Lions at Argos June 30, 2017

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B.C.FAN
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:42 am

After a shaky season opener that ended in a 30-27 loss to the Eskimos, Wally Buono has left his starting lineup intact for a Week 2 visit to BMO Field, home of the Argos. B.C.'s 46-man roster has only one change from last week. K/P Swayze Waters is on (along with Ty Long) and RB Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, who was scratched for the season-opener, is off. Wally will make a game-time decision on his kicker for Friday's game after both players warm up.

The offensive line and secondary, two units that were criticized in the season opener, will get another week to work out their problems. That includes Kirby Fabien and Antonio Johnson on the right side of the O-line and Loucheiz Purifoy at safety, Anthony Gaitor at field halfback and Anthony Thompson at field corner. The starting defensive line, one position group unchanged from the start of training camp, also remains intact despite producing only one sack and two QB pressures last week against Mike Reilly and the Eskimos. More pressure is needed this week against Ricky Ray and the Argos.

The Argos will be without RB Brandon Whitaker, one of Ray's favourite checkdown receivers, who has been moved to the one-game injured list.

Here's a link to the B.C. depth chart and roster.
"I think [Fred Fateri] was like a lot of people who watch football, hockey or any professional sport on television. They sit there and think they could coach better than the professional. Some people really think that." - Bob Ackles, The Water Boy

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SammyGreene
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:14 am

B.C.FAN wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:42 am
After a shaky season opener that ended in a 30-27 loss to the Eskimos, Wally Buono has left his starting lineup intact for a Week 2 visit to BMO Field, home of the Argos. B.C.'s 46-man roster has only one change from last week. K/P Swayze Waters is on (along with Ty Long) and RB Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, who was scratched for the season-opener, is off. Wally will make a game-time decision on his kicker for Friday's game after both players warm up.

The offensive line and secondary, two units that were criticized in the season opener, will get another week to work out their problems. That includes Kirby Fabien and Antonio Johnson on the right side of the O-line and Loucheiz Purifoy at safety, Anthony Gaitor at field halfback and Anthony Thompson at field corner. The starting defensive line, one position group unchanged from the start of training camp, also remains intact despite producing only one sack and two QB pressures last week against Mike Reilly and the Eskimos. More pressure is needed this week against Ricky Ray and the Argos.

The Argos will be without RB Brandon Whitaker, one of Ray's favourite checkdown receivers, who has been moved to the one-game injured list.

Here's a link to the B.C. depth chart and roster.
Glad to see Ray and the Argos light up the Tiger-Cats in week one as the more Lions' weaknesses exposed early in the season the better. The play in the trenches in the opener was underwhelming. No surprise to hear the Eskimos graded out as the top offensive line last week.

Defensive line remains a considerable concern for me. Especially since pressure from the front 4 with less blitzing was one of the objectives this season.
We haven't had a constant threat at defensive end since Keron Williams. Alex Bazzie started off as a house on fire last season then tapered off considerably.
Brooks was dominant at DT in the early going to until getting a high ankle sprain in Calgary and was average the rest of the way.
Turner was an upgrade when inserted but it would have been nice to see the incumbents seriously pushed at TC rather than the status quo prevailing with the exception of Bazzie's old position. I'm with you BC FAN, might as well start a national in the front 4 and use the extra import elsewhere like receiver when Williams returns.

Guess I was spoiled during the era of Johnson, T. Williams, Hunt, Wake, Foley, K. Williams even the 2011 version of K. Mitchell or Eric Taylor but it sure can make your secondary look a whole lot better with constant front 4 pressure. Ask the Eskimos.

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Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:14 am

They better win. I didn't come all this way to watch them lose. :wink:
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B.C.FAN
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:24 pm

Hambone wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:14 am
They better win. I didn't come all this way to watch them lose. :wink:
Have fun. Maybe the Argos can offer a guaranteed win night. That should help the Lions. :wink:
"I think [Fred Fateri] was like a lot of people who watch football, hockey or any professional sport on television. They sit there and think they could coach better than the professional. Some people really think that." - Bob Ackles, The Water Boy

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Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:07 pm

My friend (who has gone to Lions games with me on occasion) suggested watching this game in a bar (for once both of our work schedules match up). I'm a little leery, since he doesn't have much patience for lopsided games. Hopefully TOR won't end up systematically dismantling BC like they did with HAM. Are the Ticats really that bad?

On the other hand, growing up in TO my first CFL team was the Argos. It's with some trepidation I watch Ray wondering who will end his season with the next hard sack. He was touched a bit last game--one sack was shared by 3 players--but it was a slow motion pillow soft landing on the turf for him.

Of course the other talking point will be if Waters is ready to play, last I heard he's a "game time decision". I don't agree with hurrying him back.

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Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:19 pm

B.C.FAN wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:24 pm
Hambone wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:14 am
They better win. I didn't come all this way to watch them lose. :wink:
Have fun. Maybe the Argos can offer a guaranteed win night. That should help the Lions. :wink:
This road trip which started at BC Place hasn't started out well.
Lions lost Saturday. :thdn:
Vancouver Canadians won Sunday. :thup:
Blue Jays won last night. :thdn:
Maybe it's one of those win one, lose one things in which case tomorrow night should be a win for the good guys. Then again next and final game on the trip will be Lions in Montreal.
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TheLionKing
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:45 pm

Keys to the game:

- eliminate the big plays

- Improved play of the offensive and defensive lines

- Improved kicking game

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WestCoastJoe
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:26 pm

1 Can we pressure Ricky Ray? Sacks 0-5? I guess 1. (This factors in Ricky Ray's impersonation of a pylon. Also quick reads and fairly quick release.)

2 Can we protect Jonathon Jennings? Sacks 0-5? I guess 2. (This factors in JJ10's great mobility and escapability. And very quick reads and very quick release.)

3 Passing yardage Toronto? I guess 315.

4 Passing yardage BC? I guess 315.

5 Rushing yardage Toronto? I guess 60.

6 Rushing yardage BC? I guess 100.

With those numbers, somewhat optimistic, we can win.

Expected philosophy from BC ...

--> Soft zone defence, very few stunts, very few alignment changes. Straight up.

--> Familiar pass patterns (with D waiting). Straight up.

--> Familiar running game: Hogs Left, Hogs Right, JJ24 finds a hole, as he does very well. Same for Chris Rainey.

IMO CFL defences are not designed to stop the run. They must first of all stop teams from passing for 400+ yards. Offences should be able to run for 100 yards. Teams can tolerate that amount. More becomes a problem for the defence. I would suggest that teams are content if we only run for 100. We are usually in need of getting the ball down the field with the passing game in order to win. If we had a tougher defence, we might pound teams even more with our running game. Just IMO ...

And then of course there is our relatively vulnerable pass protection, our predictable pass patterns, our predictable defensive alignments, et cetera.
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:28 pm

I hope Wally and his staff took a good long look at themselves and their roster planning before deciding to stand pat. Pride goeth before a 0-2 start.....

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David
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Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:18 pm

You hate to say 'must win' in July....BUT....an 0-2 start means that, best case, we'll only be :500 for the first month of the season. Except our next 3 are on the road. Realistically, I would be happy with a 2-1 record on the Eastern swing. Again though, that's only a :500 record which doesn't fly in this market.

3 Keys To The Game:

* Ricky Ray is never going to be 'confused.' Eventually he's going to figure things out. But they can make him uncomfortable by mixing up coverages and bringing guys from different places (more safety blitz please!). Better 4 man pressure is needed too.

* I'd like to see more of Chris Rainey lined up as a receiver. It's a way to stretch the field. Edmonton's coverage looked to be clogging things up in the middle, not giving Jennings many opportunities to go deep (although he did find Moore deep in the dying minutes). Manny and Burnham were effectively neutered. Rainey would give them more room....AND he can catch.

* Expect the Argos to apply relentless pressure. They're jacked up right now. They're going to pin their ears back and try to get after Jennings like they did on Collaros. We're going to need strong blitz pick-up, especially on the right-side of the line. Do we have a tight end formation? Can we do more screen passes to keep them honest?

I think if Jeremiah can get >100 yards rushing, I like our chances. That likely means we're controlling the football (and clock) with a balanced attack. Oh yea, a little birdie told me that Swayze Waters was kicking very well in practice this week. Read into that what you will. Go Lions!! :roar:


DH :cool:
Please sell the team, Mr. Braley.

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Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:29 am

David wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:18 pm
You hate to say 'must win' in July....BUT....an 0-2 start means that, best case, we'll only be :500 for the first month of the season. Except our next 3 are on the road. Realistically, I would be happy with a 2-1 record on the Eastern swing. Again though, that's only a :500 record which doesn't fly in this market.

3 Keys To The Game:

* Ricky Ray is never going to be 'confused.' Eventually he's going to figure things out. But they can make him uncomfortable by mixing up coverages and bringing guys from different places (more safety blitz please!). Better 4 man pressure is needed too.

* I'd like to see more of Chris Rainey lined up as a receiver. It's a way to stretch the field. Edmonton's coverage looked to be clogging things up in the middle, not giving Jennings many opportunities to go deep (although he did find Moore deep in the dying minutes). Manny and Burnham were effectively neutered. Rainey would give them more room....AND he can catch.

* Expect the Argos to apply relentless pressure. They're jacked up right now. They're going to pin their ears back and try to get after Jennings like they did on Collaros. We're going to need strong blitz pick-up, especially on the right-side of the line. Do we have a tight end formation? Can we do more screen passes to keep them honest?

I think if Jeremiah can get >100 yards rushing, I like our chances. That likely means we're controlling the football (and clock) with a balanced attack. Oh yea, a little birdie told me that Swayze Waters was kicking very well in practice this week. Read into that what you will. Go Lions!! :roar:


DH :cool:
The Argos had a very impressive start to the season but passing for over 500 yards is obviously a very difficult thing to sustain. Everything was clicking for the Argos against Hamilton.

But the Argso offence is also different than the one we've seen for the past few seasons. The Argos huge offensive performance was a lot more than Ricky Ray just having a career game. Trestmann had a lot of motion going on, very similar to the motion offence that Chap used here in 2011/2012.

Trestmann uses a modified West Coast offence. It looks like the spread offence by formation a lot of the time but its style is more West Coast. That can cause problems for defences who are so used to the various but often eerily similar editions of the spread.

Defensively Chamblin mixed things up against Hamilton, rushing four at times while mixing in a variety of well designed blitzes.

The book on stopping our Leos began with our loss to Calgary at home. The Stamps, mainly a zone defensive team to that point played us mostly press man with a two deep safety. Calgary's defense had stguggled against our offence in the previous overtime game in Calgary.

Calgary switched tactics. The key was to get an inside pass rush in Jennings face while focusing on two things 1) playing man coverage on our receivers and 2) double covering Manny and Burnham with the two deep safeties on deep intermediate and deep routes.

Other CFL defensive coordinators watched the tape of our offence being shut down and copied Claybrooks game plan the rest of the season. Our offence continued to run the football well and with Jennings incredibly accurate arm and Manny and Burnham's great catching abilities we were still able to complete deep throws and intermediate deep throws but it meant making great plays against double coverage. It also meant that Jennings could not just find our other receivers open, due to the double coverage against Manny and Burnham because they were being covered in man to man.

However, our brain trust's solution was not to change strategy but instead look for an easy fix by getting another receiver with speed. Terell Sinkfield was singed for the rest of 2016 and then Wally opened up the wallet and signed Chris Williams for 2017. The Sinkfield signing helped but we were still often throwing into double coverage with our style of offence and it meant more intercpeptions and the rate of difficulty for our throws remained high.

A third deep threat was considered the way to help open up things for Manny and Burnham again and it helped but it was only part of the solution required.

What is really needed even more is adaptions to our offence to counter the defensive style being used. What we need to do is utilize more layered crossing patterns against man/Cover 2. That would allow our recievers to run away from their man coverage while negating safety help. We need to incorporate more rub routes and quick slant routes and other types of combination patterns designed to counter man coverage while negating deep safety help. We need less deep dig routes to Manny and Burnham.

Our short passing game, when we use it, which is rare, is designed wrong. The type of patterns drawn up by Khari involve throwing short stop and comeback style patterns to Manny etc. and he is blanketed and Jennings has to throw into very tight windows.

Last season, we often struggled with short routes to Sinkfield and Iannuzzi. Sinkfield had drops and Iannuzzi could not get open against man coverage very often. Only Shawn Gore or Adekolu, in his one game as a starter, were able to make a significant contribution, unless Sinkfield got open deep.

Khari also tried to utilize the quick swing pass to Rainey as a counter measure. However, defenses focused on Rainey when he came in the game and Khari most often dialed up the quick swing pass to Rainey. Pass defenders quickly peeled off their man and stopped Rainey too often for losses..

However, on the more rare occasions, when we used Rainey on a crossing pattern he was wide open. We never used Rainey on a wheel route when we should have or isolated him against a linebacker, when there was constant opportunity to do so. When a defense covers our five receivers with five defenders in man coverage and uses two safeties for deep help and rushes four, the only defensive player who can cover Rainey is a linebacker. But we rarely isolated Rainey against a linebacker with a quick crossing pattern...DUH.

Defensively, we led the league in sacks last year (tied with Calgary) but we most often needed to blitz to do so. We couldn't get sustained pressure from our front four. When we did get pressure from our front four, quarterbacks often threw underneath to against our soft field corner. Offences also exploited us deep often and without good safety help our defensive halfbacks and corners were often isolated deep. Our defense gave up a lot of big plays.

In fact we gave up more big plays of over 30 yards than any other CFL defence other than Toronto. Even the Saskatchewan Roughriders defense gave up less big plays than our Leos. We got our sacks but that disguised a defence vulnerable to the deep ball as well as a defense that played passive zone and rarely turned the football over.

That pattern continued in our first game of 2017. We couldn't get pressure with our front four and we gave up deep balls against Edmonton.

Our Leos team of 2016 also gave up the most big plays on kick off coverage than any other CFL team in 2016 and that trend continued in our first game of 2017, when we gave up two big kickoff returns.

Football, like life is about patterns. Those patterns contihue without serious changes.

Our Leos will stand pat with the same lineup against Toronto. Wally could never be wrong - the players in their new positions just have to play better. They probably will. But we need to make strategic changes too if we want to get in the win column.

If Wally thought that signing Chris Williams, Swayze Waters, Tony Burnett and trading for another National offensive lineman were all that was needed for a championship team for 2017 while riding into a Maui sunset as a legend once more time he was mistaken.

Coach Brillo needs to give his head a scratch. :wink:

He needs to remember why he won a Grey Cup in 2011 after two sub-par less than .500 seasons. In 2011, we made strategic changes on both sides of the football. And that is what it is going to take to win the Grey Cup this season. Its one thing to be tough. Right now he also needs to be wise.
"When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team". (George Raveling)

DanoT
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:10 am

With Kelvin Palmer still on the 1 game injured list, and Lions not yet having a full PR, why aren't they bringing in some RT prospects? An ankle can be a tricky, bothersome injury and footwork being such a big part of playing tackle, I wouldn't count on Palmer being 100% for a while.

JaboVancouver
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:27 am

Big question for me tonight is the defensive scheme that will be employed. With Whitaker out for the Argos, are the Lions best served to blitz or fall back into a prevent? I'd like to see a more aggressive approach, to limit the time Ray has in the pocket.
The offence should be fine. They did well enough last week even with the poor O line performance and penalties.

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B.C.FAN
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:00 pm

Swayze Waters has been scratched after trying to kick in warmups. Ty Long will again do all the kicking for the Lions.
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TheLionKing
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Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:07 pm

Will we see the Lions going for 2 point conversions ?

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