair competition in TC and the exhibition games, whatever the coaching staff decides will likely be just fine by me.

And I agree, at this point Green looks likeliest not to make it.

I think you're right, MJ. His missed block was in the loss to Hamilton and resulted in a Calvillo fumble and Cat TD. Against Winnipeg, I've read multiple theories as to who was at fault on the play that led to Calvillo's injury. Some suggest it was Whitaker, some Lambert.

Regardless, I'm not prepared to throw him under the bus based on one mistake. That said, I can't say I've been impressed with him the few times I've seen him play.

As long as he isn't just handed the job and there's fair competition in TC and the exhibition games, whatever the coaching staff decides will likely be just fine by me.


Exactly. I'm not impressed with Whitaker, but I'm not writing him off. If he earns the job in training camp, I'll support him.

I believe there are also strategic things the team can do to make up for the loss of Cobourne`s blocking - moving the pocket a bit more, keeping in an extra blocker, and just plain running the ball more to keep defences guessing.

Running the ball is where I feel a Bernard or Cobb can outshine Cobourne.

Moving the pocket isn't going to work too often given Anthony's relatively limited mobility, and because it cuts off half the field in terms of reads for the QB. But I agree about running the ball more. Problem is, I don't see Trestman and Milanovich changing their offensive philosophy. They run a modified West Coast offense, and the starting tailback, no matter who he is, is a blocker first and a rusher second. If Whitaker can't block, he won't last long as the starter, and I'm positive he knows that.

Running the ball is where I feel a Bernard or Cobb can outshine Cobourne.
Depends on how we're running. Avon is better running off-tackle; Cobb is arguably a bit better between the tackles [i]if[/i] he doesn't get dancing fever before he hits the hole.

I listened to coach's comments. He mentioned that his blocking skills and dedication to protecting the Quarterback were appreciated. The guy has earned the right to be #1 back going into preseason and he it is up to him to own it. I think it is the right move. Last year I was a bit critical about coach's decision to hand Chiu's job to Lambert and it worked out fine. These things work themselves out.

It only worked out fine because Lambert got injured and LJB stepped in and flourished at center. I still think it was a mistake to give Lambert Chiu's job. Lambert was quite poor at center. No accident the line settled down after LBJ moved to center and Woodruff took over at left guard.

What bugs me a little more is Coach didn't give this same "loyalty" to Deslauriers or Desrivaux, so he comes across as a bit selective.

Well, there is some sense in seeing Whitaker as having the "inside" track, at least for the moment. Of all the possible RBs, he is the only one to know the complex schemes. Cobb has definitely shown some flashes of brilliance, but needs to be coached how to hit the hole running downhill. Doing the boogaloo in the backfield is precisely what a LB is looking for! If he somehow can get over that, he might be one to watch; otherwise... Bernard has also shown flashes of brilliance, but doesn't have the playing time other RBs do; he also needs to be coached. As for Green - great play once upon a time, but what does he have left?

The main thing, from my point of view, is RB "smarts", that is, how to pick up the block for AC (he is going for that record, let there be no doubt about that!), learning to be an outlet, how to run a screen, a draw, having split-second decision making, where the lane is, be able to take a hit, avoid a hit, make players miss..... Added to this is aggressiveness, raw courage, and dogged determination. A RB is breed apart!

We saw that week in, week out, with little AC - big shoes to fill. I sincerely hope that the Als' coaching staff will mix in running plays; they have to balance the attack to make the passing game that more effective. One-dimensional teams don't make it to the GC. To have a chance at a three-peat, the Als need to spend some time with their RBs and integrate creative, timely running plays this season.

However, I also submit that running plays need to include the likes of Bratton, Carter, and even the WR. The occasional end-around, double-reverse... also keep the secondary guessing. When that is the case, the O scheme will be successful. From a fan point of view, this is also great football. I think we have the manpower to do it, so let's get it done, boys!

Go Als go!

I will go out on a limb and predict Ahman Green will be the Als running back to start the season.

Despite the mileage on him, he has the experience and skill set (notably blocking) that the Als need at that position.

He also came across to Trestman as being serious with his note taking at the Als mini-camp.

I am not so sure. Green is more of a fullback type in the CFL and our game is different. I think they will all get some carries in preseason and they will have a very short window to show what they can do.

Agreed. I also don't see a power runner having much of a place in our offense. This isn't the NFL; we don't have the luxury of keeping a guy on the roster just to be our short-yardage running back. I'm sure Green will get a fair shot, but I doubt he'll make it through camp.

As for selective loyalty, Trestman obviously isn't high on playing NI receivers not named Ben Cahoon. On the other hand, he cut a respected veteran (Reggie Hunt) in order to give a young Shea Emry a chance at middle linebacker, and he's replaced Duval with a NI kicker, so I don't think it's a bias against Canadians. Both Desriveaux and Deslauriers have been on the roster for a few years now -- if they're not getting starting positions, there is probably a good reason for it. I doubt Marc would keep an Andy Fantuz caliber NI receiver on special teams.

Exactly, it comes down to ability, has nothing to do with how long they've been pinning...

One element of the running game I'd to see improve is our ability to run between the tackles.

Interesting, for me as long as we move the ball its a non issue. Running between tackles is very punishing for your offense and the inside of the Als line is built for pass protection, Flory is 34 and Woody and Jourdain are around 320 pounds aside from 3 or 4 plays to keep the defense honest, I don't think it is our best move.

I didn't say we should run between the tackles more frequently. I'd just like to see us be more effective when we do run between the tackles. Otherwise I agree with you.