The DC

I think it was Depop, who raised again the topic of how poorly we play 2nd and long? Where other teams cover inside the 10 yd line, our D covers just outside. A quick dump and the opposition always seems to get the first down. Rarely do we bump guys on the line to throw off the timing of the recievers which also has the benefit of giving our Dline extra time to get to the QB. I think we have to be more agressive and be willing to give up the long bomb on occassion with the result of more teams not getting the first down and kicking the ball away. We are getting picked apart, just like Montreal did to us in the last 2 GCs.

Again, a dominating DE would helpout with extra pressure but that is another topic. And why doesnt the dline try to get thier hands up more or jump up into the throwing lane? How many knock downs have they had? Off topic, sorry.

I teally miss the aggressive D that Richie use to have. Perhaps he doesnt have the talent to be agressive?

there has to be something missing that is making him run this pussy defense of giving receivers 15 yds.

they MUST be way more aggressive, stop giving them what they want!

I have been commenting on how poorly our D plays on 2nd down from the beginning of the season. We allow over 50% of our opponents tries at 2nd down conversion. Worst percentage by a long shot in the league. I know we had a few good games on D because we were able to come up with the big plays but when the big plays aren't there our bend but don't break schemes allow 7 minute 1st quarter drives. I still think we would have a much more effective D if we had a different DC. Too late to change this year but I hope the brain trust is looking for a new DC.

Like I said in the BC game thread...the riders have had a couple good weeks on D because they played 2 of the more sub-par Os in those games.

So many questions to be answered.

The answer to all the questions is personnel.

The Riders have not had good enough personnel on defense, have done next to nothing to remedy the situation. The Riders have the worst rush ends in the league and the worst secondary. No amount of scheme can fix this. During the off season, the Riders did nothing to upgrade the end position. They also made several deliberate moves to WORSEN their secondary. During the season proper, they have run around with their heads cut off with ineffective willy-nilly roster cuts and trades.

When the Riders D executes as well as they can, the game is close and/or the Riders win. When they don't it's a lost cause.

The man responsible is Mr Taman.

Until he is gone, the Riders will win a few games on rah-rah miracle speeches from Papa Ken, but will be the worst team in the West.

I think the problem is in strategy on D. I do think they have the personnel, though a superstar DE would be nice. how many times do you need to be burned 7-12 yards over the middle in a game before you adjust? Games they are beaten down in are when teams pass over the middle. They need to start trusting their DBs and keeping a safety up. If the DBs don't cut it, bring in another. I believe Russ has the speed they require in a DB. He should be playing. I love Simpson, but perhaps McCullough should be rotating in on 2nd and long, as he seems to be better at coverage...or maybe even put Butler in as a ILB on those plays now and then, and drop someone else back as safety...lord knows he hits like a LB

I could not disagree with you more.

They do not have the people in the secondary to cover 1 on 1. They have the least skill in the league in the secondary. You CANNOT put a pure ballhawk (Patrick) in press one or press zero on Arland Bruce. The result is a 100-yd TD. The Riders do not have a guy that can be relied upon to do that. Start trusting their DBs? Only if they want to give up 100.

If you don't have a reliable cover guy then the only option scheme wise is hurry the QB. But therein lies the rub. The Riders are also the ONLY team in the league who do not have the personnel to get pressure without blitzing. Even WITH blitzing is trying at times.

So you can scheme until the wheels fall off the combine. You'll still be 4-8.

As for your comments about the safety, there are lots of guys who can hit. Butler is another Wes Lysack, Scott Gordon ... an NI who can hit and snag the odd pick. But he can't cover. I like the guy, but you take your best ballhawk (Patrick) out of safety to get Butler in because he can lay a lick on the RB after a 15 yard gain. Big deal. The safety position is where you plunk in your NI who can't cover. Because the free safety spot has the least coverage responsibilities. Ian Logan in Winnipeg is a prime example. He's a good little player, but he's a classic NI safety who gets results playing within his abilities in a great defense where he doesn't have to run around and save the day. Very few teams are ever able to use the safety as a key role in the defense. The only two recent ones have been the Lions with Barrin Miles and the Argos with Orlondo Steinauer. These defenses had such deep and talented secondaries that they could use a smart and talented safety to be a difference maker. When Logan or Lysack or ... Butler ... is your safety, you can't use him in that role. This is not a knock on Butler. There have been lots of successful safeties in that mould, but it only works when the rest of the defense is functioning normally. The Riders defense, PURELY on account of gross personnel mismanagement, is highly dysfunctional.

Cutting Omarr Morgan AND Donovan Alexander might be justified, but cutting Morgan and Alexander and NOT REPLACING THEM is pure madness.

The effort is there. They play hard. They just get beat by better players. Then they start to press, make mistakes and get burned. Scheme is IRRELEVANT. This is what's happening.

I still believe Russ is good enough to start…so lets assume that (and I could be proven wrong, but he has been a blanket in limited action)…
So, you have:
Russ (we will say he can cover)
Patrick (we know he can)
Jackson (He has been top notch for the most part)
Frazier (he is a solid DB)
that is 4 guys covering primary WR…4 competent players. McKenzie should be a backup. Butler has being doing pretty good as a safety, and could be a star in a year or 2. There is your starting 5…I really see no issue with that backfield. If you really feel Patrick is not the right DB, try rotating him and Butler.

As far as the safety stepping up in 2nd and long…like I said, it could be a LB or a safety. IF you move the safety up then you are relying on your other DBs…not saying this is a great option, but it is an option. OR you could bring in McKenzie in given situations to plug the middle. You are not doing this to stop runs, you are doing it to close up a middle (7-12 yards) that has been sickeningly open most of the season. You could also do this with certain LB who have the ability to cover. You are not looking for interceptions, you are just trying to make it a hard throw for the QB, not a dream pass.

At this point I am not as concerned with the long ball as I am with the 10 yard over the middle pass. Let a guy loose deep and you might get burned. Leave a guy open over the middle and you WILL get eaten alive. I don’t care how they rotate somebody into the middle as long as they do. Realistically they need to play zone in the middle, where there are 2 inside DBs…one will fall into coverage while the other rotates into the middle. That is a simple cover 4 /zone d, and I think the Riders should be using it more.

My starting D would be:

--------------------DE---------DT----------DE
-----------------George----Romero----Willis

---------SSDB-----------------------ILB
-------Graham-------------------Simpson

-----------------LB-------------------------LB
----------- McCullough----------------Freeman

---CB----------------DB-------------S-----------DB---------CB
Jackson----------Frazier-------Patrick------Butler------Russ

  • The SSDB (Strong Side DB) would cover a 5th WR (this might mean switching up Graham and Butler or something)
  • 1 LB min would blitz on most plays
  • When you wanted 4 on the line either Simpson would move up, or McCullogh would be subbed out by Shologan.
  • The DL would rotate players to keep them fresh. This means that Williams would rotate in and each DE would generally play 2 of 3 series, Shologan would play 1/4-1/2 of series.
  • ideally Jackson/Frazier/Buttler/Russ would cover the primary 4, Graham a 5th receiver. Graham could also blitz and have McCollough cover the flat/5th
  • If Freeman and Simpson blitz then McCullough would cover the middle, OR, he and Graham would cover mid flats and Patrick the middle.
  • Essentially what this is doing is giving a Zone under man D (I will add a quote of my take on all of this I posted on a thread earlier)
    ------ So, you are putting 4 guys underneath to conduct zone/coverage. 1 of those will drop into man at times, up to 3 will play zone but typically you will blitz at least 1. you S will be playing man at times but typically zone over (ie double coverage). If you send say 3 people from the under zone (heck, maybe sometimes 4) your S will cover the shallow center instead of using zone over...one would hope if you bring the house you you will not be worrying about the deep ball, so he is not needed for zone over...that being said the S stepping forward will be a tell for the QB so expect a quick release.

The thing with this D is that the other team is going to pick up 3 yard on pretty much any rush, though Simpson in the middle would really limit that. Running to the outside is very difficult against it, so big runs are few and far between. The O line knows that they are going to generally be blocking an guy other than a lineman, but they really have no idea where he is coming from. You need to rotate linemen, because they will get tired in this strategy. You will have a guy covering the 7-12 yard middle area, so the odd pass will get broken up, the QB will be a little more tentative passing there because he doesn't know who for sure is covering right away (and there could be more than one covering over the middle as Graham or Patrick may come forwards).
where this gets attacked is:

  • Runs up the gut - should be fairly limited with Simpson there...1 good tackle and they are in 2nd and 7 or 8
  • Short outside routes - limited gains (4-8 yards), and a long ball to through for a short pass, plus they can get jumped. Hey...let them pass that, they will miss the odd one and be in a second and long.
  • Long ball. Yeah, this is the draw back, but I think the secondary has the speed to do this, and you have the roaming safety in Patrick to create havoc. a teams long ball timing can also be disrupted by a LB blitz, which as stated above is tough to predict where it is coming from in this form, so it is tough on a QB.

This is why I feel the personnel are fine. I just don't agree with the formation.