Thursday, December 1, 2016
ETCH'S & O'S: GREY CUP REVIEW
How Did Ottawa Win This Game?
To begin with, they were a lot more balanced across the board. Calgary is so QB-centric with John Hufnagel, Dave Dickenson, Ryan Dinwiddie, Marc Mueller and even Offensive Line coach Pat DelMonaco who coached QBs at a Junior College before he came to Canada.
They're just so QB-centric and the soul of the Calgary Stampeders is about the quarterback position. That's hard to win when it gets competitive that way, although the majority of the numbers of the league point in that direction.
But Ottawa's not.
That starts with their Head Coach Rick Campbell - who's coached on offense - but also on defense and special teams. I said from the beginning of the season they had among the most-qualified offensive coaches in the league. It was a significant step up at Offensive Coordinator (Jaime Elizondo) from what they had last year, even if the narrative about Jason Maas was what it was.
Ottawa's offense skewered a Calgary defense Sunday night that really hadn't been tested the entire season. That's really, to me, how I saw the game unfolded.
I don't think I sat down at one point during this game. It was such a great game from start-to-finish. I was really happy for this brand of football to be on display.
HOW DID OTTAWA'S DEFENSE CROSS UP BO-LEVI MITCHELL?
It seemed to me that they wanted to take away the running game which isn't a new strategy but it's harder said than done. But you don't have to do it against a team like Calgary because if you really don't want to run the football, if you are schematically able to stop them running early and get a lead, a team like Calgary really doesn't want to run the football.
They then have a built-in alibi of, "We were behind so we couldn't run the football."
And there was just a little frustration.
My one pet peeve in this business is being "Too Cool For School" and Bo-Levi is a little bit of that.
This was his third season of starting but to me, it was pretty simple. The old wily veteran Henry Burris - no matter what you want to say about him - clearly outperformed Bo-Levi Mitchell in the biggest game of their careers to date.
WHAT'S THE DEFENSE THINKING WHEN CGY IS 2ND-AND-GOAL FROM THE 2 WITH 40 SECONDS TO GO?
Number 1 they're looking at the personnel. So when they bring in their QB Sneak personnel group like they did, I don't have the data, but all season they went with Andrew Buckley or Drew Tate in those situations.
The problem was that the football was on the 2-yard line, and not the 1.
That's a significant thing and it's why Jeffrey Orridge should employ me to make the game better; I've been saying it for ten years: The rule is you can't scrimmage from inside the 1-yard line. Even if you get within four inches of the goalline, they spot the ball back at the 1.
I think the game would be better if you fundamentally always brought the ball back to the 2-yard line instead of the 1 because that would takeaway QB sneaks. That would make it a better game.
People would want to argue with me on that, but they want to argue with me about damn near everything.
To bring in that personnel group that Calgary did, Ottawa might've been surprised but they put in matching personnel. What Calgary's done in those situations dating back to 2008 when Hufnagel came back to the CFL has been a very good thing. The way the rule is now, it's virtually impossible for defenses to stop a QB sneak, but the ball was clearly outside the 1-yard line in this case.
Ottawa probably felt pretty good once Calgary brought that personnel in. The Stamps did something unusual, running a Pass-Run option to the QB's right, but Ottawa got just enough pressure to trip him up and the rest is history.
That was a curious call and that's aside from the personnel that you're asking to win the game.
SHOULD DICKENSON BE CRITICIZED FOR THAT CALL?
The numbers would tell you they were successful if it was a yard or less but they weren't successful in the Grey Cup. I don't know how many times they employed that personnel if it was more than one yard, which was the case here. It's totally different.
If Calgary claims they'd done that all year, it's not accurate at all.
You can complain about them using Buckley versus Drew Tate or Bo-Levi, but the biggest issue is that it was more than a yard. Clearly it was and you'll see that type of group deployed very, very rarely.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE GAME
From what little I've heard about the TV ratings, it's sad if they were down 10% from last year and also the Grey Cup Week should be a lot better attended and marketed.
That's the biggest issue facing the CFL: how do you get people to watch, to consider, a clearly better brand of football like the CFL is?
It's too bad because I'm sure in the long history of this great league, there's been other great games but they'd be hard-pressed to find a better game than this one.
It was fantastic in every way.
And in the end, the Offensive Coordinator for Ottawa, Jaime Elizondo, prevailed in this game.
I'll see ya when I see ya!