There are two opinions that appear regularly on this site. Opinions based on nothing more than bias.
If a coach comes to Canada from the States, he really can't coach here until he has studied the Canadian game for a few years.
Any QB who comes from the States cannot succeed until he spends at least a couple of years getting used to the wider field, the backfield in motion, the much more intricate defensive patterns, etc. etc.
The truth, IMO, is this .The game is not rocket science. The people we are talking about have been involved with the game for YEARS. The difference in the rules and strategy is a mere bump in the road for any of these guys who know their job. They have all been involved in a variety of offensive plans, game strategies, coaching methods. This is just another variation to get used to. And the good ones can do that quickly.
That's the point. It all depends on the individual. We have all seen QB's who were successful from Day One. Some will say that even Warren Moon had to sit as No. 2 for a learning period. No, he sat because there was somebody ahead of him who deserved to remain No. 1. Moon might well have been a star if he started from Day 1. We don't know. And again, that's the point. It all depends on the individual.
I wish we could see the end of the comment that it will take Chang some years to 'learn the Canadian game'. This is still football, and he knows football.
The same goes for the coaches. Criticize a coach, if you will, for not properly using the talent that is available, for not using the running game as much as you would like. But, please, don't kid yourself that it's because our Canadian game is so very complicated that an American can't grasp it.
Please, get rid of that mindset that says "Our game is so very difficult that only someone who's been here for years can really know it"
Well said Wilf. Although i do criticize the offensive play calling, I do think that the coach is learning the game. Trying new things to see what works. I also have faith in Taaffe's pick of coaches because Taaffe di have an excellent staff in Montreal. Doug Berry eventually got a starting so I would think Taaffe knows something about picking coaches.
I agree Wilf. Let me see, I would think "double coverage" means the same in Canadian or American football if I'm not mistaken unless I'm missing something. Ok, the extra player and how to use this position is a big difference but really, as you say, a lot depends on the individuals involved, no two people are alike, fortunately!!
The transition to the Canadian game often affects U.S. QBs negatively – read Vince Ferragamo and Timm Rosenbach as two easy examples of this difficulty.
Even Doug Flutie took time to adjust his game and get used to accounting for the extra defender on defence: safety play in Canada is different in that the rover is not automatically lined up on one side of the field, so there is an adjustment to account for that guy, particularly in reading intermediate and deep zones.
Doug’s advantage, as it is with most mobile, rollout passers, is that his ability to attack the line of scrimmage with the threat of a scramble created problems for OLBs and forced safeties to commit themselves. Pocket passers tend to have more difficultly adjusting to CFL ball unless they are adept at moving safeties around with their eyes.
Ferragamo’s primary problem was that he locked into receivers and never adequately accounted for the safety.
It is less a CFL difference as much as it is the need for the QB to develop elements in his approach to make the opposing secondary more committed and less able to disguise things.
As for coaching, the coaches who are able to stress fundamentals and build identifiable systems that players can buy into will excel here as in any brand of football. Coaches also have to be able to properly identify athletes who can bring multipurpose talents to the table, most notably on special teams. Coaches who build on that as a strength win in this league year after year.
The debates on what approaches win on both sides of the ball are just as vociferous as they are in the NFL or elsewhere. There is the debate of spread offenses vs. timing offense a la WCO, the amount of commitment necessary re the running game, the merits of the 40 defence vs. 30 defence, etc. etc. What IS clear is this: the sheer size of the field puts athleticism, speed, and agility at a premium in the skill positions. US talent evaluators – coaches, GMS, and scouts alike – have to reorient their thinking about traditonal size and power considerions in American football and adapt to the Canadian game. Coaches who get that get results.
By pointing out examples of some QB’s who had problems, you’re saying, as I did, that it depends on the individual. Ferragamo and Rosenbach had problems. Here in Hamilton, to mention just two who had no problem adjusting, we had Bernie Custis and Chuck Ealey, both of whom grasped the game in quick order.
We can each find examples on both sides of the point. My problem is with people who automatically assume that Chang will have difficulty grasping the ‘Canadian Game’.
He may. He may not. But nobody should assume that he definitely will.
It seems to me that Kerwin Bell lit up the league the first year he came up.
Bob O'Bilovitch was a US coach (I think) who lost big his first year and then won the Grey Cup the next year.
I have no conclusion other than those two guys worked darn hard every day and that's what brings success in any league.
It's not that the Canadian game is 'way more complicated' than the American game. It's just different, that's all. Pretending those differences don't exist is just as bad as saying those differences are all-important.
What I mean is, based on history, the balance of probability indicates that players who come here from the States will have to spend some time learning the Canadian game. It's not written in stone, but in 7 out of 10 cases, it's what has to happen. I don't think people realize how much the 20-second play clock and the extra defender can interfere with a quarterback's rhythm and focus. It takes time to adjust your game and learn to look safeties off, as Oskie has already said.
This is not a matter of proclaiming the supremacy of the Canadian game. It's just an acknowledgment that CFL and NFL football are different enough to require ex-NFL / U.S. college players to adjust when they come north of the border. Some players will make that transition seamlessly, but most won't.
Wilf wrote: "1. If a coach comes to Canada from the States, he really can't coach here until he has studied the Canadian game for a few years.
Any QB who comes from the States cannot succeed until he spends at least a couple of years getting used to the wider field, the backfield in motion, the much more intricate defensive patterns, etc. etc. "
Wilf: I figure any US coach coming up here will need at least a couple of years to figure out why we get a point for missing a field goal.
Make that three mindsets that bug me. We get a point for missing a field goal?
What happens in the Canadian game is that we get a point for kicking the ball through the end zone, or into the end zone and not returned. It's called a rouge, and is a reward for penetrating far enough into the oppositions end of the field to do this.
Now, of course you know this. It's been part of our game forever.
Now, taking that as a given, we add a little incentive. We say that if ,in the process of doing all that, you can put the ball through the goalpost uprights with a drop kick or place kick, we will give you three points rather than just one.
Now, I'm sure you agree with me that this is NOT rewarding failure. In a perfect world, we would never again hear about rewards for failure.
But, you and I both know that won't happen. Telling that story somehow makes people feel that have discovered a great flaw in the way our game is played and scored.
You may have guessed that I like it just the way it is.
The main problem is that both games are called football. The Canadian game is very different from the American game.
*the ball is different
*the field is different
*the number of players is different
*the distance between the lines of scrimmage is different
*the use of motion is different
*the time between plays is different
*the no yards on punt returns is different
*the single point is different
*the number of downs is different.
These are not minor differences. When one is used to one game, switching to another is really different. Take the no yards on punt returns, we blow that one at least every two out three returns. Is this rank stupidity or in the heat of action do reactions return to what they are used and conditioned to do?
Why don't we apply the learning curve to Canadian players that already know the game, but need the coaching to become the players they can be. Being American does not mean that you are better than a Canadian, but don't try telling that to our American coaches.
Wow! With all those tremendous differences between the two leagues, it's absolutely amazing that any QB could make the transition. The ones who do must have some secret powers that allow them to make the switch. Outstanding !
Now, let's take two other games that are completely dissimilar...
The 'American game', as we've been discussing here, and the 'Arena League'.
Not too many similarities there. Could someone please discuss the great difficulty faced by QB's in making that transition.
I don't recall seeing any articles on this subject. Could it be that the QB's just take the changes in stride, and adjust? Oops, back to Square One...