Which Lions are making the grade on O?
Aside from a 14 point win on July 13 against an Edmonton Eskimos team that had no pulse on offense, all of the Lions’ wins have been close games. In fact, the only team they’ve beaten by a double digit margin has been the lowly Eskimos. They’ve also lost some close ones but were hammered by both the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts on the road earlier this season.
A record of 6-3 is nothing to scoff at, and while they may have the third best record in the league, they’re also third in the West – meaning they’d open the playoffs on the road — definitely not ideal for a team that rightly had Grey Cup hopes at the start of the season.
It’s not all doom and gloom but I’m going to take a look at the team’s inconsistent offense and in the spirit of back to school will grade them at the half-way mark.
Travis Lulay – C
It took till almost September for Travis Lulay to record his first 300 yard passing game of the season, which is an indication of some of the struggles the 2011 Most Outstanding Player has been having. He’s ranked fifth in the league in QB rating and he’s thrown far too many picks at this point of the season.
Picking up 300 yards should be a weekly — not monthly — occurrence, and his play hasn’t wowed anyone so far this season.
Andrew Harris – B
Andrew Harris has been one of the few consistent players on the Lions, averaging over five yards a carry and doing everything the team is asking of him. He’s also been a solid receiver out of the backfield and for the amount of touches he gets, Harris has managed to find the end zone a decent amount.
Harris is fourth in the league in yards rushing and 23rd in receiving yards, proving he’s been a double threat. Wish they’d use him for kick returns though.
Emmanuel Arceneaux – C+
I’m grading Emmanuel Arceneaux a little harder because to be an elite receiver in the CFL Arceneaux needs to put up better numbers and get open more often. His yards are fine but he’s only caught 30 passes and that number needs to be much higher.
He and Lulay need to work on their chemistry or some different routes because he should be catching at least five a game.
Nick Moore – C
Nick Moore has actually caught one more pass than Arceneaux but his big problem is not scoring touchdowns. No other receiver in the league has more yards without a score. To be halfway through the season and have zero touchdowns for a number two receiver is pathetic. This guy needs to score to be taken more seriously.
Courtney Taylor – B
Courtney Taylor is one of the most improved Lions in 2013 and it shows in the numbers. He already has more yards and touchdowns than 2012 and he’s one of the guys that Lulay seems to have a lot of confidence in.
He’s caught the most passes out of any Lions receiver and I’ve liked his effort this year. Again, it comes down to the fact that the Lions have a bunch of “B” receivers and no “A” receivers – yet.
Shawn Gore – N/A
Shawn Gore has looked good in spurts but hasn’t been on the field enough for a full grade. If he’s healthy, he gives the Lions another weapon but he’s seen limited action this year.
Marco Iannuzzi – C+
Marco Iannuzzi has done fine in the role the Lions have given him this year but he’s another guy that needs to get in the end zone more often. I think he’s suffering a bit from the Lions not really having an elite receiver and teams covering him sometimes just as tightly as Arceneaux, Taylor and Moore.
Ideally you want him to be a guy who can break out when teams go soft on his coverage and I’m not sure he’s there yet.
Offensive Line – C+
The Lions are fifth in sacks allowed and are the worst in the West at allowing opponents get to their QB. They’ve certainly missed Angus Reid up front but it hasn’t been all bad has the line has made nice holes for Harris all year long.
Overall Grade – C+
The pieces are there but it’s up to Lulay and how he uses them.
The Lions don’t really have a number one receiver right now but Arceneaux stepped up last game and that could be a good sign.
Fans can moan about Chapdelaine all they want but it’s about the execution and so far the Lions have only been a bit better than average.