CBC Saskatchewan

Playing Receiver in the CFL:

As I am sure you are all aware, two weeks ago in a home game against the Toronto Argonauts we lost our most valuable receiver, Weston Dressler, to an ankle injury. At the time I was playing wide receiver, however on the following play I was thrown into the slot. Fortunately, over my five years at Queens I played inside receiver, commonly referred to as the ranger position so it wasn’t completely new for me. Yet as I lined up for the first snap I quickly remembered the differences, advantages and a few challenges that come with playing in the middle.

As most of you already know, unlike the NFL, in the CFL three of the potential five receivers on the field do not have to line up in a stationary position. In fact, three get to use what is commonly called a “waggle” in which you run up to the line of scrimmage. For those that get to use the waggle, if they use it effectively it can be a huge advantage for the obvious reason that you hit the line full speed while the defensive back is in a back peddle trying to adjust to your speed. Another difference from the slot to wide receiver position is that your vision of the field is much larger. Indeed, not only can you clearly see the defender in front of you, the safety, but you can also recognize the contours of the defence which helps in determining coverage. One last advantage to the slot is your proximity to the quarterback. When you're playing slot not only are you able to hear the cadence but you are also more likely to get the ball thrown your way simply because it’s a shorter throw.

Of course with greater opportunities comes much more responsibility. In fact for a slotback the playbook is often much more complex, as on every play there is some type of motion and route adjustment. As such if you are not completely confident in your assignment you will have to think while you run which almost always means you will be slow. Perhaps more than any other player in the league, Dressler had a large amount of responsibility and while he has been injured all of the other receivers have had too pick up a portion of his old assignments in order for us to continue to be an effective offence.

As you can tell there are a number of big differences between the slot and wide receiver position and while I have by no means mastered all of them things are slowing down with every practise and game. Luckily, with more a few more weeks before the playoffs and with roommate to help learn assignments hopefully each week will continue to get better.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]