In the NFL the record amassed by the BC Lions would be a cause for concern. Thankfully for Travis Lulay and company, they compete in a much smaller league where more teams make the post-season and it’s much easier to make up ground in the standings.
The 2013 BC Lions are still a confounding team.
The most consistent thing about their play has been the problems: big plays allowed on defense, a lack of balance on offense, and short-yardage futility. Play in general has been very inconsistent, and this trickles down to the individual level.
Let’s take a look at who I’m bullish about, and who I’m concerned with as the Lions move forward.
Khreem Smith can’t really be called an underrated player anymore. He may not be a household name like Adam Bighill or Solomon Elimimian, but he has been the most consistent defensive lineman for the Lions this season. Many fans pegged him to be a breakout player, but I don’t think anyone expected the type of season he’s turned out so far.
Smith is the highest ranking Lion in sack numbers, with 5. That is good for sixth in the league, tied with Edmonton’s Odell Willis. The scary thing about that fact is that the sack numbers don’t accurately portray just how disruptive Smith has been.
He has been held without a sack in a few games, but in those games he was a constant threat bouncing around in the opposing backfield.
Henry Burris sees Khreem Smith in his nightmares.
Solomon Elimimian and Adam Bighill
Anything that I write in praise of these two players will be painfully obvious, so I’ll just throw out some numbers and let you do with them what you will.
Bighill ranks sixth in the league in tackles with 45, and Elimimian just behind him at seventh with 42. Elimimian has 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. Bighill has 4 sacks and 60 fumble recovery yards.
It’s a good system: Elimimian lays out the ball carrier, and Bighill springs into action to scoop up the fumble.
I think it’s safe to say that the B.C. Lions “won” the Khalif Mitchell trade.
Cord Parks has been Mr. Everything in his first season with the Lions. He’s made some tough tackles that many corners wouldn’t make, including 7 tackles this past week against Hamilton. While it’s not a good sign for the Lions defense that a corner leads the team in tackles, it’s a testament to the kind of energy that Parks brings to the Lions secondary.
It also helps that he’s currently tied for the CFL lead in interceptions, with 3.
Nick Moore has been the Lions’ most consistent receiver this year. Expect him to be the go-to guy as the Lions approach the playoffs.
His only problem: one touchdown on the season. This needs to improve.
Gore has emerged from a crowded group of talented receivers to establish himself as the touchdown generator of the team. While he may only have 20 catches on the season, he has 6 touchdowns through nine games.
I still have high hopes for Jabar Westerman. I’ve been hoping with every passing week that he would step up and make a big play. Aside from his one interception, it just hasn’t happened. The former top draft pick is going to have to step up his game and create some pressure.
Here’s to hoping he gets better as he gets used to the Lions defensive system and playing on the interior of the defensive line.
Its tough to put Williams here because he has been getting pressure and having some good games. The problem is, we’re used to all-star performances from him and he’s currently at half the sack totals of backup Brandon Jordan, with 2 to Jordan’s 4.
Shell is a player that I enjoy watching. He has yet to make a big play this season and has yet to make an interception in two years as a Lion, and has 1 sack on the season.
He’s going to be lost in the shuffle if he doesn’t start making plays soon.
Let me know in the comments who you would put on your list of over and underachieving Lions.