We have no defense

Sorry, gang, but we'll be lucky to make it to the Cup final this year. Yet again, our defense can't win us a game in which the offense doesn't score 30+ points. Glenn and then Dinwiddie on one good leg moved the ball on our D at will down the field; they'd have scored more points if they hadn't shot themselves in the foot with dropped passes.

I've been wondering all season just why our secondary is so poor in coverage. Is it really a personnel problem? Because Chris Jones worked with the exact same secondary last season and we were fine then. The only new permanent addition, Khalil Carter, has been an improvement!

Again and again I come back to poor schemes and poor coaching. Our DBs are seemingly trained to wait until the receiver has caught the pass before tackling. Rarely do we attempt a knockdown, which is part of why we have so few INTs from the secondary spot. Carter's INT TD return today was, embarrassingly, the first time one of our DBs has taken a pick back for a major THIS ENTIRE SEASON. Winnipeg ran a dink and dunk offense underneath all day and we had no answer for it. Five yards here, six yards there, pitch and catch with our coverage. We're in a double bind, because our man coverage is poor, but our zone coverage is so soft that any veteran receiver can settle into the dead spot and wait for an easy completion.

Another big problem is schemes. Burke is too predictable, especially on second and long. Why is it that we can get an opposing offense into second and long all day but continually fail to get a stop? Dunigan pointed out our pre-snap tendencies several times during today's broadcast. Our schemes are so predictable that anyone, whether it's Glenn, Dinwiddie, or a rookie like Quinton Porter, can make his pre-snap read and convert second and long into a first down. We don't change our looks, we don't mix up our coverage, and facing a young backup Qb with a bad leg, we inexplicably don't blitz! On second and 7, we vacate the middle of the field PRE-SNAP, allowing the Bombers to pick up a first down on a running play to Joe Smith. On second and 10, we allow the QB to bootleg out to his right with tons of open space and pick up a first down. And this is against a poor Winnipeg team with a losing record that just got annihilated the week before.

Several times today, it appeared that our DBs were caught flat-footed and burned for big gains because they weren't in the proper position. My guess is that the plays are not being sent in quickly enough from the bench. If you watch the replay of Winnipeg's first TD, Cox is casually walking away from Terrence Edwards as the ball is snapped, completely unprepared to drop into coverage; he loses two steps on Edwards, finds himself in a chase position, and gets beaten for the TD. If that's a coaching problem, shame on Burke. If that's a personnel problem, shame on Burke for not holding Cox accountable.

It breaks my heart to say it, because with the season Calvilllo's having, we all want to get him a Grey Cup, but we are not hoisting the trophy, or even getting to the final itself, if our defense continues to play like this.

I am starting to agree with you...the D is the weak link

The Offence going 3 and out doesn't hep either.

It was just a bad game today. The receivers dropping balls. Cahoon dropped an easy one. Watkins dropped and easy one. Richardson dropped an easy one. Bratton dropped a few. Calvillo made some poor decisions, and I thought some of the play calls were off.

The Defence scored us some points today. The Bombers had GREAT field position all day. They started a lot of drives at least at the 50 yard line, that's a short field to defend. I thought the D played better that what they normally can. The main problem with this Defence, is they all play zone. So as the play progresses, they're just backpeddling, so if you got a mobile QB like Randell, it's easy to run and pick up those yards, or just dump to the running back and they pick up easy yards.

It was just a bad game, and to blame this loss on the Defence, is just madness.

You missed my point, Ryooon. The D, as usual, was unable to win us a game when the offense struggled. You're telling me that we can't blame the defense when the offense is what has won us every stinking game this year? But the one game when the offense isn't clicking -- and when, incidentally, the Bombers played well to shut us down -- the defense can't man up. That's unacceptable for any team with Grey Cup aspirations. That's all I'm saying. It's easy for your D to look good when your O is scoring 30+ points per game and controlling the clock! It's more difficult to man up and make some frickin plays on the ball when your offense isn't firing on all cylinders. Take away Carter's first-half interception and there is very little to write home about IMO. Both Glenn and Dinwiddie's completion percentages were shockingly high. The worst thing you can do to a cold offense is to allow long, sustained drives that keep Calvillo & co. off the field.

If I were in charge, in the offseason, I'd fire Burke, Squires, and whoever is the secondary coach, because they have been profoundly unimpressive this year.

On (more or less) sober reflection, I'd have to agree that it is the coaching and the schemes rather than the personnel.

Witness our offensive line; they were uniformly dreadful last year, but now this year, with a new coach (Martino, who has done one fantastic job) and just a little personnel tweaking at the tackle spots, our O-line is playing terrific.

On defence, I like the personnel on the line; Claybrooks and Williams are solid in the middle, and Bowman/McElveen and Stewart on the ends are playing well. The LB corps, while undersized, is very talented with Hill, Ferri, and Hunt. Ferri seems to have reigned in his play this year and isn't taking as many dumb penalties; Hill has been very dependable and Hunt has made the transition to MLB adequately. The secondary, in terms of personnel, I really like; Sanchez and Estelle on the corners, Cox and Drew (replaced by Carter) are good at half, and as long as he can stay healthy Boulay is a solid safety. We still have that man of glass, Proulx, and a very good Jesse Hendrix to call on as needed when they're not hurt.

So, from a personnel standpoint, I think this is a good defence. We may need an upgrade in the coaching/schemes.

Oh and by the way; Burke is simultaneously defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Casey Creehan is LB coach and Mike Sinclair is D-line coach.

Ah, that explains why our coverage is so poor. Has Burke ever heard of the term 'press coverage'? Because 90% of the time, we're giving receivers an open release from the line of scrimmage, making it dead easy for them to develop rhythm and timing with their QB. Jam those sumbitches up! Get your hands in there and disrupt their rhythm within the 5-yard zone and have the courage to try to beat your receiver, instead of tamely waiting until he's made the catch before tackling.

I don't see it the way you guys do.

If you look at the defense they gave 28 points but took back 7 with the returned interception and stopped Winnipeg on third and a yard at least once. So a net of 17 points is 9 points less then Winnipeg's average the last six games. You should be able to win at home with that. Having said that if there was one weak link it was Kiwaukee Thomas who simply is either too slow or just not aclimatised to the CFL's large field.

Where we really got killed was on special teams IMO. The turnover at the start of the game gave the momentum to Winnipeg who still managed to blow it with a 26 yard missed fg. But Armstead killed the Als return teams all afternoon. 30+ yard average on kick returns ! and an 11 yard average on punt returns plus the turnover. That is where the Als were outclassed today and against the worst punter in the league !

Then there is the poor play of the offense especialy in the fourth quarter. Als won the first 3 but were outscored 9-0 in the fourth quarter. Calvillo' interception was his firt bonehead move of the season and the Als tried to go to Watkins and Bratton since Winnipeg was double covering Richardson and Cahoon and it just didn't work. They both had a poor game. Also Trestman abandonned the running game in the second half, strange since he's done that before and it cost him at least on or two other games and he said he learned from his mistakes. Considering injuries to Cobourne and Diedrick maybe he decided he didn't want to risk injury to Imoh ?

Special teams to me are the main concern. Watkins and Bratton have to be more consistent and Kiwaukee Thomas is too slow or too inexperienced on a CFL field to be thrown in at this time of year. Winnipeg burned him many times badly and connected twice for touchdowns against him.

Penalties were also played a part. Keron Williams (debatable late hit) kept a winnipeg drive alive that turned in to points so did Perrets offside penalty killed an Als drive.

Five key plays that led to loss

Bratton's fumble
Willams Late hit penalty
Perrett's offside penalty
Calvillo's interception
Watkins dropped ball on final drive

So off they go to Edmonton where it should be a meaningless game but do the Als really want to go on a two week break on a losing streak? This is a very important game, very important.

Hfx, I don't deny that our special teams are absolutely atrocious. I've been of that mind for most of the season. Our coverage schemes are weak and our ability to limit gains is severely limited. In a way, our crappy teams make what our offense has accomplished all the more impressive, because they aren't benefiting from good field position most of the time and are always having to overcome a deficit in the field-position war.

That being said, I am not talking points with the defense. I'm talking about how they were simply, at the end of the day, unable to get off the field, keeping the offense cold on the sidelines while they let Winnipeg get first down after first down dinking and dunking. We had the Bombers in second and long many times, but most of the time, they were easily able to convert. That's unacceptable. Sure, the offense played poorly, but like I said, when is the defense going to show that it can win a game even when the offense is misfiring? It's not even like we're playing tight man coverage and the receivers are just making great plays. That I could accept. What I can't accept is seeing the other team turn second and 10 into a first down with a pitch-and-catch toss to a wide-open receiver with no Als DB within 5 yards. Again and again and again.

Chris Jones would have torn a strip off our DBs if they'd played like this in his system. Say what you will about his defense -- sometimes our aggressiveness came up big, sometimes it cost us -- but at least we had the courage to go for the big stop. In Burke's D, it's a slow, painful death, as the other team marches relentlessly down the field and scores. When it's a subpar team like Winnipeg, we can stay in the game. When we're facing a quality opponent -- B.C. or Calgary, for example -- we have no answer and fold like a house of cards.

...for a smart coach....like i believe Trestman is....Why????? on earth is he playing A.C. like there's no tomorrow....(and there won't be ,if he gets nicked)....I think records are fine ...BUT ...in fact what's happening here is that the 'records' are being placed above the success of the team....Lets just face it....A.C. goes down and the Als. are in a lot of trouble....Glenn is a good example of how you can get hurt on what was a simple play....Dinwiddie also got his ankle cranked, on what was an innocent enough looking play..... Ellis had Calvillo in his big mitts on one play....and 'could' have laid a big lick on him...but held him up....IF that were a guy like Canada it might have been different...Trestman is taking a 'big' chance...I'd be a little concerned if i was an Als. fan....Just a curious look from a Bomber pont of view.....Looking forward to the final :wink: ?????????

Well obviously there will be no coaching or major scheme changes until after the season, so it's sink or swim with what we've got. We just have to have faith that our offence will be good enough to carry us to the big dance and win the darn thing.

But I agree, that Thomas looked like a fish out of water.....I'd even rather have Kizer back than play Thomas, and I was sure no fan of Kizer...anyone know how long Jesse Hendrix will be out?

Now, Als' fans, assuming we win the east and get to the Cup (and I do think we are fully capable of beating either Winnipeg or Edmonton in the east final), who would you rather meet in the Cup; Saskatchewan, Calgary, or BC?

Saskatchewan could be scary; they are (finally) getting their injured receivers back, and even though it's a revolving door at the QB spot for them, that Richie Hall defence is a thing of beauty and will give us trouble.

Calgary has beaten us twice already this year, so they won't be intimidated by having to play the Cup game in our park. Efficient offence, and a Chris Jones pressure defence.

BC could have (should have?) beaten us twice this year but for that amazing goalline stand. Ball hawking secondary with Miles and Banks, and a scary defensive line.

Well obviously there will be no coaching or major scheme changes until after the season, so it's sink or swim with what we've got. We just have to have faith that our offence will be good enough to carry us to the big dance and win the darn thing.

But I agree, that Thomas looked like a fish out of water.....I'd even rather have Kizer back than play Thomas, and I was sure no fan of Kizer...anyone know how long Jesse Hendrix will be out?

Now, Als' fans, assuming we win the east and get to the Cup (and I do think we are fully capable of beating either Winnipeg or Edmonton in the east final), who would you rather meet in the Cup; Saskatchewan, Calgary, or BC?

Saskatchewan could be scary; they are (finally) getting their injured receivers back, and even though it's a revolving door at the QB spot for them, that Richie Hall defence is a thing of beauty and will give us trouble.

Calgary has beaten us twice already this year, so they won't be intimidated by having to play the Cup game in our park. Efficient offence, and a Chris Jones pressure defence.

BC could have (should have?) beaten us twice this year but for that amazing goalline stand. Ball hawking secondary with Miles and Banks, and a scary defensive line.

If Trestman's philosophy is to refuse to rest his starters, why was Thomas even in the game? I wasn't aware of any injury to our DBs, and in any case, why not use Proulx, a veteran, if someone was injured? I too wasn't impressed with Thomas, but it's very hard to judge a rookie DB in his first CFL game, getting used to the wide field, extra player, and unlimited motion.

There was no injury. Als seem to rotate their personel on defense. Don't know if it is game situation related or a way to see what guys have without having to commit an entire game to them. I'm not sure. Thomas may become a good CFL cover guy but to throw the guy in this late in the season without a camp is very difficult. But if you are going to do it, doing it in meaningless games is the way to go.

As far as which team would be the toughest in the GC. No question it is Calgary. For 4 reasons.

1- Only team with a consistent starting QB.
2- Beat the Als twice convincingly
3- Jones knows the Als personel very well.
4- They have the by. They would be the least banged up of the 3.

I can't tell who of those 3 teams is coming out of that division. I just hope its a war for whichever team gets to the GC. But before even gettng that priviledge the Als will likely have to beat Ricky Ray and that is never easy in a big game.

Our offense did not have a great day- dropped passes by usually very reliable receivers stopped several offensive drives. I believe our defense has not been great in the past few years. I have to recall the Als last grey cup game where Dickenson and the rest of the BC offense pulverized the Als defense. I recall Dickenson running up the middle and, his short passing game [ again up the middle ] allowed BC to control the game from start to finish.

The Als head coach has done a remarkable job fixing our offense this year. The improvement of the offensive line and, the motion in the offensive backfield are but two significent areas improved by better offensive coaching. This and the play of Calvillo have given us a potent offense. Our defense defeated the Als in our last Grey Cup game and now is of great concern in our Grey Cup effort. I particularly like our defensive line but there is systems breakdown in the team as a defensive unit. I have been impressed with the defensive team of Toronto for some time. The defensive coordinator of these teams is now unemployed. Would it be realistic to bring him in at this late stage of the season?

Hassall, our defense didn't get pulverized in that game. It was simply on the field too long because our offense was absolutely terrible. Remember Edwards's 'fumble' on the goal line? If he holds onto the ball, that game is completely different.

You are probably thinking of the 05 loss to Edmonton which went to triple-overtime because our D simply could not get a stop. That wasn't a great year. But Jones reloaded and the last two seasons our D has been fine.

The defensive coordinator of these teams is now unemployed. Would it be realistic to bring him in at this late stage of the season?
No. There is absolutely nothing Stubler can do with a game left in the regular season, particularly given that his match defense is very complicated and requires lots of time to master, as well as very specific personnel. In the offseason, though, I would love to get Stubler as D.C. His defense essentially won Toronto their Grey Cup in 04.

As for who I'd like to face the least in the Cup final -- assuming we even get there, which I have my doubts about -- I agree with Hfx: Calgary, by a country mile. Burris has always torched us, but at least in the past we were able to move the ball on their defense. Now, with Jones as their D.C., we are ineffective on offense too. Aggressive defenses that play lots of press coverage are always going to give a timing quarterback like Calvillo fits, especially when we rarely push the ball downfield looking for the big play, which is really the only way to deal with good press coverage. If you never go deep, those DBs never have any reason to give your receivers a cushion.

7 of Montreal's 12 wins, the Defence gave up less than 20 points. Montreal's offence wasn't clicking yesterday, and they're first meeting against Calgary, and the Offence couldn't get us the win. The Offence averages 30:00 per game, meaning the Defence is out there the other half of the game.

Yesterday, the Bombers dominated the clock. Almost 37 minutes, and the Defence gave up 24 points, and got 7. For 37 minutes on the field, I'd say that's not bad.

I

think you misunderstood me. I'm not saying this Defence is terrific by a longshot. Week after week people express they're frustrations here in Montreal. Even if Montreal beats a team 45-0, people have to look for negatives and complain about them. The Defence for the longest time, gave up the least amount of points in the league, and isn't that what matters? They always get the short end of the stick. Yesterday, the Offence stunk up the place, yet we get a "No Defence" topic.

I guess I may not see your point of view. I have confidence in this team, and I'm glad they lost to Winnipeg. The 1st 2 meetings against them was a cakewalk. I'd hate for them to go into the East final thinking it's going to be easy, and have yesterday's game happen at the end of November instead.

Ryooon, the offense has already shown what it can do. Repeatedly. Through 17 weeks of the season. It has won us all our games.

The defense? I keep saying this, and you keep refusing to acknowledge it, but our defense has not won us a game this season. Sure, they've held the opposition to 4 points ... in games when the offense has scored 30. In a game in which your offense puts up 30 points, holding the other team to 4 points doesn't win the game. It pads your stats, sure, but the real test of a defense is when your offense isn't producing at peak efficiency, in those contested 17-16 or 22-21 games, the ones that can turn on a single play. And not once has this defense risen to the occasion. We lost the first Calgary game 26-19. We lost to Hamilton despite the O putting up 38 frickin points. We blew leads against Saskatchewan and B.C. And yesterday, yet again, in a close low-scoring game, our defense came up short.

Bottom line: if our offense doesn't score at least 30 points, we have no hope of winning a game. That's the message this defense has sent all season long.

I guess we're gonna have to agree to disagree.

When it comes to Defensive Rankings, our D ranks in middle of the pack or near the top in all categories. We're ranked #2 in the league in Points Against. I don't care how much yards we give up, as long as we give up less points then the other team. This D can stop any team in the CFL, and at some point this season, they showed it. I know people are frustrated with this Defence, but I get frustrated with people who blame the D for everything. Yesterday, the Offence and Special Teams were by no means better than the Defence.