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Author Topic: Why do we think that scouting is the Bombers problem?  (Read 896 times)
Cool Spot
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« on: January 07, 2019, 11:49:24 PM »

This is something I see come up regularly in these forums - It's some version of The Bombers need to develop better scouting and find better players.

The sentiment behind this seems to be that other teams regularly (or semi-regularly) find hidden gems of players who are great in college, and overlooked by other scouts. The Bombers should be going out to these colleges (presumably in the United States?) and snapping up this talent before other teams can find them. By doing this, the Bombers can get an edge over other teams.

I don't really understand this and how it relates to modern times. This may have been true up till and including the 1980's and maybe the 1990's. But today, everyone who's anyone has access to more-or-less the same information. This is because all college players who are serious about their career already has all their stats inventoried for discovery somewhere on the web, and they all have their videos up on YouTube or Vimeo or some other site. Maybe 25 years ago these players weren't discoverable, but today they would be.

And if everyone has access to the same information, then how can better scouting be the solution? The scouts would all find (more or less) the same hidden gems. But all you have to do is watch the same videos and the same information sheets as all the other scouts.

Isn't this a recruitment problem? Don't the Bombers have to convince these hidden gems (aka, undiscovered talent) to come to Winnipeg above all other places? Or, is there something about the business of scouting that I don't understand?
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GCn18
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 01:10:40 AM »

Finding players AND securing their rights or getting them signed is recruitment. Sure all the same info is available to all but having info and using it well are two different things.
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66 Chevelle
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 02:12:44 AM »

I think it goes without saying that the role and expectations of scouting has changed over the years as we have moved into a modern era of overwhelming volumes of resources available at your fingertips or from your couch. Identifying talent in and of itself is simple, there are some many entities out there online or on cable television that compiling a list of talented athletes as well as ranking them by position in almost real time can be done by almost anyone. So, for me, the question is what is your expectation of what a scout should be doing. If it's providing management with a list of the best talent available, you or I could be a scout, as long as were we able to read and had access to the internet.

For sure scouting has changed over the years as the world has gotten a lot smaller due to technology, there are very few 'hidden gems' to be found. Also, because of all of information and the size of the pool of available players, organizations have gone to establishing criteria, or matrix, to evaluate potential talent, such as height, weight, 40 time, 3 cone, etc., to manage the pool. Scouting reports are plentiful and accessible by almost anyone.

For us old timers, scouting is/was viewed as much as an art as it was a science. Successful scouts understood every division, league, conference, school, etc and what each was strong in, what the competition was like, what type of players were there, and wasn't always misled by box scores or stats, or lack there of. And you had to know these these right then, because most player talent is directly related to supporting cast of players around them. Scout developed relationships with schools and coaches and would routinely get calls from them saying 'you need to see this guy'.  Good scouts wouldn't be misled by gaudy stats, they would be less influenced by numbers than they were with mechanics and technique.  The goal was finding those overlooked guys that make the fans say 'where did they find this guy'...

Scouts looked for the guy that played bigger than his physical attributes, Lewis Welker types, or, played faster than their 40 time at game time, finding great potential hidden in bad programs, or players that they felt could blossom under the right/better coaching, and or, would fit and excel in your organization...

Times have changed and sports have become big money. Decisions are based upon need and availability of funds. It's hard to blame scouting as the sole responsibility for the level of talent within an organization because who the organization brings in is a management based upon multiple factors. Players are cut for reasons other than talent/potential alone, so, to blame scouting as the route of all evil is a bit short sighted. Not to mention, unless we know what the scouts are charged with doing, (i.e. types of players to be looking for), or who the scouts presented to the team for consideration, it's hard to say that they haven't found players.

There were several players this year that were cut or not given playing time that several members here watched in training camp and thought showed great promise. Why did these guys not make the team? Several things could be factored in, like, managements decision of area of need, money available, assessment of veteran talent, players attitude, work ethic, offensive or defensive scheme and how a player fits in, who gives us the best chance to win today, etc.

Within the the CFL there are other contributing factors, such as the Negotiation List. Sometimes a player isn't available to you because someone else has them on their list. Management controls this list, not the scouts, and we don't know that names are submitted to management that they elect not to add to the list. Sports are so money driven today that potential players have a lot of outside influences as well, such as player agents, family, responsibilities, etc. Teams have to make decisions based upon who they believe are players that may be available to them, sometimes you win, sometime you lose.

Lastly, we all know that just because a player excelled at lower levels of play, that may not translate at the next level, or, within your organizations style of play or scheme philosophy. Teams can misuse talent, or not play players for any number of reasons or situations, a player may not be given enough time to adapt to the CFL style of play or develop trust or chemistry with current players within the organization, etc. Receivers are especially difficult, in my opinion, due to their success is largely dependent upon offensive scheme and their relationship with the QB. QB's look to throw to people that they trust and have chemistry with, this can take time to establish so if you're not getting throws, or limited throws, it's hard to make an impact. I'm not blaming this on the QB it's just human nature. If you have a guy that comes out and has trouble running routes or has a unacceptable number of drops, QB1 isn't going to be looking your way as often. We saw the opposite this year with the acquisition of Bighill, injecting him into the defense had opposing teams focusing on him allowing others to shine, such as Santos-Knox. 

So, long story long, lol, I thinks it's short sighted to say that our scouts aren't finding talented players and lay blame solely at their feet... but I could be wrong, lol...
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66 Chevelle
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 02:17:34 AM »

Finding players AND securing their rights or getting them signed is recruitment. Sure all the same info is available to all but having info and using it well are two different things.

if so, this extends scouting responsibilities to those in the front office and coaches as well, not just the scouts, as they are the ones that invite players to camps, pursue contractual agreements with, or decide to cut...
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GCn18
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 12:17:02 PM »

if so, this extends scouting responsibilities to those in the front office and coaches as well, not just the scouts, as they are the ones that invite players to camps, pursue contractual agreements with, or decide to cut...

The CFL works quite differently than the NFL in regards to scouting. Scouts are active in recruitment, as well as identifying talent in the CFL. A LOT of a scouts job in the CFL is to actively recruit what they identify as blue chip prospects and are often authorized to place players directly onto the neg list once they have identified mutual interest. Danny McManus and Ted Goveia, for instance, are our AGMs and actively scout. They have the authorization to sign players to contracts. Ideally you want to give the GM and coaching staff a chance to discuss and review any potential signings but if there are other teams sniffing around you may miss out. Rarely do we sign players simply off the strength of their game film. Our scouts go out and work the players they identify and then discuss whether there is any true mutual interest as well as doing some background checks. In that regard, each scout is different. That is why you will see a team like the Riders bringing in ultra talented players that are of suspect character. John Murphy and Chris Jones value talent above all. whereas the Bombers take a different approach and place much more value on character and will pass on troubled players.

Point is our scouts do not solely investigate talent. They do the due diligence that the GM/AGM would normally do because unlike the NFL there is no time or money to waste for a CFL club. Scouts are much more empowered here.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 12:19:30 PM by GCn18 » Logged

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blue_gold_84
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 01:12:01 PM »

I would think this regime's track record speaks for itself as far as talent scouting in the US goes. Receiver and DB in particular have been extremely weak.
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blue_or_die
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 01:53:35 PM »

This is something I see come up regularly in these forums - It's some version of The Bombers need to develop better scouting and find better players.

The sentiment behind this seems to be that other teams regularly (or semi-regularly) find hidden gems of players who are great in college, and overlooked by other scouts. The Bombers should be going out to these colleges (presumably in the United States?) and snapping up this talent before other teams can find them. By doing this, the Bombers can get an edge over other teams.

I don't really understand this and how it relates to modern times. This may have been true up till and including the 1980's and maybe the 1990's. But today, everyone who's anyone has access to more-or-less the same information. This is because all college players who are serious about their career already has all their stats inventoried for discovery somewhere on the web, and they all have their videos up on YouTube or Vimeo or some other site. Maybe 25 years ago these players weren't discoverable, but today they would be.

And if everyone has access to the same information, then how can better scouting be the solution? The scouts would all find (more or less) the same hidden gems. But all you have to do is watch the same videos and the same information sheets as all the other scouts.

Isn't this a recruitment problem? Don't the Bombers have to convince these hidden gems (aka, undiscovered talent) to come to Winnipeg above all other places? Or, is there something about the business of scouting that I don't understand?

It's not as simple as seeing a great highlight reel in order to determine a player would be good in the CFL. Talented scouts (in every sport) analyze everything about this information and use it to create a conclusion and risk assessment about the player, how they will adapt to the professional level, how much of their play is attributed to the players and level of competition around them, etc.

Good scouts will look at tape of a player who may look entirely average but see them doing things that would be exceptional on their team, in their league, and take a risk getting them signed. That formula will unearth the gems from time to time.

If our scouts are simply looking at good players' highlight reels and determining that they're good...well, maybe that's our problem!
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Throw Long Bannatyne
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 04:30:55 PM »

I would think this regime's track record speaks for itself as far as talent scouting in the US goes. Receiver and DB in particular have been extremely weak.

I agree with you regarding receivers but I don't see a problem with the quality of the DB's they've brought in over time, Leggett, Johnny Adams, Loffler, Fogg, Alexander, Sayles, even Brian Walker wasn't half bad.  They've added some good F.A.'s in Fenner and Gaitor recently and have some decent Natl. backups in Jones, Conteh and Morgan.  I think the bone to pick is how the talent has been employed within Richie Hall's system.
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kkc60
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 04:42:28 PM »

This is something I see come up regularly in these forums - It's some version of The Bombers need to develop better scouting and find better players.

The sentiment behind this seems to be that other teams regularly (or semi-regularly) find hidden gems of players who are great in college, and overlooked by other scouts. The Bombers should be going out to these colleges (presumably in the United States?) and snapping up this talent before other teams can find them. By doing this, the Bombers can get an edge over other teams.

I don't really understand this and how it relates to modern times. This may have been true up till and including the 1980's and maybe the 1990's. But today, everyone who's anyone has access to more-or-less the same information. This is because all college players who are serious about their career already has all their stats inventoried for discovery somewhere on the web, and they all have their videos up on YouTube or Vimeo or some other site. Maybe 25 years ago these players weren't discoverable, but today they would be.

And if everyone has access to the same information, then how can better scouting be the solution? The scouts would all find (more or less) the same hidden gems. But all you have to do is watch the same videos and the same information sheets as all the other scouts.

Isn't this a recruitment problem? Don't the Bombers have to convince these hidden gems (aka, undiscovered talent) to come to Winnipeg above all other places? Or, is there something about the business of scouting that I don't understand?
A big part of it it negotiation list guys. One team gets a guy there before we do. Another part of it is just plain and simple we aren't getting rookies to fill many positions of need, especially positions we need help with such as receiver and, pre-Biggie, MLB. We have relied on FA a TON. I'd argue more than most teams.
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GCn18
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 04:44:22 PM »

One of the things just about every scout in the CFL has told us is that when they go to the CFL combine the interview is the most important factor to them. The scouts and management are more interested in what they say there, than what they do. Some guys like Lemar Durant fell drastically in the draft because they gave poor interviews during combine week. Now, Durant turned out to be a very good player and team guy but he just about screwed it up with his combine interview.
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Blue In BC
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 05:13:28 PM »

I agree with you regarding receivers but I don't see a problem with the quality of the DB's they've brought in over time, Leggett, Johnny Adams, Loffler, Fogg, Alexander, Sayles, even Brian Walker wasn't half bad.  They've added some good F.A.'s in Fenner and Gaitor recently and have some decent Natl. backups in Jones, Conteh and Morgan.  I think the bone to pick is how the talent has been employed within Richie Hall's system.

Alexander and Sayles were great additions but that's it over the last 3 years. Walker wasn't good enough to keep and Fogg has been a liability as a starting DB. He was also here for year 3 in 2018 before he really became the full time starter. And that was the best we could achieve?

Loffler was an excellent choice to draft but we're talking about import acquisitions through scouting.

Fenner and Gaitor don't fall into that equation of finding young talented, low cost unknown's like Alexander or Sayles.

So. Once again we're really down to 2 very good import DB's added in the last 3 or 4 seasons.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 05:16:49 PM by Blue In BC » Logged

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Throw Long Bannatyne
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 05:17:32 PM »

A big part of it it negotiation list guys. One team gets a guy there before we do. Another part of it is just plain and simple we aren't getting rookies to fill many positions of need, especially positions we need help with such as receiver and, pre-Biggie, MLB. We have relied on FA a TON. I'd argue more than most teams.

With the dominance of short term contracts the last few years the CFL axis has shifted and it's essential that GM's embrace the concept and participate vigorously in the F.A. market to replace player losses.  Some teams like CGY and EDM. may have resisted up till now, but I'm guessing that will change shortly.  New players will be harder to recruit with the competition of the new leagues on the horizon, I expect there will plenty of recycling CFL vets going on across the league this season.
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Throw Long Bannatyne
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 05:22:58 PM »

Alexander and Sayles were great additions but that's it over the last 3 years. Walker wasn't good enough to keep and Fogg has been a liability as a starting DB. He was also here for year 3 in 2018 before he really became the full time starter. And that was the best we could achieve?

Loffler was an excellent choice to draft but we're talking about import acquisitions through scouting.

Fenner and Gaitor don't fall into that equation of finding young talented, low cost unknown's like Alexander or Sayles.

So. Once again we're really down to 2 very good import DB's added in the last 3 or 4 seasons.

You absolutely can't discount Fogg's contribution to the team over the last 3 years, just look at the stats. he's put up.  I agree he's been hot or cold as a DB but that doesn't make him a bad recruit.  Loffler was scouted first, drafted second, so he counts.
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Blue In BC
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 05:39:09 PM »

You absolutely can't discount Fogg's contribution to the team over the last 3 years, just look at the stats. he's put up.  I agree he's been hot or cold as a DB but that doesn't make him a bad recruit.  Loffler was scouted first, drafted second, so he counts.

Fogg has made some great plays and some really bad plays. As a starter he's still a liability so that goes to poor recruitment. I'll take consistent and average over hot and cold.

It wasn't hard to recruit and draft Loffler. If you read back to before that year's draft I said he was a player we should draft. That's different direct access to information we have compared to the 1,000's of US players.

The CFL drafts about 70 players out of a couple of 100 tops. It's a lot easier to do than look at the imports available.

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Sir Blue and Gold
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 06:05:01 PM »

Fogg has made some great plays and some really bad plays. As a starter he's still a liability so that goes to poor recruitment. I'll take consistent and average over hot and cold.

It wasn't hard to recruit and draft Loffler. If you read back to before that year's draft I said he was a player we should draft. That's different direct access to information we have compared to the 1,000's of US players.

The CFL drafts about 70 players out of a couple of 100 tops. It's a lot easier to do than look at the imports available.



Not necessarily. That's your assumption. Maybe he was recruited primarily as a kick/punt return option? Certainly, he's been a solid punt returner for us over his years as a Bomber. He's been an off-and-on starter over his tenure, playing some DB in his first season and not really getting his spot back fulltime until 2018. You can only roster so many players and every team has DBs that the offense attacks. If not him, someone else. He got burned at times last year but you can't automatically compute that with scouting = bad without factoring in all the other variables.
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