Thursday, July 3, 2008

Reflections on the previous game

Now that a sufficient amount of time has passed since last week's debacle, I think it is time to reflect a bit. First looking at Printer's stats from last week is a small positive, 15 for 21 (71% completion) for 203 yards. That completion ratio is a big improvement over the Maass era (who had a 59.8 % last year), plus an average of 13.5 yards per completion. Again that is an improvement over the Maass era, where short passes short of the first down marker were the norm. One can argue that as the game got out of hand, the Cats were forced to pass, pumping up the stats, however the completion percentage is still high. One would expect that to go down as desperate passes are attempted.

The Ticats poor performance really stemmed from their problems offensively in the first half. Especially in the first quarter, a dropped pass, a fumble and a failed third down gamble really limited the number of offensive plays that were run. This was partially the offence's fault, however the defence didn't help here either. There were numerous times where the defence had Montreal 2nd and long and failed to stop them. If they had managed to stop them, the Cats offence would have had more chances to get going in the first half, possibly win the battle for field position and keep the game closer. This would have also have allowed for more running from Lumsden in the second half (who only had nine carries for 36 yards). I doubt the Cats would have won, however the game would have been more respectable. If your team can't stop 2nd and long, there's no way you are going to win.

Cavillo played a great game, however it is important to remember that Cavillo will soon be 35. Looking over the rest of the season, it is unlikely that Cavillo won't get injured for a period of time, coinciding with a slew of Montreal losses. Montreal is facing a McManus type situation this year. I'm betting the Cats still have a chance to catch them for third place (although the crossover probably takes the playoff spot).

Finally, third and one. The Cats turned the ball over on downs on a key third down in the first half, on a bungled run play to Lumsden, when the ball was in easy sneak range. If the Cats are going to have any chance to win this year, they will have to be automatic on third and one. Printers is a big guy, so there is no reason not to sneak. This needs to be drilled in practice, so there's no doubt. I like gutsy third and one calls, but the Cats can't afford to fail. Not this year, not with this team.

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