Lack of Run Game Against Riders costs Team a Win

Maybe the lackluster loss to the soaring Stamps on Friday was somewhat predictable,after a rollicking romp the week before in Winnipeg.

Without its best QB, missing receivers Courtenay Taylor and Marco Ianuzzi ,and a new guy (Myddleton) at right guard, BC was unable to generate enough offense to beat a highly motivated Rider team with Corey Sheets in the lineup.BC’s inability to block up front prevented Andrew Harris from getting any traction on the ground. Time after time Demarco had no one to throw to and, unable to throw it away, took sacks that ended a lot of drives. A pair of third quarter interceptions, one that snuffed out a promising drive, left the second year pivot unable to consistently hook up with his receivers in the second half.

The biggest problem the team has had since late August is the offense, specifically the fat guys up front on the offensive line. Its the same issue the Riders had for the month of September with Sheets injured. After looking great in Winnipeg the O-line were terrible against the Riders. BC is unable to use arguably its best offensive weapon, with Harris getting stuffed every time they try to run up the middle. Without the ability to run we’re constantly in second and long situations and asking too much from a second year QB. I don’t understand why BC doesn’t use six- or seven-man fronts more often on first down, to give Harris a fighting chance to rip off four to eight years on first down. Or put two backs i9n the backfield and lead block for Harris.

Once the Lions were two scores behind, it seemed Chapedelaine totally forgot Harris existed, other than to use him as a blocker. I think that’s a huge waste of talent. If they want a sixth blocker on passing downs, than put in Lumbala. He’s 30 pounds heavier than Harris and is a better match against blitzing defenders. If the opposition is shutting down the rundown inside, why not run off tackle, flare it out, screen it, anything but that same first down run play that has gone nowhere since the last week in August. Not only was Harris not used enough, the team didn’t use its other weapons on the ground, except for one sweep by Shawn Gore. And when is BC going to use Isi Sofele?

The defense played well but as BC’s offense stumbled series after series, it put the defence on the field for too long, too often. I thought they played their hearts out, but what the hell do they have to do to slow down Weston Dressler? That guy kills us every time we play them.

It doesn’t get any easier next week, with the Lions travelling to Calgary to play the 11-3 Stampeders. The stretch run has three really tough opponents (Riders once, Stamps twice) plus the final league game against the hapless Eskimos. If the Lions want a home playoff game, they’d better quickly shore up their blocking/protection issues and get key personnel back as soon as they’re healthy.

These last four games will prove to us us whether the 2013 Lions are contenders, or pretenders.

Dooger in Surrey :cowboy:

Totally agree with you, If they don't at least try and run the defence blitzes and plays the pass everytime and the O-line being the high fat swiss cheese that it is cannot even slow them down. Even if they get 2 yards at least mix it up, and don't run a receiver laterally on the goal line Chapdelaine, even though it worked this time 9 outa 10 times they get stuffed. Also putting Buck in cold on the 1 yard line was not very productive, he should have been in after DeMarcos 2nd interception. All in all a bit of a stinker at home, at least Geroy kept his catch a game stat alive.

I might add that DeMarco’s arm strength doesn’t seem that great. As a result they have not been stretching the field the last 3 weeks… and he constantly was coming up short on 10-15 yard routes. It was quite depressing!

I think having an inexperienced QB was the problem.

The running plays were shutdown pretty quick every time they tried, they need better o line coverage to open up the seems.

When I went back and looked the BC-Sask running game stats, a few things stood out. BC rushed for a little over 80 yards, about 35 less than the Riders. On the surface, that doesn't seem too too bad. But look a bit close and the reasons behind BC's anemic ground game become apparent.

Korey Williams got over half the total run yardage on one 43 yard play. Harris was held to a pathetic six carries for ten yards, with nine yards coming on one play. So he was stuffed five of six times, barely getting the offhand before being smothered by Saskatchewan tacklers. Gore, I think, had a good play for about 12 yards on a sweep. So that's 65 yard on three plays and less than 20 on all the others. In other words, BC lacks consistency on the ground, and has since early August.

To their credit,Chappy has been able to manufacture some yards here and there, without getting his feature back a bunch of touches. Brown, Arcenaux, Gore and Demarco have made a few plays on the ground, here and there. But not enough to slow down opponent's pass rushes. that's the job of the hoggies, and the running back.

It is no surprise that this lack of consistency in the run game is largely due to less than stellar offensive line play. I think Buono has a lot of work in the offseason, trying to re-tool this group of old, slow guys (Archibald, Kabongo) with cement feet and career second stringers ( Valli and Myddleton) into a great five -man front. Only Norman and Olafioye should be starters next year, along with a healthy Kirby Fabien. I'd like to see Olafioye moved to left tackle, Norman at left guard, Baboulis at center, Fabian at right guard and another good import at right tackle. I'd like to see an import tight end used at times, to give the QB a big target over the middle and as another strong run blocker. And I've seen enough of Dean Valli to last a lifetime. And I'd like to see Wally draft the best offensive lineman he can with his first pick next year. We may also lose a lineman to the dispersal draft for the RedBlacks.

With these nags on the line I think our protection would improve if we simplified our schemes and avoided five man fronts, especially on first down. We've been successful using slide protection, so do it more. As often as possible and use six or seven man fronts at least once or twice a possession, to slow down the rush and give Harris a fighting chance at making the fist guy miss. Put in Lumbala and use him as a lead blocker, especially on first down. When they get to the red zone, try that throw to one of the tight ends. Another option is to find an experience import guard as a rental player, but that would force the Lions to play one fewer import receiver, to balance the ratio.

Recently I read that the Lions are toying with the idea of bringing back Joystick. Remember him? He's more commonly known as Stephan Logan. He was a great play maker in the 2008 season with BC and has bounced around in the NFL as a kick returner. The other Lions, from Detroit, gave up on him, so maybe there's a season or two left in that 32-year old body.

Or maybe Buono is leaking this stuff about Logan to the press, to get Harris extra motivated for the Calgary game, thinking he might lose his job due to poor production. Whatever works.

On Friday BC plays another strong running team, John Cornish and the Stamps. No time like the present for the hoggies to up their games and play over their heads to help the Lions steal a win in McMahon Stadium. If they can't, it'll be up to the defence and special teams to match Calgary's intensity and limit Cornish's production.

Dooger in Surrey :cowboy:

I meant handoff,not offhand. I gotta polish these posts a bit more before hitting the "submit' button.
-Dooger :cowboy: