Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long returns?

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WestCoastJoe
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Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long returns?

This blog focuses on the coverage for missed field goals.

This is a tough one. Part of the problem I think is the evolution of the game. Teams now see the vulnerability of the kick team if the FG is missed. It is a huge field. Most teams have a burner to make the return on a miss, as on a regular kick return.

The problem with the missed FG is the O Linemen. They just can't run fast enough to get anywhere near the returner. And I don't think teams really practice covering missed Field Goals, at least not enough.

One idea ... I think it would be possible to not have any O Linemen on the field for a FG attempt.

We had Matt Norman, Angus Reid, Ben Archibald, Patrick Kabongo, Jovan Olafioye on the Field Goal team. On a miss, they won't get within spitting distance of the returner. Add in Reilly and McCallum, not exactly linebacker types.

That leaves Lumbala, Henley, Foord, Yurichuk and Smith to corral the runner and make the tackle.

Of those guys, only Yurichuk, Smith and Henley are true defensive players and tacklers.

I would seriously look at not using any of those O Linemen. I would see if it was possible to block well enough with D Linemen. Williams, Smith, Henley, Westerman. (I think Williams and Smith were on the field for the long TD return, but even they lack the speed to corral a burner.)

Sit down Foord and Lumbala. Get Shell, Gesse, Arakgi and LaRose on the team. And Cronk should be the snapper, I would think.

Too radical? Dunno. It needs a radical fix. We totally lack speed on the FG team, in case of a miss. We lack tacklers.

I expect our D Linemen (the Defensive Ends) could block well enough to allow the kick to be made.

If I was Chuck McMann I would be lobbying to replace the O Linemen on the FG team. If we miss a FG, it is a scary thing. We may have gotten complacent because McCallum just never missed last year. This year he is missing, and we can't cover the return.
...........

Kick offs and punt coverage are a different matter, but they need some fixing too.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

Very difficult to prevent WCJ. Teams can help their cause when it comes to punts and kickoffs as they can kick to one side of the field or the other to help cut the field in half for coverage. On FGs you're trying to kick it right down the middle and never know which side of the field the miss will go to until it happens. Coverage doesn't have the benefit of knowing to set up coverage to one side or the other. Also by the time the team gets into FG position the hoggies are a bit tired as usually they've been out there doing their thing for several plays. The issue I'd have with the concept of using DL is they are not used to blocking and they are very much used to using their hands fighting through blocks when rushing. The upside is they'd be fresh and are skilled at covering the field and tackling. The downside I see is you will increase the risk of having attempts blocked or being flagged for holding.

The easiest way to prevent the long returns is be good on the kick. I think in the post game show the talking heads discussed practicing defending missed FGs. Indications were that the Lions do put in some reps working on this but as either Ball or Guilio correctly pointed out they haven't had much opportunity to put that practice to use in games. McCallum missed only 3 FGs last year (1 in the final 16 games). He missed 6 the year before for a total of 9 over the past 36 regular season games. Ball and Caravatta also opined whether McCallum is struggling a bit as he's dealing with both a new long-snapper and holder. The snap on the one that was returned for 6 was high. Reilly pulled it down but that may have been enough to mess up the all important timing.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

I'd be worried about blocks with a DL blocking. Those can come back for 6 in a hurry as well.

Maybe between the 40-50 you do more punting and run your offence in more 3rd and less than 5 situations.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

SK didn't seem to have much trouble covering their MFGs. So what are they doing that we aren't?


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

Tighthead wrote:Maybe between the 40-50 you do more punting and run your offence in more 3rd and less than 5 situations.
More than likely, the long term ramification of having so many missed returns returned is this. Teams become more hesitant to try a field goal attempt beyond 40, and more likely to use a punter to pin their opponent deep. But I guess this behooves a team like ours, at least in theory, with a solid defense. It certainly makes field goal tries beyond the 45 much less likely.

I would also argue that it makes teams less likely to take shots at the end zone from the green zone (the opponent's 20-40 yard line) and to focus instead on getting that extra first down.

As for "teams have trouble stopping it", the last one I remember us running back was at Montreal in 2002. So it doesn't happen that frequently, does it?


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

I've heard of teams having a regular field goal unit, with five O-linemen up front, and a long field goal unit, using more athletic players as blockers and potential downfield tacklers. The Lions don't do that, and I'm not sure about the current practices of other teams. The rub is that long field goals are easier for defenders to block because the ball usually has a lower trajectory. Whoever is blocking for the kicking team has to keep 300-pound defensive linemen from penetrating and getting a hand up.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

I would think a D End like Wiiliams or Smith has the strength to block effectively for a FG. Teach them the technique.

Another thing though is we need some very fast guys out there. Shell. Muamba. Banks. I would say Phillips except ... Ummm ... Not much for tackling. Marsh. Bell or Parker.

If your fastest guys are Yurichuk and Foord, and then Henley, you are in trouble on a miss.

I believe we did get complacent with PMc making so many in a row, and with such a high percentage.

IMO staying status quo on this is head in the sand attitude. In the same context, we need to take a look at regular kick coverage. It is broken. It needs fixing.

Just IMO .... As a fan.


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cromartie
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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

WestCoastJoe wrote: IMO staying status quo on this is head in the sand attitude. In the same context, we need to take a look at regular kick coverage. It is broken. It needs fixing.

Just IMO .... As a fan.
Hey, there are worse problems to have, though, right?


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WestCoastJoe
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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

cromartie wrote:
WestCoastJoe wrote: IMO staying status quo on this is head in the sand attitude. In the same context, we need to take a look at regular kick coverage. It is broken. It needs fixing.

Just IMO .... As a fan.
Hey, there are worse problems to have, though, right?
Worse problems? 129 yard TD return? 10 point swing?

Not sure where where you are coming from on that one, cro.
..........

Hmmmm .... Ahhh ..... Penalties!!!! Is that what you are getting at? LOL

Achhhhh ... We live with them. We complain to the league office. We try to improve officiating by giving it attention. And we don't discuss it with our teams. And if fans want to biotch and moan, I say let 'em.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

Mike Benevides said Sunday that the Lions do in fact have a special field goal unit for long attempts where a runback is possible. It wasn't used on Saturday because the coaches thought the kicks were in McCallum's range.
“You can tweak some personnel, but you can’t tweak all of them,” Benevides said. “We have what we call ‘Bomber field goal’ -- it’s a long field goal attempt in a range where we think it might not be successful. Then we need a different kind of athlete on the cover team. That was not in play Saturday. It was a 40-yard attempt. The way Paul is so good at what he does, it wasn’t a concern.”
Paul has been so automatic in recent years that it's easy to forget that he's human. Sorry, he is and the coaching staff should have prepared accordingly. This one is on the coaches.

Mike Beamish article


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cromartie
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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

WestCoastJoe wrote:
Worse problems? 129 yard TD return? 10 point swing?

Not sure where where you are coming from on that one, cro.
..
Well, for one thing, our starting QB could be done for the year with a screwed up shoulder. Or we could be Winnipeg. Or we could live in Hamilton.

Worse problems.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

Is McKinley available ?


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

MB has to use this special FG unit on all McCallum kicks over 40 yards...it was reckless not to Saturday and we paid for it...so far McCallum hasn't looked comfortable this year, and I think most of that is due to the new snapper and holder...but McCallum is too much the pro to blame them...


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

What about Bighill? From what I've seen, he's got some pretty wicked closing speed.


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Re: Missed Field Goals. How can we prevent those long return

CatsEyes wrote:What about Bighill? From what I've seen, he's got some pretty wicked closing speed.
Bighill was a terror on special teams last year. Time to replace the plodding linemen with regular first string defensive players who can run and tackle. While McCallum is trying to regain his groove, punt the ball instead of trying for field goals.


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