Monday, 18 July 2016

MAILBAG MONDAY!


Had a few questions in our Pro Perspective Mailbag for todays post and our second response should cover a couple of your inquiries at the same time.  It's funny because no matter what our discussion points may have been in the past, we spend a lot of time hammering home the same topics at times.  Now this isn't a bad thing when I look at it.  I think that the more that certain FOUNDATIONS of being a professional athlete are discussed, the more you all have a chance to actually put yourselves in a pro athletes cleats.

Make sure your stopping by this page for daily content this week especially on Thursday when I drop the link for the work I contribute to Riderville.com. 

That piece will consist of a look at an overarching theme that I noticed during the weekend once the Riders result against the Lions was in.

Get YOUR questions into the MAILBAG via the comment section below, or via Twitter (@lucmll95) or email (lum@gameplansolutions.ca).

We love talking ball with you guys here on properspective.ca...WIN THE WEEK FOLKS!

Via Twitter (@lucmull95)
Q: (From the BC game on Sat) Was that borderline not calling forward progress stopped before the (Anthony Allen) pitch back to Jennings?

A:  The referees shouldn’t have called a stop to the forward progress in that situation and they were right in letting the play continue.  Allen was legitimately being tackled and there were opportunities for defenders to still try and strip him of the ball or just bring him to the ground.  I looked up forward progress situations in the rule book and couldn’t find anything (I’m sure it’s in there).  I’m pretty sure that forward progress refers to plays where there will clearly be no more yards gained after a player has gotten to a certain spot and there aren’t any more options for either party.

Either way it was a good ‘no-call’ by the refs and a play that took a set of 90lb stones in order to pull off.  So many things could have gone wrong for BC in that moment.  Unfortunately for Ridernation, the gamble paid off and gave the Lions life when the Green and White were about to have all of the momentum on their side.

Via Twitter (@lucmull95)

Q: I read a Facebook/blog article after the game that stated that the fan/media NARRATIVE that “We can’t win without Durant” is killing the team’s mentality.  When you played how did fans opinions affect the locker room?

A: First off, until this team gets a back-up QB that can make the right reads and operate the McAdoo offence, that “We can’t win without Durant” narrative will remain true.  I’ll be the first one to tell you that Football is the ULTIMATE team sport BUT the Quarterback is so much more essential because aside from the centre, he touches the ball during every play on O, and is responsible for administering the pre-snap diagnosis and the execution of the play call itself.  Teams simply cannot win CONSISTENTLY without a quality QB.   To go one further, in the CFL, because the offensive schemes aren’t always build to protect the QB like in the NFL, teams need TWO quality starters up here in Canada and right now that’s where the “we can’t win without Durant” phrase has come from.  Saskatchewan hasn’t had someone in place that can provide consistency other than Durant.  It’s not a narrative up to this point, it’s a FACT.

Having said that, if Mitchell Gale is able to build on some of the good things he did on Saturday in his spot work, while learning from some of his teachable moments, I believe the coaching staff has a QB that they can have some confidence in moving forward.  It looks as though Gale will give them a shot from the QB spot for however long that the Face of the Franchise it out.  Gale has been a discussion topic on many of the football platforms that I’m fortunate enough to be involved in.  Like Trevor Harris, and Zach Collaros he’s been a student of the game under Scott Milanovich, but more importantly, HE’S HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP while watching from the sidelines for a few years.  He hasn’t been rushed into major duty and that has allowed Gale to develop an understanding for the nuances of the CFL game.  People often forget that Darian Durant himself went through a few years before he was ready to be the full time starter for the beloved Green and White.

The opportunity in front of Mitchell Gale is enormous right now, and it's what every player worth his salt wants in his career.  It is a chance to prove that he can be "the guy" in this league, whether it's in Saskatchewan or somewhere else (Winnipeg? #JustSaying).  Fortunately, with the educational process that Gale has been afforded, his chances of success are a lot higher than some of the QBs that the CFL has seen pass through its gates.  We'll get into the analysis of the RedBlacks game as this week progresses but the Defensive scheme that Ottawa employs now may be conducive to Gales skillset, if what we saw against BC was any indication.

I’ve probably addressed the second part of this question a number of times but I can honestly say that the fan opinion and media narratives don’t hold a lot of weight in the locker room, so for as much speculation and criticism that may or may not happen; not a whole lot ends of penetrating the locker room walls.

That’s not to say that athletes don’t care about what the fans think! 

It’s quite the opposite in fact…Players care deeply for the fan base of an organization and with the ability for social media to reach an individual like never before, we’re in a day and age where players can’t necessarily ignore the thoughts and feelings of others.

At the end of the day the bonds of brotherhood that are such a special part of professional sports are what keeps groups together during times of duress and will ALWAYS be the reason why players take the field. 

Do athletes hear the narratives and opinions of others?  ABSOLUTELY!  But it’s the narratives and opinions of the outside world that act as a bonding agent.  The louder the media, fans, and analysts get, the more the players band together and realize that at the end of the day, it’s the guys in the locker room that count. 

Quite often fan rhetoric is used as building blocks in order to create that “we all we got” attitude that carries teams through adversity.

Before I close out, I’ll give you guys an example.  During one stretch of a particular season our Defensive Line was having a particularly difficult time pressuring the QB.  In order to motivate our group one of our coaches printed off an entire thread from RIderfans.com about the individual performance of a couple of our teammates.  The thread was filled with harsh words and unfair proclamations about their work ethic and abilities on the field.  Anyone with a soft exterior would have questioned their talents as a pro ball player with the detailed assertions that some fans were making. 

This collection of comments drew all of our interests at first because we were waiting for the team meeting to start.  After well all read through it, the most productive player in our group took the papers, ripped them up and threw them in the trash.  He then smiled and laughed saying that, “this is what we sign up for!  We’ll LIVE and DIE for each other. That’s all that counts.  Good or bad boys.  It’s just us.”

That thread from one of the more popular fan forums in the league could have said that our Dline group was the greatest of all-time OR it could have stated that we were the worst of all time.  Our attitude needed to be the same at the end of the day.

One does it for his brothers in the locker room in the best of times and during the worst of times.

#ProPerspective

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