Thursday, 9 July 2015

Week 3 Lions Primer

The CFL community is talking about all the wrong stuff these days.  We’ve deviated from focusing on the things that CAN be controlled and have begun digging around for logic in the things that cannot…
Coincidently (focusing on the uncontrollable) is the quickest way that a professional athlete can derail his or her individual success.  Right now we stand on the precipice, and risk creating fruitless storylines, because they aren’t based on variables that coaches and players have control over.
Rules and officials; rules and officials.  No professional sports league should be addressing those factors as much as the league is right now, but it is what it is.  If the CFL had been forced to use replacement refereesthat would certainly justify the focus on the zebras, however that’s not the case.  Thank God!  I can only imagine how bad that wouDANNNGIT!!!  I just did it again!!!  #Focus  
Truthfully, I was over all of it by Tuesday.  I’m tired of talking about the way the game is refereed, and that’s actually a big step for me because it’s a part of the CFL that I have a huge problem with.  At some point one has to cease debating the CFL rule changes and how they affect certain schemes.  Nothing is going to change from an officiating standpoint so teams (specifically defenses) are going to have to figure things out, or get run over.
As for the Green and White?  They’re a team that is literally one or two plays away from being undefeated.  When searching for answers, the Riders don’t have to look far for the keys that would’ve turned those L’s into W’s.  They’re right there, on the same film that they’ve been watching as they prepare for Fridays game in British Columbia. 
All the Saskatchewan Roughriders have to do is be the team that they set out to be during the off-season
Jacques Chapdelaine was brought into Saskatchewan to re-vamp an offense that had seemingly reached a plateau under George Cortez and thus far, results have been staggering.  The Green and White lead every offensive category in the CFL heading into week 3, and it’s not because Chapdelaine has installed all sorts of tricks and out-of-the-box formations.  The Riders are having success because they have physically dominated opponents at the point of attack.  Their supremacy at the Oline position has allowed them to hit opponents quickly, with a well-balanced assault on the ground and through the air. 
They are who they wanted to be… #DennisGreenVoice
It’s the Roughrider defense that seems to be stirring up all the questions during the early stages of the 2015 campaign, and that’s not something that anyone in Ridernation is used to.  It’s not a matter of talent either.  In fact, if the Riders didn’t have any talent on D, it would be a whole lot easier to justify the way things have played out.  
Right now, it seems to be a case of mistaken identity.
When Greg Quick was hired as the defensive coordinator, he really set the tone for how the defense would operate under the combination of himself and Heads Coach Corey Chamblin.  He spoke of being ‘fast and furious’ likening their mentality to that of a Samurai Warrior that will cut the head off its opponent to ensure that they’re dead.
Now that was a lot of tough talk, but the Roughriders also took the steps to put the pieces in place so that they could back up all that aggressive intent.
Even throughout training camp, the Riders seemed poised to follow along with the proclamations that were made in the early months of the off-season.  
So what happened? 
It depends on who you ask, but the resounding opinion is that the defensive play-calling is far from samurai-ish.  I’m a realist; not having Shea Emery on that field is a far bigger deal than some may comprehend.  The absence of Marshay Green and Mark LeGree don’t help either.  It’s hard to commit to being as aggressive as you want, when there are players on the field that are still learning a foreign game.  It will take a while for the pace to slow for the young players in new spots.  Not being able to be as destructive as one wants may also lead to re-thinking the way that some down and distance scenarios are approached.  It’s all relative…Maybe that’s the discrepancy?
Maybe the identity of the defense wasn’t all about mentality.  Maybe the moving parts within the structure were just as important; but that’s the thing, one can’t let adversity dictate who they are.  Sure, there a lot of factors that go into how the Green and White play defense now, but whatever happens, do not abandon the sword.  Whether it’s in the hands of a vet, or the hands of a rookie, the blade is still deadly as long as 100% of intent is behind every swing.  
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have to work as hard as they can to recapture who they’ve wanted to be from the onset of this journey.  Call plays that allow guys to be as aggressive as possible.  If mistakes are made, then make them at 1000miles/hr, and correct them on the fly.  If the opponent makes a big play, then they’ll have to deal with getting hit in the mouth while doing so.
It’s still early right now, but before they know it, the coaches and players will look up and realize it’s the end of September.  The way this home-at-home plays out is going to re-set the tone for the 2015 season. 
The coaches know how much talent they have in front of them, and the players work as hard as anyone to perfect their craft.  There’s no better time to re-harness the mentality that they began to cultivate in June.  
One could always distinguish the Samurai Warrior by the armour that he wore.  It wasn’t until the Warrior drew his Katana and started striking, that opponents realized how deadly he was.
Cups up to the boys going 1-0 this week.


  1. "Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both....and surpass the result." - Tien T'ai

  2. I was at the game last weekend and it seemed like mass confusion on the sidelines. There were 3 defensive coaches sending signals in to the huddle and numerous player changes on each down. One of which caused the riders to take their timeout.

    If the coaches are confused then the players are as well

  3. Luc, seems to me there must be something Chamblin is not doing or is doing that the other team keys on in the fourth quarter. Clearly Harris saw something and went to his coach with. The coach who said he would rather lose going for it than not certainly is not calling the game that way. Anyway any comment on the fourth quarter thing?