CFL: Report card time: BC Lions offence

Offensive report cards

It’s red pen time again! This time we grade the offence to see just who provided some spark and shed light on which holes need to be addressed this off-season.

When it comes time to evaluate, I’ll always be fair and just, and where there’s criticism, there’s a reason. 

A lack of playoff success may have hinged on this teams’ inability to score big points when needed. But after piling up a ton of “W’s” it’s hard to poke too many holes.

We shall start with the guys who make it all go on O.

Quarterback:  A

While Travis Lulay is the flagship and possibly the most coveted asset in the CFL, the BC Lions definitely found a diamond in the rough with Mike Reilly.

Lulay ranked third in the league in passing yards and finished with 100.7 in QB rating while playing behind a banged up O-line and throwing to a who’s who of receivers.

Travis was also second on the team in rushing yards.

With injuries forcing Lulay to the sidelines late in the season, BC unleashed Reilly on the CFL.

After throwing a pick on his second play from scrimmage, Reilly quickly harmonized his skills with the talent around him and led the Leo’s to a victory.

Reilly proved to GM’s around the nation that he could play this game, meaning if he doesn’t re-sign in Vancouver this off-season he will be a likely be a hot commodity in an expansion draft when Ottawa re-enters the CFL in 2014.

Andrew Harris BC Lions

Andrew Harris was the perfect RB for the Lions (Photo: Vancouver Sun)

Receivers: B

Coming out of training camp, this group of receivers was arguably the deepest in the league.

With 2 superstar slotbacks in Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce III, this group had the perfect blend of veteran leadership and youthful energy.

During the season though, injuries ran rampant over this unit and new faces were called upon.

The plus side was that these new faces, Ernest Jackson, Nick Moore, and Courtney Taylor, all proved capable carrying the mail for the club.

The negative side is that these three don’t possess the break out speed to beat opposing defences deep downfield.

In fact the Lions released their only deep threat, Kierrie Johnson late in the season after a sub-par and injury riddled year.

The best all round target for Lion’s quarterbacks was Shawn Gore.

The shifty pass catcher always seemed to dig the offence out of a hole by catching a sensational pass, throwing a timely block or exploding through the line of scrimmage with a well-executed reverse.

Rounding out the corps, Marco Iannuzzi, Akeem Foster, and Paris Jackson all proved valuable during the season but will all look to improve on their 2012 term.

Running Backs: A

Clearly the best offensive weapon for BC is Andrew Harris. Harris is the perfect specimen for a running back in the CFL.

Blessed with quick feet and an elusive running style to go along with his sure hands, Harris has the ability to spread a defence sideline to sideline and proves to be a matchup nightmare for all opposing Defensive Coordinators.

Setting the benchmark for total yards from scrimmage for a Canadian, Harris had just a tremendous season.

The problem with having one running back so good is that there is such a drop when someone else lines up in the backfield.

Tim Brown is more effective returning kicks than he is taking a handoff and I can’t even remember seeing Stu Foord take the field in an offensive role.

Foord , like Brown, makes this roster because of his Special Teams ability.

travis lulay

Travis Lulay (Photo – Gerry Kahmann/Postmedia News)

O-Line: C+

The strength of the Lion’s O-Line is the Tackle positions.

The CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman Jovan Olafioye and Ben Archibald are the top two book-ends in the league, allowing BC QB’s time to throw.

Like the receivers this season, this group was banged up from the second day of training camp yet still managed to provide enough stability to win 13 games.

There was a revolving door at the Guard position all season with Dean Valli, Matt Norman, Jesse Newman, Patrick Kabongo, and Jon Hameister-Ries all taking reps at the spot.

I’m sure if I had hung around the facility in Surrey enough I would’ve seen some game action too.

Overall, this unit was solid where it had to be, but depth is surely lacking.

Questions abound if All-Star Center Angus Reid ever retires, if Olafioye seeks employment in the NFL, or if Archibald were to ever miss a game.

Normally this is a nice adjective, but when it comes to O-line and depth, thin is something you don’t want.


Alarmingly, when the dust settles it’s easy to see why the season ended on a loss.

Inability to keep a QB safe in the pocket long enough to exploit a down field weakness definitely led to more FG attempts than PAT tries.

The Lions have the ability to eat up the clock, and the field, with safe high-percentage plays, but when BC needed a Homerun, a solid double was all they got. 

Leaving the team stranded but in scoring position.

Cheers, The Bartender

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About Phil Slater

"The Bartender" - Raised on Vancouver Island where Phil played Football and Rugby in High School. Played O-Line for Bishop's University. A loyal member of the BC Lions nation since age 9. BC bred but travelled sea to sea in Canada trying to get a pulse on fan nation above the 49th. Unofficial voice of bartenders everywhere. Connect with Phil today!
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