Lions at Bombers Oct. 28, 2017

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B.C.FAN
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:20 am

Another game, another new starter at field corner for the Lions. Kendall James comes off the practice roster to replace Buddy Jackson on the wide side of the field, where the Lions have struggled most of the season.

James is one of several new players who will get a look in this game. As previously discussed, Luther Maddy will start at defensive tackle. Fellow rookie international Kourtnei Brown is also activated and listed as a backup to national rookie Junior Luke at nose tackle.

The Lions have made several changes to the offensive line, in part due to the ankle injury suffered last week by Hunter Steward. David Foucault starts at left guard in place of Steward. Keavon Milton starts at right tackle in place of Kelvin Palmer. Andrew Jones is activated from the 1-game injured list as a backup guard.

Chris Rainey is listed as starting running back, backed up by rookie speedster Tyler Davis, who has spent the season on the practice roster after showing flashes in training camp at wide receiver, running back and kick returner.

Here is more on Davis and the roster shuffling from Matt Baker at bclions.com:
GAME PREVIEW | LIONS AT BLUE BOMBERS

"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

TheLionKing
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:26 pm

Sounds like an exhibition roster

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WestCoastJoe
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:51 pm

Brooks and Turner out. So much for the INT DTs we chose to start the year.

Roh is the only INT DE left from all those guys we went through earlier. Bazzie joined later.

IMO our defensive concept regarding INT DE and DT was flawed from the beginning this year.

Our OL looks kind of scary.

No JJ24.

Yikes.

But ya never know.

If JJ10 is under big pressure. I would like to see Alex Ross get some reps.
John Madden's Team Policies: Be on time. Pay attention. Play like hell on game day.

Jimmy Johnson's Game Keys: Protect the ball. Make plays.

Walter Payton's Advice to Kids: Play hard. Play fair. Have fun.

maxlion
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:11 pm

Might as well give some pr players a chance. At this point, it's all about next year. If we were playing to win, of course the roster would look different.

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Toppy Vann
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:30 am

Lowell Ulrich:
And with so many other issues, not the least of which is the future of coach/GM Wally Buono, plus a locker room described by veterans as being devoid of leadership, the thought a 24-year-old like Johnson managing to swim safely in an environment that is less than pristine represents an element of hope for the Lions.
http://www.tsn.ca/lions-season-now-all- ... e-1.898542

Wally knows best as they used to say here lol and as usual has a Canadian player he's underplaying - Lyle Green etc etc and at one point it was Marco. Now it's Johnson.
“I feel like it’s been a blessing to my success to see how veterans prepare. I didn’t really know how before. The small things. The art of football,” said (Shaq) Johnson, who has more receiving yards this year than teammates Nick Moore, Marco Iannuzzi and Chris Williams.
OFFENCE: Tyler Davis may have been considered by the Lions to be a Chris Rainey clone in training camp, but the son of Oakland Raiders running back Clarence Davis was returning kicks alongside Rainey this week and will play instead of Jeremiah Johnson. On the offensive line, Kelvin Palmer may have run out of chances. Keavon Milton (6-foot-7, 300, Louisiana-Munroe) will get Palmer’s spot, with the Lions still living in the hope they can somehow salvage LT Antonio Johnson. Third overall Canadian pick Danny Vandervoort will play as the search to replace retiring WR Marco Iannuzzi commences in earnest.

DEFENCE: Luther Maddy (6-foot-2, 285, Virginia Tech), the only other player besides Davis to stick it out all season on the practice roster, will get a chance to move past Bryant Turner. Maddy will play alongside Kourtnei Brown (6-foot-4, 255, Clemson), who is desperately looking for a place to call home having been cut nine times in three years. Kendall James (5-foot-11, 180, Maine) has a chance to claim a vacancy at wide-side cornerback with the release of Anthony Gaitor.

B.C.FAN
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:34 am

The Lions can be spoilers in their final two games. They can deny the Bombers a chance to clinch a home playoff game. They have even more control next week, when a victory would deny the Argos first place in the East and give it to Ottawa.

But I agree that this is all about next year. Take a look at the players on the practice roster and make the necessary evaluations. The injury to Steward is unfortunate but the Lions would have had to deal with that anyway if they were still in the playoff hunt, and Foucault is the next man up.

As for Alex Ross, I agree that he needs some playing time in the next two weeks. I have no confidence that he can do anything but he might surprise. I still hope to see Lulay and Jennings as the top two quarterbacks next year, in one order or the other.
"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

Blitz
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:18 am

It still seems surreal that this Leos team, that was 11-7 last season and whom many thought had a good chance of knocking off Calgary to play in the 2017 Grey Cup game, would finish last in the West and out of the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons.

It was supposed to be Buono's last season and he would walk into the sunset with a Grey Cup victory. Some predicted Jonathan Jennings would become this season's MOP after passing for over 5,000 yards in his first season as a starter last year. While the trade of Olifioye was highly debated, the addition of Chris Williams was supposed to add that third dangerous threat to our passing attack.

The offensive line was only going to be missing one starter from last season in Olifioye but the trade for Faucault, who had made an NFL roster came with a lot of hype.

On defense, the loss of Alex Bazzie to an NFL tryout was not viewed as a major loss. Bazzie was undersized and had worn down over 18 games in 2016. The only real worry was replacing Adam Bighilll.

Veterans Ryan Phillips, Mike Edem, and Brandon Stewart were let go but all three were viewed as contributing to our wide side defensive backfield problems of 2016. The view was that we needed to play an International at safety and get younger in the defensive backfield. With Ronnie Yell at corner and T.J. Lee returning after his 2016 injury, and with Anthony Gaitor and Chandler Fenner, who played very well in the second half of the 2016 season, things looked very positive defensively.

With the dynamic and talented Chris Rainey signed for 2017, things looked very positive. We started the 2017 season at 5-2 before the wheels fell off. We were never able to get them back on.

I've read many excuses for this disastrous 2017 season. Now I have just read, within B.C. Fan's post, that veterans have described the locker room as devoid of leadership.

First of all, I ask myself what leaders from last season's Leos team were missing for this 2017 season. Ryan Phillips and Jovan Olifioye were missing. But we still had the core of last season's leadership group including Travis Lulay, Manny Arseneaux, Marco Iannuzzi, Soloman Eliminian, and Rolly Lumbala. Why were these veterans not able to provide leadership?

My thought is that we didn't get the leadership we needed from our coaching staff. Buono spend most of the season coming up with new ways to blame the players and that had to have an impact on team spirit and team culture.

WCJ points out that we didn't replace the two key positions that required solid replacements. We didn't find a rush end to replace Alex Bazzie and we didn't find another International tackle who could replace Olifioye. Those were problems but in of themselves, they should not have resulted in our Leos, who were the 2nd best team in the CFL last season falling off a cliff like they have in 2017.

My biggest concern going into this season was our coaching. Coming off last season's success, all that seemed to be needed for 2017 is that we diversify our running scheme more, to attack the edge more often as mix from our inside zone run, which too often was stuffed on second and short yardage and to integrate a better short passing game to diversify our passing attack more and to also give us better options with a lead or against the blitz. I also felt that we needed to not target Rainey as often when he came into the game on offence.

But we never did have an offensive identity in 2017. In 2016, we were an offence that featured the best rushing attack in the CFL. Our passing attack struggled early in the season due to poor pass blocking and that problem was never solved. Palmer struggled all season at right guard, Fabian has had a poor season, and Husband also did not play as well. Faucault stuggled early and was dropped from the starting lineup. Only Hunter Steward shone. There is an obvious correlation between the fact that our Leos have given up the most sacks in the CFL and that we rank 8th in turnovers.

When Moore was dropped from the starting offensive lineup and Chris Williams was added, it seems as if our offence really got out of sync. Yet, we have more passing yards than the Calgary Stampeders and they have given up half the amount of sacks that our offence has given up.

Which brings us to our defense. Two major problems plagued our defense all season. We are 8th in quarterback sacks and last season we tied for 1st in the CFL in quarterback sacks. Its difficult to play defense and shut down the pass when you don't get enough pressure on the opposing quarterback. Secondly we never resolved the problems that we experienced last season. Our zone defense was vulnerable on the wide side last season and this season as well. We leave the flat open too often and we also once again experienced assignment breakdowns on the wide side of the field, giving up too many big plays.

Thirdly, once again, our passive defensive style hurt us at the end of games. We lost 7 games this season by less than a touchdown and allowed opposing teams to come back from behind due to that style of play.

On special teams, the arrival of Long should have been a season to rejoice our special teams play. We now had one of the CFL's best kickers and the best CFL return man in Chris Rainey. But the plague of 2017 not only happened on offence and defence but also impacted our special teams play. We go into this game with the worst punt return average in the CFL and Chris Rainey had no daylight to run to in 2017. We also had special teams miscues due to poor preparation and poor play. Last game, Foley once again, was not on the field on time to play his position on the punt team is only one of many glaring examples of poor preparation for special teams play.

While I believe the biggest problem this season has been coaching, I believe there is something more but I don't know what. But my intuition repeadedly goes back to the second Saskatchewan game in which we lost badly and quit playing. In the pre-game dressing room the players were not ready and listening to Buono and he whined and walked out of the locker room, asking Rally to talk to the team instead. It was a bad omen at the time and it also tells me that something was wrong inside our team or that there was a problem between our players and our coaching staff.

Wally will deflect and blame as he always does but there has been more emotion in it from his this season. Players from Lulay to Johnson to Rainey made comments about coaching strategy mid-season with Lulay stating the coaches needed to self-scout too.

Cromartie says this team needs an 'enema' and the coaching staff needs to go. As we get ready to play the Bombers, Sol E. says the Bombers offence runs through Andrew Harris and we need to limit him. We did that last game.

We are inserting some new personnel. It will be good to look at Tyler Davis and see what he can bring. We will look at another defensive back at field corner but the problem at that position is really that we play our safety too deep. We also could have given Kenyan Parker the shot at corner. He played so well there last season when given an opportunity but it looks like he will be pined again.

Obviously Powell is not the answer at right tackle. Faucault needs to play so that we can see if he can develop. He really should be getting a shot at the tackle position. He is very tall and lanky for a guard and his body type is better suited for the tackle position.

My betting is that next season we will see both Shaq Johnson and Vandervoot starting at receiver so it will be good to see them both on the field today at various times.

We definitely do need some personell changes for 2017 but really not many. We need to improve at International tackle on offence, at International tackle on defense, and we need to get more consistent pass rush at defensive end.

But really, there are not many personnel changes required. This is a talented Leos team. I can understand our coaching shortcomings from a strategic point of view - poor game planning, scheme and play calling problems on offence, a passive defensive scheme and zone breakdowns. But we had those last season and finished 11-7. The hope was that those coaching short comings, strategy wise, could be improved this season.

Instead its been a disaster. This is the most disappointing season I can ever remember as a Leos fans. Yes , in the past, we've had many seasons of poor performance or very disappointing playoff losses. But I have never seen a Leos team that was this talented have such a terrible season.

There is an issue with this 2017 Leos team. Whether that issue is coaching leadership or the players and the coaches are not on the same page or the players are upset with the coaching staff, or something else, there is something seriously wrong with this Leos team that has affected every unit on the playing field from offensive line, quarterbacking, receiver, running game, defensive line, defensive backfield, return game, and special teams play.

My hope for today is that our Leos team will at least show some of the promise that it had to begin this season when we play the Bombers this afternoon.
"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)

B.C.FAN
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Great opening drive. Jennings’ quick release was the key.
"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

TheLionKing
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:31 pm

Nichols is limping. Will the Bombers take a chance and leave him in

TheLionKing
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:33 pm

Big reception by Arceneaux

TheLionKing
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:38 pm

Lions going for it on 3rd down

TheLionKing
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:41 pm

First time the Lions have scored more than 10 points in the 1st quarter

B.C.FAN
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:41 pm

Gutsy call on third and 2 produces a touchdown. 14-6 Lions. This is the first time this year the Lions have scored 10 or more points in the first quarter.
"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

B.C.FAN
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:46 pm

Jennings was 11 of 12 for 155 yards in the first quarter. He’s making quick decisions with the ball
"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

TheLionKing
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:48 pm

Burnham having a good game so far

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