What Should Be Our Defensive Philosophy?

Argos use the 'bend but don't break' mold. The old Cats used to be known for ferocious attacking at the point of the ball. For a number of years the Als were a team that played all sorts of stunts.

This year we didn't seem to have a coherent approach although the manner in which the DB's often laid off the line of scrimmage suggests that Kavis may like the Argo approach as opposed to Sudsy's style.

  1. Is one approach obviously better than another in this day and age?

  2. Certain players fit into one scheme or the other. Who fits what?

  3. Obviously the D-Coordinator will be crucial in bringing a scheme but does anybody know the tendencies of the major coaching candidates?

Dont let them score.

Well, that about covers it. :wink:

No it doesn't - with the offense as bad as it has been lately, they need to not let them score and score at least 21 points off turnovers. :slight_smile:

It's not unprecedented - I don't think the Cats would have won a single game from the mid-eighties to mid-nineties without the defense scoring a few TDs a game.

I'll try one more time.

I prefer a team oriented approach that doesn't look for the biggest individual impact players but rather looks for multi-skilled and fast players who can provide multiple looks.

I prefer an aggressive defence that looks for high-impact plays (kind of like Mtl. had for several years before it got played around with last year) rather than the patient 'bb-not-b' or 'let them make the mistake' kind of D.

However, that leads to the occasional sudden big score by the opposition which can be a real momentum changer UNLESS the O or the D is capable of answering with a real big play shortly after. I'm not convinced that a ball control offence goes that well with a big-play D. It seems to me that the O and D philosophies are necessarily similar on a good team.

Look at the Argos- they are on track this year (rats) with a patient O and D. I don't enjoy the style... but it works for them. As I said- I prefer taking a few chances.

How does this work out with players? I think that we have a large enough group of DB's to build upon. There are some aggressive types out there and they're young enough to learn new schemes. I really miss having a true ball hawk or two for the interceptions. If the rest of the cover team is alert and team oriented then you are more likely to have the green light to 'go for it'.

I don't see our linebackers as a unit with ANY governing philosophy. That may be because there doesn't seem to be one overall for the D and the LB's are the linch-pin. Give me a big controlling man in the middle (we've had good ones in the past) with speed off the wings.

It should be determined by your personnel so I'd say bend-don't break. The Cats do not have any dominant guys on D for the big play. The line puts adequate pressure on the QB most of the time. The linebackers are lousy individually and as a group. The DBs are ok, Tay being the best of the lot. If the LBs were better, the DBs would look better too. Since the DBs are the best of the bunch, they can play to keep the action in front of them and not give up the big play. I'd say the Cats really need a significant upgrade right across the field at LB.

An Argo fan

Hi Mar4k

I can sort of see where you're coming from...wish that oski-oui-oui would weigh in here!

There are any numberr of difficulties on the TC D...in no particular order, and not imagining for a second that I can touch on them all...

We had a superb Safety in Hitch. He "led" and was a fan favourite, but "apparently" got a little too old for the position, and was switched to LB, which was a "bad move" because he's not a natural there, and there was nobody "schooled" in the safety position, much less the "captaincy" role, and so we suffered...and it wasn't an easy "fix", as the D had told Rob to "bulk up" to the LB position, and its hardly easy to take that off and go "back"...

Going back several years we had an allstar of Mike Philbrick, who could "plug" the middle, and take out a couple OLine types, but of course this is/was hard on the body, and we were in an ownership position where we were barely able to pay salaries, so replacing such a vital man was impossible, and, to date, unaddressed. (Don't even start on me about Belli vs Philbrick, on discipline, you will provoke a firestorm!)

We lost Montford due to "money issues" paired with ownership and salary cap things, and didn't do too bad in getting James Cotton, and Tim Cheatwood...but Cheatwood is a bit "undisciplined", and both are getting "old" for the game...Collier is a bright spark, and something to build from...

We absolutely lack a MLB that can "dominate"...don't get me wrong, I have to "like" Auggie B as a person, but I'd much rather an updated Calvin Tiggle, and bring up the size of the linebackers...

If that is done, we can live with the secondary growth efforts, (I think!)

We just get killed with the run, if we have any injury; if we don't have a D Rush, the secondary falls apart, and the guys we are relying on need their numbers retired.

Kavis Reed does quite well, but needs an assistant or two.

The TiCat D remains the strong point of the team, I just hope the Offense gets a rebuild without losing Jason Maas, an OC, a proper line, and so on...

Can Head Office ever sort itself out? Sad to see RL beaking off against the new GM, and thats where the money needs be spent....get a GM and HC on the same page...

Its not hopeless!

Looking fwd to a positive 2007!


I want steeltown tough D like we used to have with Sudsy. The best front 4 sack machines in the CFL. A great secondary would help :thup: D wins championships

Where Pretty close now..
Where Weak in The Middle..
MLB Spot and Safety

Our DL so far is third in the league in Sacks.
We have Fairly Good CB
I also Think Kavis play way to much cover 2
and cover 3

Bend but don't break D..
That's not Hamilton Defence...

Apply the words of our ex-interim coach:
Be on time, pay attention, and play like hell.

He meant them with regards to the team's daily effort, but they work at the micro level as well. Perhaps the new coaches will get players to actually heed them next year.


Beat the offense

play hard or stay home

Mr. You-Bet,
Would you care to expand upon the defensive philosophy of the Lions as you appear to have that of the 'Cats thoroughly analyzed? I note that

Dont let them score,
may have subtle nuances of difference from
Beat the offence
that escape my analytical abilities and so would hope that you would parse them for us as well.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Sure, no problem. Its like this see. If your offense scores 2 TDs, then your D wants to score 3 TDs. Outscore the offense. Brilliant...yes :lol:


Here goes:

Philosophically: base 4-3 defence, bend-but-don't break, don't get beat deep.

Sudsy's defence in a nutshell -- you do not over-blitz...create a scenario where your mix of coverages allow the rush of the four down linemen to have maximum effect.

Having a rush-end who is capable of dropping back in coverage in zone blitzing packages...ideally a stud pass rusher a la Montford in his prime who you can move around the front seven to create mismatches.

I am more into causing the offense to make mistakes through subterfuge and forcing them into throwing into tight passing windows than getting torched in blitz situations that do not work.

I love the Tampa-2 in the NFL and I have a great deal of respect for Rich Stubler's match coverage approach in Toronto, although I advocate a 4-3 base system. You want the offense to be forced into mistakes through impatience or misreads by the QB beyond the usual turnover opportunities that are presented during a game.

Sudsy used a lot more combination zone approaches than Stubler does in his system. By default this allows the defence to give up less yards rushing in a design sense, since there is less man coverage happening as plays develop and LBS and DBs will see runs developing more. Personnel being equal, I prefer Sudsy's approach because it lends itself more to second-and-longs -- read killshot opportunities -- and the kind of aggressive defence that I associate with Ticat football.

The blitz-happy approach that Montreal has used off-and-on for the last few years can become predictable and can be countered.

I want my opponent to have to drive the length of the field to beat me. Giving up big plays is a recipe for disaster. We have had three years of this under Kavis Reed because bend-and-break has been in vogue.

I can expound more on this if you'd like.

Oski Wee Wee,

I would agree with what oski oui oui says.

The Cats are getting beat deep when they shouldn’t. To often they allow the team to come to them instead of attacking. That is what killed them in Calgary earlier this year.

I like the blitz as long as it is used correctly. The Cats have a tendency to blitz but it gets picked up more often than not and they get beat.
The old adage goes, live with the blitz die with the blitz.

I would also like to keep the 4-3. A 3-4 defence is very difficult you need exceptional D-Linemen to occupy the front five on the offence. Very often they will bring one of the linebackers and now you are back into a 4-3 with one of your rush men undersized because he is a linebacker.

The linebackers need to be completely overhauled. Armor is not bad but Barrenechea I think is undersized and just not quite good enough to be there every play.
The new guy Dixon has shown promise but the jury is still out.

The Cats are lacking both in experience and size at the LB spot. If you look at Hamilton’s championship years they were always built around a very strong front 7.
We’ve had some very good secondaries over the years but the core of the D comes from the front 4 and the linebackers.

Some people have mentioned about Toronto’s D bending, I think they get lucky sometimes. To much bending will cause it to break eventually. If you go after your opponent on every play instead of letting them come to you, you create your own opportunities.

The Defence still needs at least 4 players to really solidify it. Two interior linemen and 2 linebackers along with a take no prisoners mentality.
The Defence has been physically beaten too many times this season and that is unacceptable. You must attack your opponent and beat the hell out of them. Make them physically pay for every inch they get. Only then will you start to strike fear into your opponent and when that happens you start to control the game

Before we can get a new defensive philosophy we have to get rid of Kavis Reed and his old “bend and break” defensive philosophy.