Lions look for straighter road to Toronto
2011 Record 11-7 Regular season, Grey Cup Champions
2012 Forecast 13-5 // 7/2 Odds to repeat as Champs
The Lions couldn’t have had a more unbalanced roller coaster season than 2011. Starting 0-5 then ripping off 8 consecutive W’s en route to hosting the 99th Grey Cup and getting one final notch in the win column.
The Lions will hope to have a more even and productive regular season but as long as the playoff result is the same as last years, they won’t care if the road to the Grey Cup is curvier than a Kardashian.
New head of the Pack
Few changes have been made to the squad but included in the changes is the man calling the shots. Mike Benevides moves from D Co-ordinator to replace the CFL’s all-time leader in wins; Coach Wally Buono.
While the legacy of Wally may still loom large, the man himself will still be around. Buono casted off his handle of Head Coach but has retained the GM responsibilities.
Of the roster changes, none is more significant than the loss of LB Solomon Elimimian to the NFL. Elimimian led a defence that ranked first in Average Score Against and second in Total Yards.
Also departed from the D are Ends’s Aaron Hunt and Brent Johnson and HB Thad Korneguay.
Parker is the CFL leader in INT for TD’s.
They also drafted DT Jabar Westerman with the 2nd overall pick.
The injury bug was position specific for the Leos during training camp as three Guards went down with leg injuries. This has forced Matt Norman, the 22nd overall pick, into a starting role and Patrick Kabongo was parachuted in to fill the voids.
If the O-Line stays healthy, reigning MOP QB Travis Lulay will be able to focus on his solid receiving corps, and win another MVP. Geroy Simon will look to pass Milt Stegall’s all time mark for receiving yards early in the season and he should finish with solid numbers although he may not attain the 1,350 yds he garnered last year.
Last year’s big surprise was Canadian RB Andrew Harris. A tremendous receiver out of the backfield Harris will look to improve on his 458 rushing yards from a year ago.
The 0-5 start meant that the run game was all but forgotten in the opening third of the season as the Lions were constantly trying to overcome deficits.
Players to Watch
While the Lions boast an embarrassment of riches at the skilled positions and substantial talent in the defensive secondary, this year’s season will be determined by the effectiveness of the lads in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
All the talent at receiver will go to waste if Lulay is constantly on the ground. And the run defence has to be as threatening as the pass rush.
With Ricky Ray moving to Toronto in the off-season, Lulay is the highest rated passer in the West Division, a division that the Lions should run-away with.
While some betting lines have the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the Grey Cup favourites, I can definitely see a repeat championship performance for BC.
- 1st the in the CFL West
- 1st in the CFL
- 13 Regular Season Wins
- 8 CFL All-Stars
Cheers, The Bartender