Defensive coordinator Richie Hall is under contract for the 2018 season, but Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea wants to make adjustments to that unit.
“We do need to change what we’re doing on defence. We can’t expect to do same thing and get the results we want. Every player on the defence knows that, understands that, every coach on the defence knows that,” O’Shea said.
“What does that involve and entail? We’re not even close to figuring that out yet. We have to sit down and watch all the film again and have good discussions about why things happen the way they do.”
Winnipeg allowed the most offensive points (478) and offensive touchdowns (51) among West Division teams, Hamilton and Montreal gave up more in both categories. Opponent passing touchdowns (33) ranked tied for last in the league. But it was the yardage total that was concerning above all else.
“It’s two years of giving up a lot of yards, but it’s also two years of over 100 takeaways. And it’s a year where we by far led the league in points off takeaways, our offence benefits from that also. We can’t hide the fact that we gave up a lot of yards and we have to minimize that in order for us to win a championship, no doubt, everybody knows that,” O’Shea said.
“But there are things that our defence does that are excellent, so we have to figure out a way to combine those good things and not give up the yards that we give up.”
The Bombers were one of two teams to allowed over 7,000 yards of offence in 2017, the Alouettes being the other. Despite the gaudy total Winnipeg came away with 42 turnovers, second in the CFL, 25 of them interceptions to lead all teams, and scored 166 points from the pilfers to pace the league.
“I have to look back in the stats to find a team that two years in a row took away 100 balls, provided opportunities like we do over the past few years for our offence. Scoring, I think we scored seven times ourselves and had one to the one-yard line. Those things are pretty positive. We increased our number of pressures, we did really well getting pressure on the quarterback I thought this year. Do we need to be better at it? Absolutely,” O’Shea said.
116 pressures were recorded which ranked third in the three-down circuit. However, Winnipeg allowed the most passing yards league-wide with 5,788.
“But the one elephant in the room is the yardage given up. I thought also that there were some missed opportunities we had for takeaways that obviously stopped some yardage and stopped some points. I gotta look at what that added up to, how many yards that is, how many points that is, if we would’ve capitalized like we did the year before with an ungodly number of takeaways. We were still pretty damn good and most teams would be pretty happy, we finished second in the league with 42,” O’Shea said.
“I’m not trying to cover up the fact that we gave up a lot of yards, but I’m not throwing it all out. There’s a way to maximize our takeaways and our pressures and minimize the yards that we give up.”
It seems as though the Bombers defence, and by extension Hall, are in for a thorough review.