What about it, Russ?
I thought Russ would be at the game, with it being in Montreal. But I always look forward to his analysis, whether he sees the game at the stadium or on TV.
What about what? LMAO
I will be "reporting" on the game throughout the weekend. I did watch it with a buddy, but I was also PVRing it to watch it again over the next couple of days to go into depth about what I could see on the telecast.
I intend to go to the October 18th game at Molson, so I chose to stay home for last night's game. My birthday is the following day, so I will be gifting for myself. LOL By all indications, that game will also be meaningful for the Cats because they appear to be capable of being competitive right down to the wire.
I'll make a few general comments here:
Cobourne got 19 touches (15 rushes, 4 catches) while Cobb got 10 (7 rushes, 3 catches). I believe Cobb has shown what a dynamic player he can be with the ball, so the question is why is he not featured more as a runner and downfield receiver (whether coming out of the backfield or lining up in the slot)? I understand getting the ball vertically down the field, but the flipside is that there isn't enough capitalization going on when chucking deep to Prechae is pushing the safety back. The short passing attack is not getting untracked enough to sustain drives.
Calling plays out of the wildcat near the goal line is not necessarily the prime way to take advantage of the formation. I am going to have to sit back down and watch the PVR of the game again, but I really think that the Cats weren't fooling anybody by their flavour of it. I don't recall a lot of motion across the formation for Cobb to fake a handoff and disguise a keeper or to give him any passing option off such motion. Direct snapping to a running back with little or no disguise after Glenn trotted out to wideout is not fooling a well-coached team. Instead, it's a recipe for wasting a down because the tighly-bunched defence is going to come off the ball quick while the RB has to track the shotgun snap and hesitate for a split second to find a crease. It's is way harder to find a crease on a goal line stand when there is no backfield motion to cause the LBs to shift!
All one has to do is watch how the Dolphins bring Ricky Williams across the formation from an end position to either get the handoff from Ronnie Brown or be the decoy for Brown on a fake/play action to see how the wildcat can be deceptive. It is by no means however a lead pipe cinch to succeed in either the NFL or CFL. Unless there is motion to get the defence out of synch with its tracking of the ball, having a non-QB handle it is not a favourable outcome. The bonus is having a Pat White line up to provide a real dual threat regardless of motion. I don't believe Cobb has showed anyone that he can throw the ball out of the formation with any proficiency. Until he does -- or another player on the field does -- it really is a direct snap to a Cat, not a wildcat as practiced today.
My anticipated critical element to a Ticat upset did not materialize last night. Credit the Als for shoring up their punt protection game and preventing the Cats from getting to Duval for punt blocks. Essentially the return games and the kicking elements were a wash last night. For the Cats to beat the Als, there had to be more dynamic returns by McDaniel to swing the special teams balance and field position enough to compensate for the Als moving the ball as well as they did. The two teams did well to limit returns as Larry Taylor was also kept in check by the Cat's coverage teams.
The game was a demonstration of how the Trestman/Milanovich playbook and game plan use pre-snap motion and formation to cause mismatches in the SHORT AND MEDIUM PASSING ZONES, leading to Dr. Calvillo in full surgical splendour at times. The Cats simply did not do as much in that area to confuse the Als secondary enough to break guys free underneath. Stala had a solid game with seven catches (as too did McDaniel), but Sticky isn't the guy who's going to break one for six when working in the intermediate areas of the field. The Cats need to get Cobb, McDaniel, and Davis in particular crossing the field to stretch the defence horizontally as well to help freeze the safety at times and allow Prechae more space to catch balls down the field. I simply see too many hooks, ins and outs, stop-and gos and not enough slants, crosses, and rubs. Watching Trestman and co. use the entire field compared to Bellefeuille and Gibson's approach is night and day. Although the Cats defence did a super job of bending but not breaking most of the night, the Als were able to control the ball with an impressive variety of rubs and crosses that kept the Cats in chase mode most of the night.
The Cats DO NOT DO THIS ENOUGH.
It causes little confusion, predictability, and a lack of rhythm in how the QB distributes the ball in the air attack. Hence Porter in particular throwing what appears to be rainbow shots downfield with little zip. When that's your primary M.O. for generating big gains, against an opponent like Montreal you will lose. Simply put, the Als safety Boulay can flat out FLY and making his job at safety easier is a recipe for a long night for Prechae jogging back to another second-and-long. When the safety isn't being forced to run from one side of the field to the other during series because of crosses, slants, etc., playing centre field for moonshots makes any QB less "laser-armed" than actually is the case.
- Porter vs. Glenn
Glenn was impressive during his time in the game, but the Pavlovic drop in the end zone in particular did not allow him to finish drives with TDs. It was not the same kind of production he had against Winnipeg. I know Suitor was in his "I don't want to start a QB controversy but" mode, but the issue is who is the future of the team and who requires the reps to progress. That still hasn't changed. In my opinion, Bellefeuille needs to be definitive in naming Porter his starter, have a less predictable offensive approach, establish Cobb early via the run and the pass, and be clear to Quinton what his objectives are each game to warrant a hook. My feeling is that Glenn IS more effective coming off the bench with this team than he would be as a starter. He certainly gives the opposition a different look in his ability to move the pocket later in the game. My concern is that the QB "controversy" is allowed to get traction because the public confirmation of who Bellefeuille's starter is mired in some idea that he is playing cat-and-mouse with the other team's prep. Hate to break it to you folks, but Marcel's offense isn't hard to key against. Whether it's Glenn or Porter starting, there isn't enough sizzle in how motion is utilized to get guys free quickly in their patterns. Even a bunch formation run by GIbson et al. is not Asiatic fire drill like, but is rather simple to read because the approach is stretch-the-field-and-keep-your-lanes-to-make-it-easier-for-the-QB-to-make-his-reads-101.
Problem is, if it's easy for the QB to make his reads, it can be easier for the safety and DBs to make theirs. Hence it bcomes more of a beat-your-man approach, a flag football staple, but ultimately not fruitful on a pro football field when facing a speedy secondary with good coaching and a systemic sense of knowing what the collective defensive effort is doing.
Spurts-and-stops. One good drive, than a series of two-and-outs. The reason why Montreal and Calgary (when on) can move the ball consistently is that they get the defence on its heels early and keep ratcheting the pressure throughout. Until Bellefeuille's bunch can do that, it will be a continuation of general improvement offensively to a second-tier position, but not a consistent evolution to a top-tier, championship-calibre club.
I'll have more as the weekend goes on!
Oski Wee Wee,
- Please note that when I call this year's offense "Marcel's offense," I am fully aware it's OC Mike Gibson on the playcall using Gibson's own distinct playbook. It's a generic label being used here. I am sure Bellefeuille exerts direct input on the game plan, but it's Gibson's show in the main.
Oski Wee Wee,
Oski, I like your analysis. Despite the offensive struggles, though, your two QBs still combined to put up over 300 yards of offense on the night. They couldn't finish drives, but that happens to every QB. My Als also had trouble finding the end zone. Despite the vanilla look to the playbook, the Cats still looked good on offense IMO. It's certainly preferable to the Bellefeuille Playbook of Extreme Ineffectiveness that we saw in Hamilton last year.
I think last nights game was not a total loss.The ticats are the 1st team this year to keep the als to under 35 points.this team is still getting to know each other and show more promise than any other Ticat team in the past few years.so much so that this morning I purchased 2 season tickets for the remainder of this year.I used to have season tickets every year except for the last 4 years going back to 1986.Hope to see lots of fans in the stands,I am going to Montreal for the next game and to Toronto for a game Ijust have a good feeling about this years team.Same sort of feeling I had about the 99 team.I am going to actually break out my autographed Danny Mac hat to wear and I haven,t had it out of the plastic bag since the parade in 99. :rockin: :rockin: :cowboy: :cowboy:
That last post by me should have read I have a good feeling about this years team.I am a terrible typist.
MrMark :rockin: :rockin: :cowboy: :cowboy:
Well, going to re-watch the game from Thursday night which I PVRed. I'll give my impressions rather than "reportage" because my Harvey's Angus burger trio digestion may cause me to spontaneously combust if I try to over-analyze anything Glen Suitor says in a waking moment.
Oski Wee Wee,
Re-watching the first quarter of Thursday's game and the "Nylon Drive" where the Cats got a lot of penalty yardage at the expense of the Al's DBs. I notice we ran a lot of bunch formation sets with Cobb lining next to Porter in the gun. I personally like the use of the bunch formation on either side of the side or as a motion feature pre-snap. However, all I can see we were doing with it was using as a starting point for receivers to fan across the secondary, not crossing or creating rubs to cause mismatches. As I've stated before, Gibson likes to spread the field vertically and allow the QB to have easy reads. My point is that the easier it is for your QB to read, the easier it is for the secondary to adjust to. Some deception/misdirection should be a common aspect in the passing game to get the defence back on its heels.
Oski Wee Wee,
In general, I also really like Garrett McIntyre's hustle and his gap control on the run. For a young player, he seems to have a good foundation on the the fundamentals of run support and collapsing cutback lanes. Marshall and Kropke should help ensure he progresses as the weeks go on.
Another observation: Suitor showed a replay of a Calvillo completion to Bratton where he was the high guy in the intermediate zone while Richardson came across underneath. Calvillo is thriving under the Trestman-Milanovich approach because he gets easy reads by depth as well as horizontally across the field. I don't see the same diversity in reads coming from Gibson's playcalling and playbook.
A staple of any timing offense -- whether of the Air Coryell- Sid Gillman or Bill Walsh sides of the West Coast approach is that the reads are readily built into the play design and there are very very few option routes. The problem with many spread offenses -- run-and-shoot being the archetypal example -- is that the option route check success is based on synchroncity between QB and receiver reads of opposing secondary coverage ON THE FLY. I really like how the Als have integrated some of the elements that Trestman has used in the States and adapted them into their passing attack. It's hard to beat an offense with rhythm.
From a layman's perspective, it is easier to make checkdowns from reads within a QB's immediate line of sight based on depth (Madden Vision Cone 101 LOL) than having to scan across the field. Part of the reason Porter holds onto the ball too long at times is that the read tree doesn't seem as defined in the play design as executed. Glenn as a vet does have a better internal clock at the moment even faced with this. My take.
Oski Wee Wee,
That RIchardson TD was a scorcher...TD 334 for AC
Congrats to Cavillo on passing Ronnie.
Porter really got nailed by Emry, eh? Holy smokes!
Calvillo to Bratton was a great play -- extremely hard for the pass rush to cope with the fake handoff, misdirection, roll to the opposite way, and the quick release to Bratton coming back to the side he had vacated and receiving it on the fly under the OLB.
Shotgun draws. LOL Necessarily evil running this stuff? Emphasis on EVIL. Would like to see the HB a couple of steps back of the QB to at least open the run option to the opposite side of the QB.
I can't get over how little you see Sandy Beveridge on a replay compared to Hitch as safety. It's like every eighth play compared to every third with Rob. I am accounting for bad years where Rob was in chase mode a lot.
A lot of drops and near-catches that would have really tightened the game had even half of those been made by various Cats, Pavlovic’s non-TD being the most glaring.
I really liked the onside FG pooch recovery attempt. However, Bo Smith was too fast on getting ahead of Setta before he kicked it, so it was penalized. It is something the special teams guys should work on, because it could work later in the season.