Whither Jonathon Jennings?

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Blitz
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:41 am

DanoT wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:12 pm
Lulay's role as Jennings mentor, in the act explaining the nuances of the CFL game, also served as a review for Lulay. His return to the field and the success that followed was achieved by either making very quick throws or sprinting out of the pocket (running for his life). He is in fact more in his comfort zone rolling out than staying in the pocket. He even corrected his habit of always rolling to his right and made some great plays rolling left.

Jennings, imo prefers to stay in the pocket and it just doesn't work well with the Lions O line play and play calling.
Jennings was still trying to 'execute' the offence as given. Its a predictable spread offence with the quarterback located in the pocket.

Travis Lulay, when he came in this season, had looked at our offence for most of 2016. He also has had his struggles with this offensive system, after early success.

Dano T. hits the nail on th head. Lulay often threw quickly to his first read. If his first read was not open, he was moving, knowing protection would break down quickly. But he did not give up ground and run to his right, a penchant he developed in the past after porous pass protection nor did he remain in the pocket and get sacked because his recievers were covered.

Instead he slid or moved the pocket himself or sprinted out.

One important thing that Travis did was to keep the football on the inside zone read, faking to Johnson first. Jennings doesn't do that. He doesn't have the same confidence to keep it, knowing that Johnson or Rainey often don't get enough touches and he defers to them, as he does too often to Manny and Burnham in the pass game.

Last season, Jennings also played quarterback 'outside' of the offence more often but this season he seemed to be focused on 'executing' the offence as given.

That is not the way to success with this offence., as drawn up. Pass protection problems, predictable pass patterns, a plug and play philosophy, and a pocket passing concept are issues.

Dickenson made it work by holding the football a split second longer and taking a beating to wait that extra split second for a receiver to get open. Printers made it work in his early days in B.C. by being an escape artist before throwing or running. Buck Pierce did the same as did Lulay in 2011.

The last thing a quarterback should do is 'execute' this offensive system. Its the path to failure. What the quarterback has to do is think 'outside' of the offence to have the chance for success.

In essence, the quarterback needs to 'make plays' rather than execute the offence. You can do that for a stretch of games as Lulay did but its much more difficult to do over the longer term. We've seen that with all of our quarterbacks who have played in the Buono era. They almost always play their best football early in their time here or in the case of Lalay, have had a long break from being the starter.
"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)

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WestCoastJoe
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:59 pm

Excellent posts, Dano and Blitz.
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Blitz
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:10 am

One theme that was played out in the press/media last season, when Jennings was having such an excellent 2016 overall, was the role of Lulay as his mentor. in 2016, there was article after article in the Provnce and Vancouver Sun about the positive mentorship of Lulay. At times, it could make one think that Jennings success was more attributable to Lulay's mentorship than to Jennings himself.

But, when Jennings did not have the isame season this year as in 2016, the discussion of Lulay's mentorship disappeared. Should Lulay be held partially responsible for Jennings poor season this year, as he was given so much credit for Jennings success last year. If not, the press and media could be accused of hypocrisy.

I believed that the whole Lulay 'mentorship' thing last season was overdone.

Do I believe that Lulay was helpful to Jennings? Yes I do. Do I believe he tried to be helpful to Jennings this season? Yes, I do, even though it did not appear that he was helpful to Jennings this year, based upon Jennings performance. I believe that Lulay is even more helpful to Khari Jones. Its Lulay on the sidelines pointing out on his tablet to Khari Jones what the opposing defense is doing.

I believe there is also a real difference to a B.C. Lions quarterback's when he is either 1) fresh or 2) playing starting quarterback, when moving into the role from a backup position. When you have been the starting quarterback for a long while in B.C. in the Buono era, you are not only playing with more pressure but you also have played a lot of games with poor pass protection and you will also likely be programmed to 'execute' the predictable spread offence from the pocket.

Lets look at some examples. Dave Dickenson had his best season as a Leo in 2003, Casey Printers had his best season in 2004, his first year as a starter and in 2009, his first season back with our B.C. Lions. Buck Pierce had his best full season as a starter in his first full season as a starter in 2008. Jarious Jackson played his best football in 2007, when he got his first starts as a Leo starting quarterback.

Travis Lulay won the MOP Award in 2011, in his first full season as a Leo starting quarterback. Jonathan Jennings had excellent success in his first full season as a starter in 2016. Travis Lulay played his best football in man years during his four game stretch as our starter this season. He was basically fresh and he stepped into the role as our backup quarterback.

This trend of a Leo quarterback playing his best football early in his career as a Leos quarterback, when he is either fresh or coming into the starting position from a role of backup quarterback is more than interesting.

Why the drop off in play after playing so well in their early times as our starting quarterback.? If looking closely, It seems that they do a number of things early in their days as our starting quarterback that they don't do as time goes on.

These are the things that I have observed.

1. They are more natural in their early times as our starting quarterback

Casey Printers, Buck Pierce, Jarious Jackson, and Travis Lulay all seemed to play the game more naturally in their first full seasons as our starter. They used their athletic ability more often, they improvised more often, scrambled more often, and played to their strengths. They were allowed to do so early, as Leo starting quarterbacks.

2. They played with more confidence in their first seasons as our starting quarterback

Early, in their careers as our starting quarterback in the Buono era, they seemed to play with more confidence. Even with less experience, they took more chances, seemed less hesitant, and looked more in control and had more poise.

3. As time went on they were less natural, less confident, and executed the offence more

As time went on, our starting quarterback stayed in the pocket more often and focused on executing our offence. There was less improvisation and they became much more mechanical.

4. They didn't see the field as well..

Even with more experience and more games played they seemed to stop seeing the field as well as they had before. I believe this was caused by the pass rush. Too often, porous protection meant that our quarterbacks became very conscious of the pass rush. If you watch the play of Dickenson to Printers to Pierce to Lulay to Jennings this season, they are not as poised as they were in their earliest days as starting quarterbacks.

Take Lulay and Jennings, our two most recent examples. Watch Lulay play in 2011 and then compare that to his last season as our starting quarterback in 2015. In 2011, Lulay is natural, poised, and sees the field very well. Have a look at him in 2015. He is hesistant, more easily sacked, he feels pressure more quickly, and he either stops looking downfield after his first read and holds the football or he bails too quickly.

Have a look at Jennings last season. He is so poised and cool in the pocket. He has a 'feel' when he is in the pocket, in terms of whether to stand in there and deliver or to escape and then pass/run. Look at him this season. Just like Lulay in 2015, he holds the football a split second too long after his first read, more hesitant to throw to his second/third reads and he is also looking at the pass rush.

Of course, poor pass protection, a predictable passing game, and a stationary pocket adds up over time, not only physically but also psychologically. A starting quarterback can only take so many pressures and hits as well as the mental pressure to execute our offensive scheme at a very high level and make plays (which are necessary to make it successful) before they begin to wear down mentally).

Travis Lulay enjoyed his best seasons in 2011 and 2012. In his first full season as our starter we won the Grey Cup and had the CFL's best record in his second season. We gave up the least number of sacks in the CFL -only 29 sacks in 2011 and 30 sacks in 2012.

In 2016 Jennings we gave up the third least sacks in the league and Jennings had an impressive inaugural season as a starter. In 2017, we gave up the most sacks in the CFL and like Lulay before him, his performance goes down as the sack numbers go up.

Are the sack totals a result of the quarterback holding the football too long and not delivering it quickly enough. Well, all of our quarterbacks have been accused of that from Dickenson to Printers to Pierce to Jackson to Lulay to Jennings over the years. Its may be that as time goes on when they are starting that they begin to do that.

But there is another theme at play here too. At first they play naturally, escape or run instinctively, and they are not worried about interceptions. But as they face relentless pressure and hits, which lead to interceptions, and they try to 'execute' the offence more and improvise and scramble less, their performance is reduced and they lose their confidence and instinctiveness. The relentless pass rush eventually changes the way they play.

Travis Lulay looked like the Travis Lulay of old this season. He was natural and instinctive and improvisational. If his first read was not open, hee didn't stay stationary in the pocket trying to execute the offence.

Jonathan Jennings did the same in his second last start of the season and played very well. But in his last game, he was stuck in the pocket again, trying to execute the offence.

No matter who is our starting quarterback of the future, I believe that they can only play a season or two at best in this offence before they need a break and someone else starts. The only other way to get around this is to get rid of Dorazio and finally implement a new offensive scheme. The one we are using is older than dust, not dirt.
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David
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:31 pm

Since 2012, our record is 34-22 through the first 9 games, and 27-27 in the back 9, with a 1-5 playoff mark. Maybe this means nothing at all. Statistically inconclusive. Or perhaps this could mean that teams have an easier time scouting us as the season progresses. Keep in mind some of those playoff games have been complete shellackings (Montreal and Calgary anyone?). Even the playoff game we did win, we were fortunate that Winnipeg mismanaged their final drive and elected to try a 61-yard field goal instead of going for it on 3rd and 4 with time on the clock (they were moving the ball on us too).


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Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:42 pm

Found this old post on Dhaliwal's twitter account:

Rick Dhaliwal‏ @DhaliwalSports · Nov 8

#BCLions quarterback Jonathan Jennings is getting interest from the NFL, talks already with the Packers and Vikings.

I really find this hard to believe. The guy was terrible this year. If he had so much trouble with the CFL, does he seriously think the NFL gives he a shot. All they have to do is look at the game film. Maybe they may bring him in for a look, but no way he gets any money for signing and if he does sign, he will get cut for sure before any training camp opens or during. Jennings is better off staying here, for unless Lions plans to cut him loose to avoid paying him $300,000 plus next year, no way he makes any NFL team's practice roster. He has proven nothing here. he had one good year and then follows it up with a bad year. If he moves on to try this pipe dream and Lions sign a free agent quarterback, he may never get another chance here.

I doubt the interest is serious.

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Toppy Vann
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Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 pm

JohnnyMusso wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:42 pm
Found this old post on Dhaliwal's twitter account:

Rick Dhaliwal‏ @DhaliwalSports · Nov 8

#BCLions quarterback Jonathan Jennings is getting interest from the NFL, talks already with the Packers and Vikings.

I really find this hard to believe. The guy was terrible this year. If he had so much trouble with the CFL, does he seriously think the NFL gives he a shot. All they have to do is look at the game film. Maybe they may bring him in for a look, but no way he gets any money for signing and if he does sign, he will get cut for sure before any training camp opens or during. Jennings is better off staying here, for unless Lions plans to cut him loose to avoid paying him $300,000 plus next year, no way he makes any NFL team's practice roster. He has proven nothing here. he had one good year and then follows it up with a bad year. If he moves on to try this pipe dream and Lions sign a free agent quarterback, he may never get another chance here.

I doubt the interest is serious.

[Post merged. -- Mod Staff]
If Jennings thinks he's NFL ready after this year he's delusional.
If he thinks he's done enough to make it even to a PR he's surely not much thinking like a good career manager should be thinking.

There are some real danger signs in what he's been saying about his game and his frustrations in games when things weren't working.

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WestCoastJoe
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Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:40 am

http://theprovince.com/sports/football/ ... cfl-jungle
“I believe, when I look at this team, that the roster is solid, has solid players on it,” he said. “There were a few games this year that were close, that if they’d won them, they could have made the post-season. Moving forward, it just needs a few tweaks here and there.

“I believe in both quarterbacks,” he added of Jon Jennings and Travis Lulay, both of whom are returning.

“Both have had success in this league, and we want to make sure that whoever our quarterback is, we’re able to protect him. We have to keep our quarterbacks upright and healthy, and that starts up front.
That is what this CFL fan has seen as the key for our offence, protecting the quarterback. We have Lulay, former MOP and Grey Cup MVP. We have Jennings, who has lit up defences, when given time in the pocket.

It is good to hear this from Ed Hervey, belief in our QBs, and identification of the key problems for our team (pass protection and pressuring the other team's QB).
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.

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Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:07 am

Toppy Vann wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 pm
If Jennings thinks he's NFL ready after this year he's delusional.
If he thinks he's done enough to make it even to a PR he's surely not much thinking like a good career manager should be thinking.

There are some real danger signs in what he's been saying about his game and his frustrations in games when things weren't working.
Delusional is subjective. Players generally only get a couple of chances to give the NFL thing a shot. I don't know if anybody has verified if Jennings really does have some sort of clause to try the NFL this year or not. Regardless he'll be 26 by the time NFL camps open. If he has no such clause he'll be 27 by the NFL TC time in 2019. Should he rebound and prove 2016 was no fluke BC will want to extend him for multiple years pushing him out to close to 30 before he'd get his next chance. From his standpoint it may be now or never to roll the dice. I think the combination of the promise of his 2016 season and his raw tools would at least get him some workouts. Getting a contract offer is a whole other story.

PR spots don't exactly abound in the NFL either. It's hit and miss. A very small number do carry 3 active and 1 PR QB. Most don't have a QB on the PR. Some carry 3 active and no PR QBs. That seems most common but there are some such as New England who carry only 2 active QBs. If Brady were to go down they'd be on the phone to bring someone in for the next game.
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DanoT
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Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:53 am

There is little that Jennings can do to overcome 2 major shortcomings. One is that he is short at only 6' tall and I think around 200lbs while the NFL prefers at least 6'4" and 230lbs. min. The other is that he played for a small college.

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Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:04 am

DanoT wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:53 am
There is little that Jennings can do to overcome 2 major shortcomings. One is that he is short at only 6' tall and I think around 200lbs while the NFL prefers at least 6'4" and 230lbs. min. The other is that he played for a small college.
He needs to work on his other major shortcomings, his poor field vision and the fact he led the league in interceptions for two straight years, despite only starting 14 games this year.
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Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:05 pm

sounds like most believe hervey is going after franklin in FA, Jennings might get cut before any bonus money is triggered (usually Feb1 or Mar 1) ... so it doesn't effect cap space for 2018.


i tend to agree with this ... no chance jennings makes it to his offseason bonus based on the year he had.

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Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:58 pm

There are two teams certain to be in the market for a starting QB: Montreal and Saskatchewan. If Ray retires, add Toronto. Even if Ray doesn't retire, Toronto may join a bidding war for a younger up and comer.

There are two QBs that will be looking for an opportunity: Franklin and Collaros/Masoli (one or the other). You could add Lulay, Glenn, Durant, and Bridge as possibles here, but not sure any of these will be given an opportunity to start out of the gate. Harris in Ottawa could be a wild card.

It may turn out that Montreal gets one QB and Saskatchewan gets one QB and everyone is happy.

If Ray retires, there is going to be a major bidding war for QBs. In this case, we may be able maximize assets by signing one of the available free agents (i.e. Collaros or Franklin), and trading Jennings. Whether or not Jennings is a better plan for the future than Franklin/Collaros is up for debate, but signing another QB would give us more chips to play in a highly competitive scenario.

If Ray does not retire, we could still sign a free agent and create artificial QB shortage in order to use Jennings as a trade chip.

If we are convinced that Jennings is the future, then standing pat is the best solution. If we believe that another QB offers equal or greater upside, there is an additional advantage in making a change in order to gain trade value.

If Jennings or Franklin have serious NFL interest, this changes the whole equation.

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:35 am

There goes the thoughts of Franklin coming to BC

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SammyGreene
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Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:43 am

Spud387 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:35 am
There goes the thoughts of Franklin coming to BC

Popp not waiting any longer on Ricky Ray's decision unless it actually has been made. Jones being let go as OC was the first show of support for Jennings. Now Franklin out of the equation even with his old GM here. It's been a good couple of days for #10.

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Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:04 am

The Franklin trade has risks and potential rewards for both teams. Franklin is a potential starting QB of the future who will still become a free agent in February unless he re-signs earlier, and may have to back up Ricky Ray for another year or two if he does sign. Mason Woods is a potential starting OL of the future who is still unproven. More from cfl.ca:
TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts have acquired the rights to pending free agent quarterback James Franklin, the team announced Monday, after completing a deal with the Edmonton Eskimos. The club also got Edmonton’s third round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft.

In exchange for 26-year-old’s exclusive negotiating rights, the Eskimos will receive 2017 second round pick OL Mason Woods.

Franklin is scheduled to become a free agent on February 13 but by making the deal, the general manager Jim Popp and the Argos brass retain exclusive negotiating rights with Franklin until that point.

Franklin is widely considered by many to be the league’s top quarterback prospect, throwing 12 touchdown passes and one interception while biding his time as Mike Reilly‘s backup the last three seasons. Should he reach free agency, he’s expected to be one of the most coveted players on the open market.

The Argos made Woods, a 6-foot-9 offensive lineman out of Idaho, their top draft pick in the 2017 CFL Draft last May. The 23-year-old hasn’t yet played a CFL game.

For Toronto, a prospect and a draft pick may seem like a high price to pay without a guaranteed contract in place. But the payout could be significant, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding 2017 East Division MOP Ricky Ray.
ARGOS ACQUIRE RIGHTS TO QB JAMES FRANKLIN IN TRADE WITH ESKIMOS
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