Special Teams 2011


Nice article on the ST struggles. It certainly sounds like both Bischoff and the ST players are aware that things need to tighten up.

D'habitude, ils le savent avant nous...

Ce que j'aime du discours de Bischoff et des joueurs, c'est que personne ne se met la tête dans le sable, aucun joueur ne blâme un autre joueur, et tous veulent faire mieux. D'autre part, Bischoff se donne la peine de mettre de l'avant les bons points aussi, ce qui est juste envers les joueurs.

Par contre, personne ne parle des schémas de blocage pourris en retours de bottés.

Espérons que leur travail donnera de bons résultats.

Bishoff a des croutes a manger avant d'arriver a la cheville de O'Shea. Je suis pas certain que c'est l'homme pour la job.

You have got to be kidding me? Special teams is what they should have been working on all week, did they?

Only one practice this week
With Chad Owens coming up
I hope the Alouettes have a plan

"mice and men"

Je ne citerai pas du Steinbeck, mais disons simplement que je suis d'accord que Bischoff devrait s'occuper exclusivement de ses autres fonctions et que les Alouettes devraient avoir un coordonateur dédié exclusivement à nos nullités spéciales.

I really don't understand the "Bischoff must only coach ST" argument. The other two coordinators both have a position responsibility in addition to their main job. Tibesar is the DC and the linebackers coach. Milanovich is the OC and the quarterbacks coach. Why shouldn't Bischoff be the STC and the running backs coach?

Please note that I'm not defending our ST performance through the first two games. I think we can all agree that it needs substantial improvement.

We are the only CFL-NFL team that does not have a dedicated special teams coach. However, it comes down to can Bischoff coach special teams or not. I still have a problem with his using Deslauriers as a contain man in the B.C. game.

On another note, we decided to go with a Canadian kicker in order to allow us to use a designated American elsewhere. Well I don`t think that so far we have been getting great mileage out of that spot in Kitwana Jones.

If that is the case then we might as well go with an American kicker such as Eric Wilbur who would be better than Whyte.

First of all, being a position coach in addition to being a coordinator doesn't mean your coordinator responsibilities don't come first. Or do you think that a DC who also coaches a position (say, defensive backs) isn't a 'dedicated' defensive coordinator?

Second, we are not the only team in the CFL to have a coach who has another responsibility in addition to special teams. In BC, Chuck McMann is the special teams coordinator and the running backs coach. In Hamilton, Brad Miller is assistant head coach, special teams coordinator, and running backs coach.

I'm as displeased with our ST performance as anyone here, but I simply don't understand the above line of reasoning. By that logic, Scott Milanovich is not a dedicated offensive coordinator, because he's also the quarterbacks coach. Just about every team has somebody doing double duty as both coordinator and either position coach or assistant head coach. It's really no big deal.

It's "no big deal" when special teams are working

Splitting time between special teams and other coaching duties is fine
Except when the opposition is ripping off one big return after another
Except when your return guy is stuck in the mud most of the time

Then it most definitely is a big deal
Not because he's getting spread too thin
But simply because he sucks at the job

Maybe Maypray isn't the problem on the return team
We never got to see if an acknowledged CFL returner (like Larry Taylor)
Would turn everything around
Quite possibly that's why Taylor was shunned when he came back

But when kick returning and coverage show serious weakness
Questions need to start being asked
It won't be long
Before these problems cost us a game or two
This season
Just like 2010

I stand corrected about McMann and Miller, but don`t agree with their doing it either.

Running backs coach /offensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach / defensive co-ordinator are natural extensions. Running backs coach /special teams co-ordinator is not.

And Bischoff was only plugged in when Kent was fired. There is also Carson Walsh in the picture as offensive assistant / special teams assistant.

Look I hope this becomes a moot point as the season progresses, but when things aren`t working we start to look under the rocks.

But that's a function of the fact that there is no major coachable position on ST. It's not like ST coordinators have never coached or been involved in any aspect of the defensive or offensive game. Bischoff was RB coach before he took on the special teams portfolio, so obviously he was hired for the former position based on aptitude.

And Bischoff was only plugged in when Kent was fired. There is also Carson Walsh in the picture as offensive assistant / special teams assistant.
Don't get what Walsh has to do with anything. As for Bischoff, that was true in 2010, not in 2011. Management decided to retain Bischoff as ST coach in the offseason, so they must have obviously thought he was qualified for the position. Time will tell whether they were correct in their decision.
Look I hope this becomes a moot point as the season progresses, but when things aren`t working we start to look under the rocks.
No doubt, and I share your frustration regarding special teams. I myself am not convinced that Bischoff is the right man for the position, but it has nothing to do with his holding the RB coach position.

From observation...one thing is clear:
Bischoff is running the show
At least for a large chunk of practise

Trestman's presence was felt mostly with words of encouragement
And I can remember one admonishment
On a broken running play

Replacing him might not be so easy
He seems to be an integral part of the system
For better or worse

As far as special teams go
It's hard to tell these things from the sidelines
No doubt scads of work is done in the film room
And on the "blackboard"

But I would have liked to see a more concerted effort at "real game simulation"
Especially on the coverage teams
Basically the guys went through the motions
Ran 20 yards or so after the kick

I didn't see any urgency about it at all
And somehow that worries me

Bischoff cannot cut it as a special teams coordinator! He had the whole 2010 season and 4 games (including the preseason) so far in 2011. He is a special teams coordinator in name only! I am disappointed that the Als will not hire a REAL special teams coordinator. Seriously, they must have an allergy towards special teams coordinators and stud defensive tackles! Find one of each, and we have a team as good as the 2009 edition.

I am hoping that when Don Matthews is honored by the Als in August during a game, that he will tell Trestman how to improve special teams…

Seriously, I know it will never happen, and could not happen; but if the Don came back as special teams coordinator, that would be awesome! He could fix all the special teams problems in about 2 one hour practices!

If he resurrects the careers of Randy Rhino, Dickie Harris, Johnny Rodgers, Keith Stokes or Ezra Landry....and brings them along for the ride
Or manages to finagle a deal to get Larry Taylor or Chad Owens back....


I believe Maypray suffered (and suffers) on punt returns because our initial point-of-attack blocking is frequently poor. Other teams' gunners have little difficulty penetrating and tackling the kick returner before he's had a chance to accelerate out of a stop and make a cut. Just like even the best running backs require a crease at the LOS, a kick returner needs one good block to get himself in gear.

This may sound like stubbornness on stubbornness
But bear with me:

Good gunners are very rare:
Jason Arakgi is a fine example
We have Walter Spencer
And last week we saw the arrival of a young guy
Who made almost every coverage tackle
and who's name...and even team completely escapes me...help?

My point is:
Gunners are usually fairly big...fairly fast
And imbued with a killer instinct that can be slowed...but rarely stopped
That's why they...year after year...are consistently among the lead leaders in ST tackles

By definition then...they are difficult, if not impossible to block
Short of blocking illegally in some way
For a returner...they are equally impossible to avoid
Short of some special talent in their own right

This special team "hello" moment is where it all happens
If the returner has the shiftiness, the quick decision making and the vision
To avoid the gunner/s
He can then find the lane provided by his blockers
Pick up some blocks and go on his way

That process is the essential skill that makes a great returner
Every bit as much as a great gunner is a rare commodity and a prized possession
We have the gunners on coverage...but our subsequent coverage has been lacking
Against the good returners that can avoid the initial gunner push

But we simply don't have the returner
That can make that first guy miss
Much the same way that a great running back always
Breaks that 1st tackle
Or undresses the opposition with that great move

So ends my installation of:
Stubbornness For Dummies


Our gunner is Brouillette and he's hurt.

Wow! On the Als field goal that made the score 33-17, the Als had a 13th player on the field. The players waved him off, and he managed to get off the field before getting a penalty. Player assignments is basic stuff.

A change needs to be made...