Sunday, 21 August 2016

OFFSIDES...LongTerm Trouble in the CFL?

As the weekend draws to a close, Coach Etch and I give you some Pro Perspective analysis on what was Week 9 in the 2016 CFL season. 

With every winning team scoring at least 37 points during Week 9 (which is probably best case scenario in the CFL Head Office), our OFFSIDES podcast for today takes a look at the LONG TERM effects of higher scoring games.  According to Coach Etch, although the scoring was up, it is NOT a good thing for the CFL.

I think you guys will dig where Coach goes with this, and I also ask him to address some of YOUR comments, especially those who have written in and asked if Saskatchewan's failures thus far OFFEND HIS NARRATIVES that the Chris Jones coaching staff will carry this team.

It's definitely an interesting show, and I'm glad we're dropping it now in order for us to start the week off right tomorrow!

Mailbag Mondays return tomorrow, but for now, here's the latest OFFSIDES podcast (subscribe on iTunes!!!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Picking WEEK 9 in the CFL!

Presented By

cjevanshomedesigns.com

LAST WEEK: 4-0

There's some great ball on the horizon this weekend.  We hope that this column helps you out during your CFL cigarette breaks and water cooler convos!  Thanks to CJ Evans Home Designs for bringing this to everyone!

Enjoy the action folks!!!  Here are our Picks for Week 9 in the Canadian Football League...

Montreal @ Ottawa
My how opinions have changed!  It was just three weeks ago when everyone and their mother had been proclaiming that the Montreal Alouettes offence WAS BACK after the drubbed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 41-3 at McGill Stadium. 

In that week 6 clash the Green and White looked liked everyone was coming fresh off a healthy shift on St. Catherine’s street the night before, and the win caused the media to go ape-sh*t with resurgence narratives.

Fast forward to today and the lead article on CFL.ca’s “Insight and Analysis” column is somebody calling for Anthony Calvillo to “take the reins off of the Als Offence.”

Despite the article not mentioning ANYTHING that the Als might look to do against Ottawa, the piece illustrates the fact that the CFL media and fan base are quite concerned over the lack of productivity out of La Belle Province.

While Montreal tries to figure their way through things, the RedBlacks need to start fast off their bye week because their other two Eastern Conference foes (Toronto and Hamilton) are playing two teams that are still trying to figure things out themselves, and they obviously want to keep a foot hold on top spot in their division.

It behooves Ottawa and future Hall of Fame QB, smiling Hank, to get a win here because the BC Lions walk into TD Place in Week 10, and that’s no laughing -  err smiling -matter.

As these two teams kick off Week 9, both seem headed in different directions.  One can never count out any team in the CFL but it’s hard to see the Angry Bird taking flight now when the majority of the season has been a struggle.

Pick:  The RedBlacks in the Nation’s capital.

Calgary @ BC

I’ve been waiting for this re-match since the Stamps pulled out that impossible win during their first clash in Calgary.  This is as Mayweather vs. Pacquaio-ish as it comes in the Canadian Football League

If one looks closely, the Week 6 meeting was a bit of an anomaly for the Stamps when it came to protecting the QB.  The Lions sacked Bo Levi Mitchell 4 times during their game back in late July and managed to keep him uncomfortable and under pressure throughout the competition. 

Up until that game, BLM had gone relatively untouched, and it was a big reason why the Lions looked like they had things in the bag.  One will argue a number of points when trying to diagnose how the Stamps came back; the bottom line is that they got it done. 

As of late, it seems to be a trend in Calgary.

It’s going to be interesting to see how BC plans on duplicating their stellar defensive performance from Week 6.  It will be equally captivating to watch Calgary try and execute knowing that they need to be better in order to pull out a win in enemy territory.

Realistically, Defence, may be the only discrepancy between these two teams. The conference rivals match up well on paper, with the Lions getting the nod on D.

Does that mean if Calgary finds a way to play better during this second meeting, they’ll win the game?

Absolutely not…

Not only do the Leos have Jeremiah Johnson back off the injury list (when he’s healthy it’s hard to find a better RB in the league), but Wally Buono and his troops should have learned a great deal about themselves during that first game in Alberta; ESPECIALLY at the QB position.

There were throws that Jonathon Jennings simply should not have tried to make in the waning minutes of Stamps/Lions Week 6 clash.  That’s not to say that he was solely responsible for the Calgary comeback, but there was a lot of teachable film that Jennings needed to see from that game that the 2nd year signal caller needed to see and learn from.

By all accounts, Jennings has been money from then on (BC’s final drive in the 4th Quarter of last week was beautiful) and with this game holding more meaning than the first, Jennings and his teammates have probably been anxiously waiting their chance at a re-do.

I really believe that this game could go either way, which is exactly what one wants when the best two teams in the CFL meet. 

Both teams rely on the big fellas up front to set the tone, both teams can run the rock, and both teams have QBs that are playing at a high level.  The Lions and Stamps also have great receiving corps, along with talented DBs in the secondary to defend against the pass. 

The difference in this game may be at the LB core, and that’s where we may find the scales tipping slightly in BCs favour.  2016 has been business as usual for Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian.  They’re the cornerstones of the Lions Defence, and may be what the doctor ordered when it comes to stopping an efficient Calgary run game, and taking away large portions on the field during the pass. 

Marquee games are often decided by one or two plays.  The Week 6 game between these two teams lived up to the hype, and if Week 9 follows the same script, we’re in for a treat, and the BC LBs may be the difference makers.

Pick: The British Columbia Lions and the best unis in the CFL

Edmonton @ Toronto

During our mid-week OFFSIDES podcast, I had a lot of trouble trying to come up with a label for this game.  To this point, both teams have underperformed, and it’s been annoying to watch, knowing how much talent there actually is on both rosters.  As I stumbled around looking for a phrase to coin this game with, our co-host (Coach Gary Etcheverry) thankfully had a perfect title; the battle of mediocrity.
Much like the game we just talked about, this competition could go either way; but not in a good way.  Due to the fact that neither of these squads have been world-beaters on Defence one would probably look to the Offensive side of the ball to find the keys to victory.

I’ve gotta go with Edmonton in this one.  Mike Reilly, Derel Walker, and Adarius Bowman are the bright spots on a team that is still trying to figure everything out. 

Last week, Western Conference teams won every game on the CFL sched and with Toronto’s BMO field crowd not offering much in the way of home side advantage, this game is a chance for Edmonton to gain some ground on one of the top two teams in their division (somebody has to lose the BC/CGY game).

Pick:  The Edmonton Eskimos

Saskatchewan @ Hamilton

The Saskatchewan Roughriders need to start winning some games here in order to get themselves into the playoffs and make some noise.  When one looks at this upcoming contest in Hamilton, one may find that the easiest way to forecast the winner is to break things down using the three phases of the game.

Here’s the good news; when it comes to the Offensive side of the ball, the Roughriders have the advantage, based on he fact that Doubles has been playing out of his mind in 2016. 

Analysts and experts are so excited that Zach Collaros has returned, and for good reason, however right now (with a young Offensive Line playing decently in front of #4) Darian Durant gives the Green and White the nod in this phase.  He (Durant) is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and looks notably youthful. 

The Face of the Franchise is carrying this squad, and with this being only the 2nd game that Collaros is playing in coming off a long rehab stint, it’s still too early to tell whether or not the Hamilton O is back to where they were, prior to Collaros going down in 2015.

Unfortunately, it’s the other two phases of this game where things take a turn on Saskatchewan. 

Hamilton possesses the CFLs version of Devin Hester (in his prime) in Brandon Banks, and his ability to instantly change the face of a football game leaves CFL fans in absolute awe.  Banks will hit at the absolute WORST time for an opponent so the Riders kick coverage teams are going to have to put forth their best effort, ESPECIALLY on long field goals (just ask the BC Lions).

The TiCats also get the nod defensively with their multiple look scheme that they’ve employed to keep them in games while Jeremiah Masoli was at the helm.  Hamilton’s defensive scheme does well at getting to the QB, but if one can find the open spots quickly, there is a chance to hit the TiCats for large chunks.

Looking at the game through the 3 phases (Offence, Defence,and Special Teams) makes things easy and takes all the loyalty out of it.  Although the Green and White hold the Offensive advantage, that can be quickly nullified by sudden change plays in the other aspects of the game. 

Right now the Saskatchewan Roughriders need all of your support!  The one thing that the X’s and O’s cannot measure is HEART.

We always try keeping our hearts out of these previews on Pro Perspective.  That helps us keep the focus on the actual football.  Unfortunately, over the last two years, that has meant that these predictions have gone against our beloved Green and White the majority of the time.  It sucks.

Luckily HEART is a HUGE factor in football games, and it gives Saskatchewan a chance on Saturday.

Pick:  Gotta go with The Black and Gold in the Coffee Grounds and as usual I HOPE TO HELL I'M WRONG!!!

#ProPerspective



Thursday, 18 August 2016

OFFSIDES...Pieces of Art!

Subscribe on iTunes!!!
Week 9 of the CFL schedule kicks off tomorrow and as per usual, before all of the action starts, Coach Etch and I get together to forecast the possible results and the interesting things to watch for throughout the football weekend.

Today's OFFSIDES podcast covers a number of thoughts including the "style over substance" position that 3 of the leagues Head Coach's subscribe too, and the possible thought process for coaches that don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with the coordinators that they are working for.

For anyone who has already buried the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they head into the "Coffee Grounds" there may be some reason to hold that thought...

All of this and much more on today's episode of OFFSIDES.

Hit the link below for all of you non-iTunes users.
Talk soon folks!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Busting the Narratives in Week 8

Sorry guys...We dropped this OFFSIDES podcast yesterday, but for those of you who do not subscribe to us on iTunes, I failed to post this quick synopsis of the show.  I'll have a Tuesday Mailbag for you guys later this evening because there are a couple of questions we still haven't gotten to from our followers!

As we close the book on Week 8 in the CFL, and before we look ahead to week 9, Coach Gary Etcheverry and I give you guys a Pro Perspective look into some of the "narratives" flying around in the CFL and how they played into the thought process of fans, analysts, and casual viewers over the weekend.

Yesterday's topics included, TSN protecting its former CFLers that are now coaching in tough situations, like Anthony Calvillo.  In that discussion we use Tim Tebow's potential baseball career as a talking point to illustrate Etch's point of view.

Winnipeg looks to be gaining some steam and we touch on the fact that it's "hard to argue" with those who are saying that the Bombers have a shot at going to the Grey Cup.  We also bust another narrative of panelists and experts as it pertains to Scott Milanovich while we're talking about the Bomber victory over Toronto.

Before we close out the show, we spend a fair amount of time talking about Craig Reynolds and the bet that he placed on Chris Jones and his staff.  Etch applauded the move from the get-go and with all of the controversy surrounding Saskatchewan it seemed like a good time to get coach's opinion on all of it.

Etch also has some great analysis on Darian Durant which Rider fans will gobble up, and we close out the show with some encouraging words for the Rider faithful.

Subscribe to OFFSIDES on iTunes

OR

Here's the embedded downloadable show for our non-iTunes clientele...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

GOTTA HAVE IT!!!

Here's the latest post that I contributed to riderville.com

I think this is an important read because it underscores one of the MOST IMPORTANT characteristics that an athlete needs to have. 

One MUST know his personal performance numbers!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Picking WEEK 8 in the CFL

PRESENTED BY

cjevanshomedesigns.com
Last Week: 3-1

Leave it to the STINKIN Blue Bombers to spoil a 4-0 week last week!  I'm obviously not that mad at them though because we picked them this week.

Instead of giving away all the picks now, check them out below!  I hope this adds to your Pre-Game Convo's starting TONIGHT!

As always, this Pick-Em is brought to you by my buddy Chris Evans and his company Cj Evans Home Designs..

Lets ROLL...

Montreal @ Edmonton
Geez!  It’s tough to pick between two teams that one has absolutely ZERO confidence in!

Curiously, I have a gut feeling about Montreal in this game.  Even I’m perplexed as to why; if one reads anything coming out of La Belle Province as of late, all signs are pointing to collapse. 
 There may even be a hint of doubt creeping in about the qualifications of Offensive Coordinator Anthony Calvillo…Hmmm???  I wonder where we’ve heard that before?!?!? #OffsidesPodcast #ProPerspective

I’m pretty sure that I’ve ignored my gut feeling a number of time now to my own peril but there’s no way that my gut could be right about this one!

In true struggling team vs. struggling team fashion, this game may be a case of one team having a lot more wrong with them than the other team.  At this point it seems like the only thing that we SHOULD take into account.

 If that is the case, I’ll take Edmonton’s issues over Montreal’s issues.

Pick: The Reigning, Defending Gre…Scratch that…The Soon to Be Dethroned Edmonton Eskimos?

Winnipeg @ Toronto

There’s something in me that won’t allow me to be completely sold on Matt Nichols.  Although I do think he is a better option moving forward than Drew Willy is, I still can’t get passed the niche I may have ignorantly carved out for him, which is back-up QB.  Maybe it’s because he simply hasn’t had the time to completely find his groove with a squad?  All signs point to a boatload of time to sort things out in Bomberville so hopefully he continues his upward trend.
At first it felt like we haven’t seen the Argos play in an eternity, and then I realized that the Boatmen have been on their bye-week which gave Toronto’s back-up QB, Logan Kilgore, plenty of time to dissect his body of work from his 2016 debut in Ottawa.
I’m going to use the ability to run the football here when it comes to this game.  Take note, because it is a theme we’ll re-visit when it comes to our final analysis of the night.  Andrew Harris may be Paul LaPolice’s best friend in TO, and if Winnipeg can methodically carve out manageable 2nd downs, and consistently put together some lengthy drives, it may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of not allowing Kilgore to catch a rhythm with his pass-catchers he has at his disposal.
Behind a Winnipeg Defence that has been playing well in spots all year, and is now getting some rest in between drives, I have confidence in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to get the job done on the road.
WOW!  Confidence in the Bummers!!!  Never said that before!!
Pick:  The Blue Bombers to continue to build on their momentum!
Hamilton @ BC
You guys know what I think about the BC Lions (hint: I like em), so we won’t spend time ogling over all of their impressive characteristics.
Instead, we’ll take a look at the fact that Zach Collaros is making his return. 
It’s important to note that this is NOT the Zach Collaros that we all came to adore in 2015, and that’s big because there is a certain amount of mystery surrounding his return.
Maybe mystery makes it seem too gloomy, but there should be some questions that we ask before we hop right back on the TiCat Bandwagon…

I’ll be curious to see how long it takes for Collaros to get his “sea legs” under him.  I don’t care how much the franchise pivot has practised as of late, there is nothing that one can do to simulate game tempo and intensity.  There may also be a considerable number of mental hurdles that Collaros needs to overcome before he REALLY gets rolling.  Things like how his knee will react to the first real hit, or how mobile is he truly going to be?  Collaros’ mobility was everything to the TiCats because he was constantly able to get out of the pocket and still make accurate throws.

I really like the TiCats prospects now that they’ve got their number one signal caller back, but I’m not sure I want to commit to the Black and Gold until I see a full performance. 

It could go either way for the Tabbies.  Unfortunately for them, this is one of the best (if not the best) teams in the Canadian Football League that Collaros has to deal with right out of the gate.

Pick: British Columbia and the best unis in the League.

Calgary @ Saskatchewan

After watching the 4th Quarter of the Riders/Stamps game last week, I have a fair amount of concern as to whether or not the Saskatchewan Roughriders can pull off a split during this home-at-home series.

The fact that this game is at home with Doubles at the helm, and having knocked off any rust, represents 10 points in my minds eye.  Add another 3 points now that Bo Levi-Mitchell’s dry-snitching has lit a flame under the entire fan base and you have a 13-point cushion to play with before kick-off. 

Not a bad forecast considering the squad only managed 15 pts during the first installment of this back-to-back.

Here’s the problem…In that 4th Quarter, it wasn’t the play calling on either side that did, or didn’t, get it done.  It had nothing to do with schematics.  What scares me about this game is the ability for the Saskatchewan Roughriders to PHYSICALLY execute. 

The way that Calgary was able to establish the Line of Scrimmage was impressive if you’re a trench warfare enthusiast, but disturbing if you’re a Green and White die-hard.  We spend a lot of time talking about ball control (as it relates to the run game) on this blog, and Jerome Messam and the Calgary Stampeders gave us all a PERFECT example of how a ground attack can kill an opponent.  Messam is already a beast to bring down, but he’s almost unstoppable if a team is making first contact with him at the 2nd level where the LB’s and DB’s are. 

The Roughriders simply lost the physically battle on Defence and in turn it prevented the Offence from being able to gather any momentum.  As a matter of fact, I think that Doubles and his crew only ran 7 Offensive plays in that last Q of Thursdays game.  #BallControl

Everybody’s narrative’s are all the same at this point: “Saskatchewan’s Defence has to play better”
Now that’s easy to say because one is able to add strategy into that account but when an opponent is able to impose their will on a competitor, it essentially takes the X’s and O’s completely off the table.

In this case, “playing better” means that the team needs to step up the PHYSICALITY of their approach.

Taking the physical side of things into account, at this point, and unfortunately I’ve written this EXACT same statement in a prior analysis; there may be to much of a disparity between both teams Offensive and Defensive Lines. 

I see the Roughrider hoggies (depending who Saskatchewan rolls out) vs. the Stampeder Dline as a “push” right now and that’s fair because of all the turnover there.  Sadly, there seems to be a distinct advantage upfront when it comes to the Red and White Oline vs the Green and White Dline.

Until that Defensive unit can establish themselves physically, we have give the edge to the
Whaa-mpeders because that’s where the foundations of success begin and end in a football game.

Pick: The Dry-Snitching Stampeders

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

OFFSIDES! The "Yah...Buuut" Episode!

We had a HELL of a time dealing with some server issues with our OFFSIDES podcast today and to tell you guys the truth, I'm actually shocked that we were able to drop our WEEK 8 episode where we take a look at the upcoming CFL schedule.\

In today's show we talk Nichols surprising??? performance thus far as the signal caller in Winnipeg.

We also talk Hamilton and Zach Collaros' return and the fact that the TiCats O is currently a WORK IN PROGRESS.

To close out the show, our discussion takes us to the HUGE (for a number of reasons) re-match between the Stamps and Riders, and Coach drops a couple of potential RULE CHANGES that the CFL needs to consider!

I gotta run...We have a Regina Thunder game to prepare for.  Exciting year ahead for our coaching staff led by Scott MaCaulay!

Don't forget to subscribe to us on iTunes...As usual, the link to our original hosting site is below!

Talk soon folks!