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TheLionKing
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:59 pm

JohnnyMusso wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:17 pm
Just signed JOHNSON, Antonio for 2 more years. Bit surprised by this. Buono seems very high on him, me not so much. I think the Lions can do better and hope they sign guys to compete with him and not just hand him the job.
Hope he spends some of the money on a hearing aid. Keeps getting called for illegal procedures.

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Hambone
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:42 pm

JohnnyMusso wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:17 pm
Just signed JOHNSON, Antonio for 2 more years. Bit surprised by this. Buono seems very high on him, me not so much. I think the Lions can do better and hope they sign guys to compete with him and not just hand him the job.
Not to worry. They typically have at least 5 or 6 INT OL at camp.
You're as old as you've ever been and as young as you're ever going to be.

B.C.FAN
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:51 pm

The_Pauser wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:56 pm

I wouldn't say Fabien is a key piece on the O-line. He was awful last year. Don't like seeing Johnson back either, we need to really upgrade our O-line.
Yes, I should have said Steward and Fabien are the two remaining national starters who have yet to be signed. I think Steward is a key piece of the O-line, and might be due a raise. I’m not sure about Fabien. I think the coaches rate him more highly than many fans do.
"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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David
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:03 pm

B.C.FAN wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:51 pm
The_Pauser wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:56 pm

I wouldn't say Fabien is a key piece on the O-line. He was awful last year. Don't like seeing Johnson back either, we need to really upgrade our O-line.
Yes, I should have said Steward and Fabien are the two remaining national starters who have yet to be signed. I think Steward is a key piece of the O-line, and might be due a raise. I’m not sure about Fabien. I think the coaches rate him more highly than many fans do.
TSN 1040's Chris Burns, whose opinion of line play I respect as he played at a high level for many years, holds a consistently scathing view of Kirby's play at right guard. That's one thing I really like about Burnsie post game. He tells it like it is and doesn't sugarcoat because TSN is the rights holder. Same with Farhan Lalji.


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

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KnowItAll
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:35 pm

the more of last years o-line they bring back, the worse next season is going to be.
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Dusty
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:41 pm

KnowItAll wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:35 pm
the more of last years o-line they bring back, the worse next season is going to be.
I agree with this post, and hope that there is a concerted effort to bring in o-line and d-line players to compete at TC. However, it may be that the Leo's are going to sign last years INT crop just in case none of the newbies work out.... sort of trying to hedge their bets on the basis that if they do not bring back some existing, it could get worse.... if that is possible...

DanoT
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:47 pm

Dusty wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:41 pm
KnowItAll wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:35 pm
the more of last years o-line they bring back, the worse next season is going to be.
I agree with this post, and hope that there is a concerted effort to bring in o-line and d-line players to compete at TC. However, it may be that the Leo's are going to sign last years INT crop just in case none of the newbies work out.... sort of trying to hedge their bets on the basis that if they do not bring back some existing, it could get worse.... if that is possible...
Yeah, I agree with the signing of A. Johnson but hope he gets beat out in TC because he was not very good last season.

Qman
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:33 pm

B.C.FAN wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:51 pm
The_Pauser wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:56 pm

I wouldn't say Fabien is a key piece on the O-line. He was awful last year. Don't like seeing Johnson back either, we need to really upgrade our O-line.
Yes, I should have said Steward and Fabien are the two remaining national starters who have yet to be signed. I think Steward is a key piece of the O-line, and might be due a raise. I’m not sure about Fabien. I think the coaches rate him more highly than many fans do.
steward will get big $$$ if he goes to FA

kirby let someone else waste cap space on him. let them pay him A- money from C- player

Blitz
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:43 am

Well, its interesting that our offensive line in 2016 played well enough to have our offence lead the CFL in rushing as well as protect Jonathan Jennings well enough that we finished with the 3rd least quarterback sacks in the CFL.

Even though Dorazio hurt our offensive line when he benched Hunter Steward at left guard for O'Neil for a few games and when he also benched Antonio Johnson for a few games, as well, to give his prized signing of Levy Adcock the opportunity to start at right tackle, our 2016 offensive line had a very good 2016 season.

Our offence in 2016 also finished 3rd in scoring and 4th in offensive turnovers with 33 turnovers.

Our offensive line for 2016 was made up of Jovan Olifioye, Hunter Steward, Cody Husband, Kirby Fabian, and Antonio Johnson, with Tim O'Neil and Levy Adcock (until released) as our first two backups.

That same offensive line personell in 2017, minus Jovan Olfiioye, did not open holes as well in 2017. We dropped from 1st to 5th in rushing and we dropped from 3rd place in the CFL, in terms of protecting our quarterback to dead last, as both Jennings and Lulay were sacked the most in the CFL.

In 2017, we dropped from 3rd to 6th in scoring and we committed the most offensive turnovers in the CFL.

The pattern was obvious. When we ran the football better and also protected our quarterback much better in 2016, we finished much higher in scoring and we committed less turnovers. When our offensive line could not protect our quarterback in 2017 in the same manner as the year previous, our turnovers increased, sacks and pressures killed drives and caused more turnovers.

The question is why did one change of offensive line personnel (the trade of Olifioye) result in such a fall off of offensive line play? In 2017 we still had Cody Husband at center, Fabian and Steward at guard, and Antonio Johnson at tackle, as we did the season previous.

Well, first of all, it was more than dum to sign an International receiver and then have to trade a perennial All-Star in Olifioye due to cap considerations. I said so at the time and unreservedly and passionately. I have gone back and looked at the comments written by Lionbackers at the time of the signing of Williams and the trade of Olifioye (as well as the signing of Facault).

For those Lionbackers who saw the signing of Williams and the trade of Olifioye with reservation, I applaud you.

One year later, Williams is gone and our offence paid a cost to try to incorporate him (and very poorly done) into our offensive lineup. The trade of Olifioye meant that we had to put up with Faucault being named our starter for the first three games, even though he didn't deserve to start at left guard and struggled.

We began the season with Steward at left tackle and then, for some unknown reason, instead of inserting Vaillencourt at left guard and leaving Steward at left tackle, we decided to switch Antonio Johnson to left tackle from right tackle and finished the season with Keavon Milton at right tackle. But for most of the season we started Palmer at right tackle and he struggled mightily.

Olifioye was the leader of our offensive line in 2016 and a highly respected player. in 2016 we ran most successfully to the left side of our offensive line, with Olifioye, Steward, and Husband making key blocks. They had a lot of chemistry.

The loss of Olifioye had a domino effect. But that should not have led to such a drop off of individual play. Antonio Johnson had a poor training camp and played miserably at right tackle to start the season. Husband and Steward's play slid a little but they were our two best offensive linemen in 2017.

I consider Hunter Steward one of the top five offensive linemen in the league and he is a National to boot. Its been such a waste to have such a talent and not play him at left tackle. Husband, who got his chance to developed to become a starting CFL offensive lineman for the first time in his career in only one season under offensive line coach Malone is also a keeper.

Kirby Fabian played well enough in 2016 but his play dropped off in 2017. Vaillencourt beat out Fabian for the right guard spot in 2016 but never got the chance again after his injury. Johnson's play had a severe drop off at right tackle in 2017 but he did begin to play better at left tackle towards the end of last season.

I believe that we can upgrade our offensive line personell for 2017 and that will result in improved offensive line play. But personnel improvement alone will not solve our offensive issues.

I still believe our two biggest issues on offence is 1) the offensive line coaching of Dorazio and 2) the offensive system that we use.

Dan Dorazio has proven that, when he is coaching our offensive line, the odds are that our offence will struggle. He can have the occasional season, as in 2007 and 2016, when we rush the football a lot and well, when we don't give up the most sacks in the CFL but seasons of good play for our offensive line are rare with Dorazio at the helm of our offensive line.

Dorazio's overall record speaks for itself. Our Lions have given up the most sacks in the CFL during his time as our offensive line coach. Heck, with Murphy and Jiminez at tackle, Angus Reid at center, and Kelly Bates, Bobby Singh, and Sherko Rasouli at guard, our offensive line gave up the most sacks in the CFL.

The second problem is our offensive system. The spread offence that we have used since the 2005 season is well past its due date. Opposition defensive coordinators don't have to spend a lot of time preparing for our offence, unless they are a new defensive coordinator. Our offence system is stale and its a lot more challenging to 'execute' when its so predictable.

I believe our priority should be signing Hunter, who can play both guard and tackle and a National who can play left tackle is pure gold. Steward is also an incredible talent. What we do need is a stud left tackle and Johnson is not the answer. We need to find an International right tackle too.

At right guard, we need to upgrade our play. Fabian's play has not been the same since his injury. Facault may or not be ready to become a starting interior offensive lineman but he has had a year to do so. Vaillencourt is talented but has been injured often too.

Hervey has some possibilities in terms of free agents. But talented free agent linemen don't come cheap. That's something that Buono should have more than figured out before last season. Now Hervey has a challenge to deal with.
"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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Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:08 pm

Excellent post, Blitz. Very detailed.

We have had many threads on the work of Dan Dorazio in his time here since 2003. He and Wally go way back, and will no doubt leave the team at the same time.

If we do not get better pass protection from our O Line this year, our QB results will not be good. Teams will tee off on our QBs, as they have done over the years. Even the remarkable Travis Lulay will find avenues shut down as teams adjust once again to his style of play.

Finding competent International O Linemen should not be hard, one would think. They pretty much grow on trees. Excellent training in college. Time in the NFL. All the skills one could want. But usually they do not perform well in our system. (We had a very good one here in Tommie Draheim. This CFL fan used to like watching him play. He was mobile and strong, with solid technique. He was dropped in favour of Levy Adcock.)

For National O Linemen teams depend on the draft. We have brought in guys every year, including pickups let go by other teams. Usually they show some talent, but tend to regress in the level of their play over time. Developing a competent groups of Nat O Linemen is not so easy as with the Ints. You must draft well, and you must develop them. That takes time.

I kind of think Ed Hervey did not push too hard to make a change at OL coach. I expect Jarious feels he can work with Dan D. There is a good chance it might be just one more year in any case.

But, we need good pass protection. Fewer sacks, hurries and hits. Defences will readily send the house against us, if we do not get the production out of our O Line.

O Line and D Line. Hervey identified the problems. Will they get fixed? We will see ...
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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Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:09 am

Statistically over the past 5 seasons, our pass protection under Dorazio has been average and run blocking has been above average if not excellent. He has done a decent job at developing young players.

Overall, it is not hard to make the case that he has earned his continued employment through his performance. I'd suggest that this is the reason for his continued survival. I'm sure that trust and familiarity are factors too, but not overriding factors.

Regarding personnel, the only way it would make sense to re-sign all of the Nat oline free agents is if we planned to go with 4 Nats on the oline. Steward will be expensive to resign. May be worth it, but will have an impact on the cap. If we went with 3 Nats, we could go with Fabien, Husband, Valillancourt and Foucault, plus new draftees, and have decent depth at an decent price.

I doubt anyone on the Lions is regretting the olafioye trade, regardless of how Williams played. Getting a potential Nat starter on a cheap contract for an aging highly paid International (who was injured for a long stretch last year) is a steal.

TheLionKing
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:52 am

Lions re-resigned TJ Lee to a one year extension.

TheLionKing
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:53 am


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Belize City Lion
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:00 pm

Any chance Lulay will "retire", take a coaching position with the Lions, and then "un-retire" once he is healthy enough to be on the active roster again? It would allow the Lions to sign a healthy back-up in the interim without wasting cap space or a roster spot on Lulay, who according to James Sybulski and Davis Sanchez (The Waggle podcast) is not going to be ready to play when the season starts.

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cjones2451
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:14 pm

Belize City Lion wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:00 pm
Any chance Lulay will "retire", take a coaching position with the Lions, and then "un-retire" once he is healthy enough to be on the active roster again? It would allow the Lions to sign a healthy back-up in the interim without wasting cap space or a roster spot on Lulay, who according to James Sybulski and Davis Sanchez (The Waggle podcast) is not going to be ready to play when the season starts.
Isn't that what Andy Fantuz did last year in Hamilton? SO there is precedent

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