The Lions are still a mystery
They were a difficult team to project at the beginning of the season, and they still feel like a mixed bag six games in.
Lets take a look at the four things the Lions need to tweak as they progress through the 2013 season.
1. The young guns need to step up
Prior to this season, many people thought that this particular group of BC Lions receivers had the potential to be the best ever.
It would be unfair to say the season so far has been completely disappointing. Iannuzzi has done some good things running the ball in a limited capacity, and Gore has a pair of touchdowns.
Still, both receivers, who were expected to step it up this season, only have 9 catches each through six games. Compare that to 25 for Andrew Harris, 23 each for Nick Moore and Courtney Taylor, and 19 for Emmanuel Arcenaux.
2. Consistency in the pass rush
It’s entirely legitimate to subscribe to a pass rushing philosophy that isn’t focused around producing big numbers for a star pass rusher.
Some coordinators use corners or safeties to mix up their pass rush, others use their linebackers, and others yet use interior pass rush specialists. Some coordinators use a mix of these three options.
Some effective techniques don’t even result in sacks, instead opting for pressures that can be as effective as a completed sack.
The key to an effective pass rush is forcing the opposing quarterback to throw the ball before he is comfortable.
The Lions are usually among the league leaders in sacks and pressures. This season only five Lions have a sack, which is last in the league.
The B.C. sack leader is Eric Taylor with 3 sacks which ranks him 15th in the CFL.
3. Game plan the defence
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the 2013 Lions team is the team’s inability to construct a game plan to stifle opposing offenses. It started in the first game of the season, when Jon Cornish ran wild all over the Lions defence.
It’s one thing to focus on the pass rush and give up a big run, but even when everyone knew what the Stampeders were going to do, Cornish continuously ripped off long runs.
The two games against the Eskimos are difficult to score because Edmonton’s offense, particularly their running game, has been anemic all season.
The second Toronto game was frustrating given the Argonauts inexperienced quarterback and lack of a dominant running game.
Perhaps the best single performance by the Lions defence was the Winnipeg game, where they managed to hold the Bombers offense in check overall.
Lions fans can take solace in the fact that their best defensive performance was their most recent one, and once next week’s game is in the book we may be talking about the beginning of defensive consistency.
4. Offensive cohesion
While Andrew Harris is not having an MOP season, he has certainly done some great things this season.
There have been times this season where the game plan gets frustrating because Harris seems to be playing at full speed but doesn’t get used creatively enough. Harris leads the team in receptions and is third behind Jon Cornish and Kory Sheets in rushing yards.
The most frustrating thing on offence so far this season has been that both Andrew Harris and Travis Lulay have yet to hit their stride in the same game.
It seems as though when Harris has his best games, the passing game is only mediocre. It would go a long way to assuaging fan anxiety if both Harris and Lulay could go off against the Stampeders on the 17th.
Perhaps this is nitpicking, but it feels as though Travis Lulay is only scratching the surface of his potential this season.
10 touchdowns to 4 interceptions is nothing to sneer at, but there is no quarterback more supported by receiving talent than Travis Lulay.
If we are to measure the impressiveness of an accomplishment against what a given player has to work with, second in the league in passing with the best receiving corps isn’t quite good enough.
But maybe I’m just a spoiled Lions fan who is used to his team being completely dominant. Feel free to call me that in the comments, and let me know what you think.