Clock is Ticking
It has been a tough season for the BC Lions‘ offence.
Travis Lulay has struggled to find his game, failing to achieve 300 yards passing in a single game this season. The offensive line has struggled since losing Kirby Fabien to a season-ending injury. The entire unit has had difficulty prolonging drives and scoring touchdowns, settling for field goals all season long.
And yet, the man taking most of the blame, and, I believe, rightfully so, is offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a big fan of Chapdelaine. In his sixth season as offensive coordinator (tenth total with the Lions), he has called many a fantastic game over the years. He’s groomed some of the best offensive players the team has ever seen, and he’s helped the team win two Grey Cups.
He has done an amazing job for this team during his tenure, but his time may soon come to an end, and here’s why:
1. Lack of Balance in Play Calling
Especially in the first halves of games, the Lions’ offence has been far too pass-heavy. When you run the ball early in the game, even if you’re forced to punt, you let the defense know that you are willing to play on the ground. As well, when you have an offensive line that is struggling, running the ball early will help them settle into the game and gain some confidence.
As I’ve said before, Andrew Harris is one of the Lions’ top offensive players, and it never hurts to give him the ball.
2. Failure to Adjust to the Defense
This was on full display against Montreal. Throughout the game, Montreal was bringing the blitz on just about every down and the Lions had no answer. Lulay dropped back on just about every down and had constant pressure in his face. Harris was basically reduced to a pass blocker, and the Lions kept going two and out, even when Montreal QB Tanner Marsh kept throwing interception after interception.
What Chapdelaine probably should have done was set up more plays to the outside and counteract the blitz. Perhaps some toss plays to Harris, quick outs and screen passes (not to mention rolling Lulay out to either side) might have kept the Lions offence on the field for more than two plays at a time.
What’s Going to Happen?
If I were a betting man, I would say that Chapdelaine isn’t going anywhere this season. With a playoff spot all but locked up due to the Edmonton Eskimos’ poor record, this is not the time to blow up the team. Regardless, Chapdelaine has a vote of confidence from head coach Mike Benevides and his players.
But ten years with one team is a long time for any coach, and perhaps both sides could use a refresher. Montreal will be looking for a new head coach next year and Chapdelaine would be a perfect fit.
But for now, all he’s thinking about is finding the answer to this offensive puzzle, and I have full confidence that he can do so.