CFL defences too fast for offences?

The August long weekend has three games on the radar and my fervent hope is that offence is back from summer vacation.

The August long weekend has three games on the radar and my fervent hope is that offence is back from summer vacation.

One of the traditional strong suits of the CFL has always been lots of offence on a big field, but that element of the game has been missing and presumed bound for a milk carton in the early season.

CFL defences have gotten lighter and faster over the past few years as an adaptation to the speed of the game on a big field. Many of the outside linebackers are former defensive backs who are lucky to push 200 pounds on the scales. These guys can flat-out fly in cover schemes and are nimble enough to avoid annihilation by 300-pound linemen in blitz schemes.

Extra pressure comes from lighter and faster rush ends in the CFL.

These guys have more real estate in our league to avoid constant trench wars with the big offensive tackles who probably have at least 50 pounds on the defensive ends. It’s a little like trying to win a scrap with an older brother when you’re 10 and he’s 15. That’s when you learn the importance of foot speed.

The lesson was not lost on CFL defensive co-ordinators.

The downside to undersized defences appears when an offence starts to dominate the line of scrimmage and establishes a run game against the small guys. Size matters when a giant O-line smacks around the little defensive guys like bullies on a playground. The net result is a generous amount of fun for both the bullies and O-linemen, some of whom may have apprenticed as playground bullies.

The weekend games include a couple of early season grudge matches as B.C. travels to Hamilton and Winnipeg goes to Toronto.

I doubt whether B.C. is too happy these days after a humiliating loss to the Stampeders and an earlier loss to the Ticats, but is there much that they can do about their current situation? I think the correct answer is no because the Lions have slept through many nights already on the football field.

Toronto will be a stingy host for the hapless Bombers on Saturday.

Toronto is a pretty strong defensive team and the prospect of another game against Winnipeg must have the Argos thinking player of the week honours. The fact that Michael Bishop figures in the Bomber offensive scheme is solid proof that there is life after a clinically dead football career that should never have been resuscitated.

I guess that it doesn’t really matter that Bishop doesn’t know the Bomber playbook — he has never really learned any team’s playbook.

Last but certainly not least, the Roughriders will visit Cowtown and meet the rapidly improving Stampeders. The Stamps have turned into killers on defence with pressure from rush end Odell Willis and assassins like Brandon Browner in the secondary.

Joffrey Reynolds is a monster in the run game behind a solid O-line that likes to whack defences while they open up run lanes.

The ’Riders have a pop gun offence and the worst run defence in the league. This appears to be the biggest mismatch of the weekend. It isn’t — the ’Riders are better than their record and the Stamps are not. ’Riders win this one.

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose CFL column appears Tuesdays and Fridays in the Advocate. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Select Alberta physicians to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine next week

Some Alberta physicians will now be offering the COVID-19 vaccine. In an… Continue reading

An example of zero lot line properties. Red Deer County council approved rezoning to allow zero lot line properties on three streets in Springbrook.
Photo from Red Deer County
Narrower house lots being tested in Springbrook to improve affordability

Zero lot line homes will be built on three streets in Springbrook

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair listens to a speaker during a news conference Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Red Deer part of project to support victims of human trafficking

Federal government sends $500k over next four to Alberta-based project

Mayzie the Canada goose is back nesting in a flower pot on a backyard balcony in Anders on the Lake. (Contributed)
Canada goose is back nesting on Red Deer balcony

Third year in a row geese return

FILE - Conor McGregor poses during a ceremonial weigh-in for the UFC 246 mixed martial arts bout in Las Vegas, in this Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, file photo. The UFC intends to welcome a capacity crowd at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021, when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor fight for the third time. UFC President Dana White announced his plan Wednesday, April 14, 2021, for the promotion's first sellout show in its hometown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
UFC plans full Vegas crowd in July at Poirier-McGregor fight

The UFC intends to welcome a capacity crowd at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile… Continue reading

Juno Awards signage hangs in downtown Saskatoon on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Organizers of the Juno Awards say they've postponed this year's 50th-anniversary celebration until June 6 "out of an abundance of caution in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith
Juno Awards postpone 50th anniversary show date to June 6 amid COVID-19 pandemic

TORONTO — Organizers of the Juno Awards say they’re postponing this year’s… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna rises in the House of Commons following Question Period Monday March 22, 2021 in Ottawa. McKenna is announcing a $1.5-billion program designed to spur green building through retrofits, upgrades and new construction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal government unveils $1.5-billion plan to boost green building

OTTAWA — Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna has announced a $1.5-billion program designed… Continue reading

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
AstraZeneca very safe, effective, with extremely rare risk of clots: Health Canada

OTTAWA — There is enough evidence to say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may… Continue reading

Demonstrators take cover from crowd-dispersal munitions from police outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department while protesting the shooting death of Daunte Wright, late Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Minnesota cop will be charged in shooting of Black motorist

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A prosecutor said Wednesday that he will charge… Continue reading

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday April 21, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Housing advocates eye federal budget for aid to urban Indigenous providers

OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals have told stakeholders in the affordable-housing sector… Continue reading

Two women lay flowers outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died Friday April 9 aged 99. His funeral service will take place on Saturday at Windsor Castle. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Queen returns to royal duties after death of Prince Philip

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II has returned to royal duties, four days… Continue reading

The mobile phone icon for the Coinbase app is shown in this photo, in New York, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Coinbase is going public at a time when chatter about cryptocurrencies is everywhere, even at the United States Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Coinbase soars in market debut, valued near $100 billion

Coinbase made a rousing debut on Wall Street Wednesday, with the digital… Continue reading

Most Read