The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' dreadful defensive performance Friday night can be viewed by fans as a good news-bad news situation.
The good news: The loss of defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust wasn't the reason the Bombers lost 41-39 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The bad news: The players had terrible technique, and that's why they got torched time and time again.
"It doesn't matter what you call if you don't play it right," head coach Jim Daley said yesterday.
Rust isn't coming back, but the players can fix their problems, so Daley is viewing the situation as a glass being half full.
The defence got together Saturday afternoon to watch the horror movie, also known as Friday's game film, and had a constructive session, Daley said.
They went over every play and made sure everyone understood what was called and the terminology that goes with it.
They watched Hamilton quarterback Danny McManus, who got absolutely no heat from the Bombers front seven, throw two touchdown passes that went for more than 70 yards, including a 72-yarder on the first play from scrimmage that set the tone.
Blue cornerback William Fields bit on D.J. Flick's under route, which meant when the Ticats receiver bolted for the end zone, Fields was behind him and in big trouble.
That has nothing to do with the defensive call the coaches made, according to Daley.
"When you're in a deep zone and you jump an under route, you're going to get a touchdown scored on you," he said. "We haven't had that problem all year."
Daley, as usual, didn't refer to Fields by name yesterday in an effort to protect him, but he described the footwork of his cornerback on that play as "awful."
Then he praised the anonymous defensive back, who leads the team with four interceptions this season.
"He has good technique," Daley said. "He's been a great DB for us."
Blue Bombers dime back Boyd Barrett suffered a similar fate when Craig Yeast had a 75-yard touchdown reception later in the first quarter.
Daley said the defence just didn't perform its duties correctly. It's as simple as that.
"On the first play of the game, a call we've played 100 times and a call that very likely would've been called if Rod was calling it, with the technique applied would've had the same result," he said. "It's not complex."
There were a few instances Friday night where members of the defence weren't on the same page, but Daley said that happens to every team many times throughout the season.
That's why he had the session on Saturday: to iron out the wrinkles that have developed after 10 games.
"They understood the calls," Daley said. "Sometimes they didn't understand how you're going to play something differently within the call. And that's not unusual.
"A linebacker and a DB might have a different understanding of how far (to) carry a route and all that stuff. So that sometimes needs addressing during a season.
"... It was a great session. The players, and I spoke to several, they all thought it was very important, very good."