Friday, 3 June 2016


Today’s practise was the final opportunity to get The BIG 3down as far as succeeding as a professional football player goes.  

With tomorrow’s Green and White scrimmage one sleep out,the MAJOR FOCUS of today’s practise for most of the players needed to be ALIGNMENT, ASSIGNMENT, and EXECUTION. #Big3

From an installation standpoint, the rate at which the plays have been put in throughout the 3 phases of the game (Offence, Defence, Special Teams) has been on par with PRO expectations.  What makes the BIG 3 so important to the 2016 Saskatchewan Roughrider hopefuls in camp is that the X’s and O’s that the Coordinators are implementing are fairly detailed.  There’s a lot of moving parts (especially on D) to these playbooks and we know that for any play on any team to work, each individual involved needs to be in the right place at the right time in order for the play to be executed the way it was drawn up.

At times during the first week, this team has ran into some challenges in the execution department but that’s to be expected during a training camp where new theories and ideas are being unveiled.  What needs to happen eventually is that the amount of corrections decrease from day to day.  #ImproveEveryRep

Saturday’s mock-game is such a big opportunity for everyone that is healthy enough to partake and the coaches want to head to see guys on film flying around and making plays.

The only way that these players are going to put confident high-paced playmaking ON FILM is if their mind is completely void of doubt.  If one knows the BIG 3 (ALIGNMENT, ASSIGNMENT, and EXECUTION) during every play that is called, they’ll be able to play fast and sound.  If one is thinking about where to line up and where to go right up until the snap of the ball, not only are they vulnerable to get beat, but they’re putting 11 other guys in jeopardy.  


Hence why today was such a big day for these guys.  They’ve been in game situations pretty much from the opening day, however now the lights are on and mistakes have consequences that could be detrimental.  To the team, and the individual. #DepthChartProblems

Players were given every opportunity to get the BIG 3 down today.  Not only was the rep count increased, but Coach Jones and his staff spent a good chunk of time taking care of logistics like lining up Special Team units and going through substitutionscenarios.  Doing things like physically putting the players in every scenario they may see Saturday and during the exhibition season only increases the chances of players playing with utmost confidence.  There’s no way that this team will be able to capitalize on the size, speed, and talent that is out here this year if they do not find the guys that know every aspect of THE BIG 3.

The final chance to shore up any loose ends before Saturday will happen on the eve of Day 6.  Team and Unit meetings will give these guys a final look at technique and execution issues before all is said and done tonight.  By now players will have started interacting within their position groups or with other guys on the offence of defence and they’ll probably spend some time going over plays and situations before they hit the bed.

All Saturday is for the Green and White is another day to come out and compete.  They’ve reached the time now where certain players are going to start showing up more and more in a positive light.  Obviously, as far as making the team goes, that’s exactly what one individually hopes for.  Have a handle on the Big 3 and go out and PUT IT ON FILM.  Just another phase in the job interview of a lifetime!  #Big3

Here’s some thoughts that I took down during a beautiful Day 6 of 2016 Training Camp.

• I’m enjoying watching Jonathon Newsome assimilate himself into the CFL.  I’ll tell you what, he looks legit.  We talked a bit about him on The Sportscage (620 CKRM) yesterday and today he continued to take positive steps.  Newsome’s got really quick feet and when he’s in close quarters to an Offensive Tackle it’s hard for the big fellas to keep the former NFLer in front of them.  That’s going to be Newsome’s main adjustment up here in Canada.  He’s going to have to learn that in order to dominate with his skillset he’s going to have to close ground first in order to get within a range that he’s comfortable with in terms of his pass rush moves.  Power rushers (not to say he’s not one) are different.  Their abilities are based on initial contact, and not shifty feet with technical handwork.  As soon as Newsome becomes comfortable closing the gap that the 1 yard off the ball rule creates for him, he’ll then develop the timing with his hands and feet that he’s used to from his days in the United States.  Now that may sound like a very general assessment of any speed rusher in the CFL but after watching him and his ability to get side to side so quickly, it speaks well to him.  If he doesn’t adjust he risks getting his lateral movement going to early and essentially dancing in front of a Tackle that’s taking his kick step backwards.  What this creates is wasted movement as well as an Offensive Tackle who gets to settle in and watch the movement from the length of his punch.  Can’t wait to see this cat during the exhibition season! 


• I mentioned the need for a couple of pocket pushing DTs yesterday and when I think about some guys I’m going to be keeping an eye on tomorrow, one of them is going AC Leonard out of Tennessee State.  He’s got such a violent set of hands when he’s confident with what he needs to get accomplished.  He shows flashes of ability consistently in 1v1 Pass Rush drills against the Oline and has had his moments during team drills, but it looks like there’s something that’s still holding him back from being a consistent playmaker so far.  It may have something to do with the aforementioned BIG 3 and if it is something like the volume of plays being installed on a nightly basis or other adjustments to the pro game (he’s only in his 1st year out of college) then he may benefit from a scenario like Saturdays game where the coaching staff may only utilize a sample size of what’s been installed in an effort to see what these players are truly capable of.  Between Leonard and Corvey Irvin who I consider to be in the same TALENTED boat, there’s a lot to look for on Saturday AND moving forward into the exhibition season.


• We’ve given a ton of love to the potential of 2016 Draft pick Quinn Van Gylswyk, and have sung the praises of Josh Bartel, however we haven’t given much love to Tyler Crapigna who has been kicking really well as of late.  Who knows what the LONG TERM plan is for that group but I didn’t want Crapigna to go unnoticed for his efforts.  Today looked good as well.  #KickersAreSensitive


• Demski is having himself a camp


• There seemed to be a lot of communication troubles on offence today.  Some errant snaps, and other FOCUS based slips.  Part of the reason in my mind for some of today’s issues is the pre and post-snap movements and alignments of the defence.  For those who aren’t familiar with the Chris Jones system of defence, it creates a ton of pressure upfront, and today’s practise seemed like the defensive looks (pre-snap) were causing some a few issues during the intitial phases of the cadence and offensive play call.


• Continuing on the thought above, I hope onlookers have noticed how CRUCIAL the RBs role is when it comes to protecting the QB in this offence.  With all the pressure that the O has seen in the first week of camp it’s underscored the need for an RB that can correctly identify his blocking assignment when the D is bringing one more guy than they can block.  He also needs to be EFFECTIVE while carrying out that blocking assignment.  Check out which backs are recognizing where they need to be in pass pro during pressure situations.  If the QB is unable to throw the ball people are quick to jump on the Oline.  The RB is just as important in blocking schemes and this team’s #1 guy at the end of camp will be a guy that not only runs and catches well but is a hard-nosed capable blocker.


• Skelly Period (competition minus the O and D line) was impressive as far as coverage and communication in the secondary.  For the most part the D locked things down.  This is usually about the time the DBs get a feel for each other and the way they work within the defensive requirements.  It was especially nice to see them getting so excited about plays they DIDN’T capitalize on because that means they’re starting to get it!  Much was made of the need to upgrade the Roughrider secondary in the off season and when Chris Jones got hired it was one thing that I pointed out immediately.  Not only were the body types about to change in the back end, but the cohesive speed was also going to change.  They seem to be on schedule in terms of their development.  At the very least there’s some great competition for roster spots there.







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