The offensive playbook needs to grow

Calling a game on offense for the Als could be done by a 10-year-old. There is no creativity, no attacking the perimeter of the field. Everything is predictable and that, apart from the penalties and turnovers, was why we couldn't score points today. Khari can talk all he want about the team's fight, but until he looks in the mirror and addresses the predictable playcalling and the stale playbook, nothing will change.

I am sick of seeing a handoff to Stanback up the gut on first down. Particularly in an RPO offense run by Trevor Harris so enemy defenses don't have to respect him as a rushing threat to the outside the way they did with Adams or Shiltz.

Someone needs to tell Khari that you can run plays outside the hash marks! If the defense knows they don't have to play sideline to sideline, they can focus on shutting you down up the middle and in the deep game.

More quick outs to the sidelines. Stacked cross and ins so the QB has multiple options in the same width of field. RB checkdown options (though that would require Stanback to learn how to catch a damn pass). Drag routes. HB pitches.

There is so much we could be doing to keep our opponents guessing. But we make life easy for enemy defenses. You know what we're going to do, game after game.


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Good offensive coordinators know how to attack every part of the field:

Short boundary, middle, and field
Intermediate boundary, middle, and field
Deep boundary, middle, and field

Only by attacking every part of the field will you be able to keep enemy defenses off-balance. Trestman understood this. So did Don Matthews.

Heck, jet sweeps even. That's what the jet sweep is for, to force the defense to respect all 65 yards of the LoS. That's why everybody else uses them. It was to counter all these downhill attacking defenses that we've seen over the past decade from guys like Jones and Thorpe.

Now that the defenses have moved to more zone based schemes it's not used so much (except by Hamilton because their between the tackles game sucks rotten eggs), but when a defense is playing downhill hard against your backfield it's another useful way to get an LB out of the box. Even if you fake it, as soon as that receiver comes across the formation, someone in the defense has to hesitate.

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I don't understand why Khari can't see this. And if he doesn't incorporate this stuff into next year's playbook, he won't last the year as HC. That's assuming he's brought back and Maciocia doesn't take this opportunity to can Khari and bring in his buddy Thorpe.

Football is a game of misdirection.

Which way is the play going to go? Pump fakes, fake handoffs, looking the safety off, all to attack or give the appearance of attacking every part of the field. Hence the sweep to keep defenses honest.

How hard can you make it for the defender to follow the play as it develops? Have other players run interference. If receiver A's route takes him right and receiver B's route takes him left, and their routes overlap, it's harder for the DB or LB to cover their target, because they have to bubble around the other receiver and possibly fight off a pick at the line.

We do none of these things. That's why we can't succeed when it counts. This offense is almost completely reliant on its players playing at elite levels or enemy defenses breaking down to succeed. There is rarely a successful play that is the result of a good coaching decision that frees up access for a receiver or running back. The burden is always on the players, all the time, because everyone knows what we're going to do.

The only change-ups we run are dumb gadget plays and even those require superlative effort from the players involved to succeed. The Lewis to Bray completion a case in point. That play was sniffed out and defended by the enemy defense, and the ball was underthrown. It would have resulted in an incomplete or a pick had Bray not fought back to the ball and made a terrific catch.

We saw with most teams if not all teams this season, very vanilla offenses. I don't know if it was the shortened camp, the lost season, the short practice time?

Or all of the above.

My recommendation to the league would be to take a very close look at these one year contracts and insanely short work weeks. They are clearly affecting the quality of play in the league and shrinking interest in most markets.

EN 2019 on avait beaucoup de succès avec la formation à deux porteurs de ballon. Je pensais qu'on reviendrait à ça après le match d'Artis-Payne contre Ottawa mais ça n'avait pas été le cas. J'ose espérer qu'on travaillera cette facette en 2022.


They even went to a Canadian kicker instead of an American.

I hear you about the short work week and vanilla offenses, but ours was exceptionally poor in that respect. We simply don't attack the whole field. As you yourself said a few weeks ago, everyone knows we're going to do two things: run Stanback up the middle and take shots downfield. Very little else. We never stretch defenses out laterally, so it's easy for them to load the box.

And they managed to put up the second most points in the league.

Except when it actually matters.

There is a lot of talent on that offense being squandered.

Yes, very strange football team and attitude all around.

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The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that apart from the offensive line, where injuries hit us very hard, we have the essential players we need to succeed.

Adams, Harris, and Shiltz are all good QB options.

Jamieson, Gagnon, Matte, Rice, and Schleuger comprise a solid O-line. Obviously Washington and Foucault shouldn't be back.

Lewis and Wieneke had good years. Cunningham got injured and Bray was, well, disappointing. But we had younger receivers we didn't use to their fullest.

Stanback and Artis-Payne = excellent 1-2 RB combo

The defense played lights out after Howard's firing.

Alford has shown he can be a dynamic kick returner.

Cote was money on field goals, though his kickoffs may need improvement.

What killed us IMO were:

Penalties all season long.
Not dressing and thereby alienating Shiltz.
Not using Artis-Payne.
Not attacking the field laterally on offense.
Thinking Foucault and Washington would be viable options to protect the QB on the blindside. That's on Jones and on Maciocia.
Not involving Julien-Grant and the other receivers in the playbook.
Not being able to clean up the special teams errors.

I don't want Khari to be fired, but he was given good on-field talent in year two of his system and the team regressed. If he comes back next year, he has to fix that regression, which starts with a frank assessment of the mistakes he made in 2021.

C’est exactement ce que je n’ai pas compris. Pourquoi ne pas avoir utilisé davantage la court passe avec Artis-Payne, surtout avec un passeur du calibre de Harris et toute la pression sur lui.

Jones n’a pas su adapté son plan de match. Il aurait dû avoir un plan B si Hamilton stoppait Stanback. C’était tellement facile à prédire.


I can't say I was all that impressed with Artis-Payne. He was O.K., nothing more, and will be 32 next season.

But the main thing is that he is too similar to Stanback. If the Als go to a two back system, they need a Thomas Haskins, Andrew Hawkins, Lucky Whitehead type to complement Stanback and stretch defenses.


I agree with this. You need a scatback to complement a heavy hitter like Stanback.

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