Thursday, July 18, 2013


Fair warning to kind readers. 

This is voluminous. The equivalent of the entire Dick and Jane reader series with an extra measure of the "Funny Little Monkey". So pour yerself a tall one and put on yer feet up. Or not. Up to you.

Scheme, scheme, scheme. 

Offensive scheme has factored MASSIVE in the Rider's success so far.

The CFL game constantly evolves. At present, defences offer the challenge of speed and slight of hand-esque illusion. Now ya see it; now ya don't. Spaces appear then close quickly. Pressure and pursuit can seem relentless.

One way to wipe the board clean, is-- add an extra big body and maneuver the less fleet-a-foot receivers-- into the box--  employ them as blockers, then slug it out in a phone booth.

In a phone booth, speed looses it's advantage and slight of hand illusions are limited. That and size IS a virtue. 

*Mileage may vary depending on the operator. 

Is a phone booth even a real thing anymore?

Three games outta the chute and the way Cortez has utilized the strengths of the offensive personnel has been impressive. Nothing new under the sun. But his grasp of the subtlest layers of CFL realities and the extent to which he has it organized-- is big, big fun to behold.

The offensive structure has many, many layers, each with it's own-- off branch myriad possibilities. Limited only by personnel, injuries and what can be polished up.

The Hogs love it! 

In it's current mode, it's a very "O-Line friendly" operation. Just enough unpredictability to keep defences on their heels a little. Attacks and puts pressure on the defensive ends causing pause for thought. A welcome event when balancing the narrow OT high beam. 

These two consecutive snaps provide a perfect example.

One of the CFL's quirks; due to roster size, salary scale, limited practice time, etc.; is asking a non-import to be a football player and execute an atypical assignment outside the scope of their previous skill set. Especially, when they lack the-- football fundamentals-- prior training. 

In the NFL, a similar situation would result in hard core execution and performance. 

The CFL's quirky reality can result in more of a "smoke and mirror show". Or, in this instance, it seems, we might call George-- "The Man With The Yellow Hat".

All that matters-- does it work?

This is an inside zone run. 

A universally common, add on, is to use an H-Back to seal an edge. In this example Cortez motions #89 in the box for the same effect.

RT & RG combo the 3 tech to the M. 

C & RG combo the 1 tech to the W. RT kick out. 

RB presses to aiming point-- inside foot of RT.  Read 2nd level defenders reaction to the aiming point for the crease. 

(confused about RT, RG, M, 3 tech? etc?....who's who in Hinterland? Why not contact the Canadian WIldlife Service in Ottawa? Or you can refer to )

Scheme wise, looks like this has a chance to be a great play. RB makes a nice read based on Red LB's reaction and position of Green bodies.

Example of continued improvement required from #65.  Not a very good job of footwork and fitting up with Best. Different foot pattern from playing guard. 

Arrows point to #89's feet and elbow. Not much chance of gettin' anyone blocked,  no matter the size, with feet and upper body organized like that.

Red #93 does a great job. Good pad level, leverage, swivels his hips and rips up through the crack in the plane of the dozer blade, cork screws it and knocks Best off his track to the 2nd level. Blows up the combo block and keeps his M clean and free to make the play. 

One of those-- he gets paid too-- kinda deals.


Sheets recognizes he's in for serious flack, secures the ball, drops his shoulders keeps the wheels churnin' and HITS IT.

Great scheme vs the defensive design and a great job by Sheets. Despite 3 busts, still goes for 8 yds.

Next snap, George follows up with the next play in the  series progression-- play action. 2nd & 2.... Nice!

Also changes up personnel to introduce a key breaker.

Same play, except George calls play action pass off of it. H-back appears from a different position. The last play the Rush End had a body fly at him. (they hate that) Even though Red has a personnel substitution at Rush-- fire for effect-- doesn't matter to future opponents etc.

Get a skill player the ball with that much space-- can't ask for much more than that, can ya?

Two consecutive productive plays. Scheme vs defensive structure and nicely timed play calls.

The next two plays shed light on a CRITICAL CFL CONCEPT to grasp.

Whatever the defensive structure, the contain player who has responsibility for the QB has the extreme challenge. He has to account for the QB but he must also be productive defending the run. If he overplays it-- one way or the other the system is compromised.

Blue #28 (yellow 7) is that guy in this Blue scheme. 

Right now DD can't pull the ball. Too late. He knows the play is doomed barring a Sheets miracle based on Blue #28's commitment to the run.

Circle indicates smoke and mirrors only take ya, so far. Sheets presses it up to aiming point. No 1st level movement, no crease, he tries the 3rd read to bend it back weak side. Blue #28 is the extra unblocked defender. 

Footnote: A certain TSN celebrity expert calls this, "the Sheets shuffle". It's a read step progression, typical to many RB's who've been coached up to execute the zone run. Sheets does it very well. Intend to address this in the future, but Suiter's description-- "is a pile of happy horseshit".

Blue #28 over defending the run threat and not honouring the QB responsibility. What happens next?

Cortez logs the data for future reference. Have a look at a critical snap in the following series.

Blue #28 reflects #89's motion into the box.  

Circle in the box shows the hand signal from Blue #28 to #90 swapping run contain responsibility. #28 remains responsible for the QB but is now aligned cheating to defend the run. 

Green #89 maneuvered into the box forces defensive adjustment which provides opportunity based on the foiled zone run in the previous series.

Who will win THIS chess match?


Excellent job by Durant of reading the opportunity based on Blue #28 and #90's movement.

The Hogs execute weak side inside zone run assignments. Best, Picard and Labatte have Blue #96, #45 & #6. 

Blue #96 does a terrific job of engulfing Picard stuffing the gap and allowing Best little opportunity to get a piece of his cylinder to assist Picard. 

By defensive design and #96's effort this is going to be a tuff go. 

Note the veteran savvy Labatte exhibits-- maintaining body control allowing for Blue #45 & #6 to commit movement in reaction to Sheets pressing to the aiming point.

Like the man once said, "the best way to avoid a punch-- is to not be there"

DD did the math in particular reading Blue #27 & #90 and pulls the ball from Sheets. Certain, George and DD discussed this probability, prior to the taking the field for this series, based on it getting stuffed the previous possession .
Scheme, scheme, the subtle layered nuances of George's scheme. 

Maneuvering circled #89 with this assignment put #28 in a bind. However, with a great read and reaction to the QB pulling the ball and with athletic ability he'll reduce the margin. How much of an detour, even if a smoke and mirror one, will George's scheme cause and create space and time for DD to either run it or throw.

Please now, switch text books-- from arithmetic to geometry. Blue #28 now has a pylon placed in the pursuit path. 

Worth a hypothetical moment right now. With Blue #28 removed as an immediate threat. What if Sheets had the ball? Even with Blue #96 crushing his gap and gaining penetration, with Sheets ability to escape an arm and the Green big bodies-- hat on hat with the Blue smaller bodies some nice creases there.

Non-hypothetically speaking, the circle reveals a potential fly in the scheme's ointment. 

Called upon to be a football player, nothing good can come from #89's body position. The Society's concern is-- injury to #89 or one of his team mates. Out of control, air borne bodies,  create chaos and the chance of catastrophy.

Quite a display of athleticism by Blue #28 to get from where he was to where he is now.

Doubles buys just enough time by getting depth and seizing geometric advantage.

Can Willy do the same?

To have an effective run game, the QB must be capable of making the read and pulling the ball from the RB when the Defence shows an over commit to defend the run.

In this example, it's a touchdown.

Excellent execution by Doubles and Bagg. Should show how fractional the margins between hero and zero are.

Hope DD haters have a good long gander, at just how awesome that was.

On a somewhat sobering note:
Observe the circle to the left. This was a fraction, of a nano- second, away from X's left knee getting blown up. The Society gives thanks and praises to "The Football Gods" and to X's Uber athletic reflex instinct.      

Gonna be a truly big, big good time-- bearing witness-- to the further evolution of George's, "Smoke and Mirrors-- Add On-- Show". 

Darn good thing #89 can catch the ball and score touchdowns. 
Find great comfort knowing it's Cortez, behind the curtain, mastering the multi-coloured galaxy of flashing lights and switches.     

Stay safe out there Riders!

1 comment:

  1. Great analysis as usual. I certainly hope a lot of people are learning they have a lot to learn. Love your comment about the "DD haters." People who constantly criticize players are known as haters by many players. Funny how people criticize constantly but get their back up at being called haters. Personally I'm just a fan. Thanks Elmer. DJR
    PS. It continually amazes me to see the complexity of the game.