The game against Edmonton seems so long ago now, but the actions of Khalif Mitchell are just being felt this week. It was in that game when the BC Lions big Defensive Tackle took hold of O-Lineman Simeon Rottier’s arm and violently twisted it.
A great many of un-ethical plays occur along the line of scrimmage in any football contest but this movement went beyond the unwritten rules of engagement.
But judgement day doesn’t need to be all about doom and gloom.
First round draft pick Jabar Westerman will get his first start of the season in Mitchell’s absence. I have been really impressed with his performance of late. He made a great play at the line of scrimmage in the Calgary game. Shedding his blocker and making the tackle in a key situation.
Against Toronto, before the Bye week, Westerman recorded two tackles and a QB sack but his biggest play of the season was when the Argo’s were attempting a late game comeback.
The young DL evaded his blocker and focused his attention on QB Ricky Ray.
While Ray eluded the sack, Jabar swatted the ball out of Ray’s outstretched arm forcing the fumble, stopping the drive and crushing the hopes of Toronto fans.
Even as far back as draft day, Westerman, an non-import from Eastern Michigan University, had been expected to play a ton this season, and he has been a big part of the D-Line rotation this year.
If it wasn’t for the unusual circumstances and stellar play of rookie Matt Norman we would already be well versed in the skills of Jabar as an outstanding new addition to the team.
Westerman’s steady progress means that Defensive Co-ordinator, Rich Stubler, shouldn’t be concerned in playing the rookie. Being an interior defensive lineman doesn’t allow for too many statistics, but like a stalwart blue-liner in hockey, if the media or coaching staff isn’t saying his name, he likely isn’t making any mistakes.
Adding to the depth of the D-Line, Head Coach Mike Benevides has called upon rookie free-agent Maurice Evans to suit up.
The Penn State product will help secure the middle of the pack but also has the ability to line up on the defensive end position.
While judgement day has a negative aspect for Khalif Mitchell, it will be step in the right direction for Westerman, who hopes to prove he can handle more snaps in the CFL.
BC Lions next game is this Sunday, August 19, at BC Place versus Saskatchewan.
Cheers, The Bartender