Last Friday night (August 7th) was a good character win for the Lions. Defense and special teams played with emotion, a huge key to our victory. Kick returner Ryan Grice Mullen was excellent and will be hard to remove when Ian Smart gets healthy. Best game by the defensive line and linebackers so far this year.. Martell Mallett was unstoppable and deserved his last-minute TD. Buck managed the game well with just one pick in the first quarter on a throw he'd probably like back. The offensive game plan was sound and forced the Riders to make tackles all night and winning the battle for time of possession. To me the BC offensive looked a lot like the West Coast offense of the Bill Walsh-led San Francisco 49ers, with early motion thrown in for good measure. This game just may be the game that gets the grand piano off Buono's back and gives the team the confidence they need to be consistent and win going forward.
But a few familiar problems persist and must be corrected. The BC offense was successful but we seemed to be protecting the offensive line by running and using quick throws, which require only one-and a-half seconds of pass protection. All game long I was hoping for play action and a few balls thrown deep. If the DBs get burned deep early, the way our wide side corner was twice, they'll have to back off a bit and that would open up our underneath game to Simon and Paris Jackson. Perhaps Offensive Coordinator Dan Dorazio still lacks confidence in his offensive line's ability to provide the three or four seconds of protection necessary to throw deep.
While Grice Mullen ran the kick returns very well, we continued to take penalties on the punt and kickoff return teams, losing about 55 yards of field position on just one of three or four infractions. To their credit, that problem seemed to be corrected at halftime. Jerome Dennis and Rolly Lambala were able to freeze the kick returner and make tackles deep in the Saskatchewan end.
Our one short yardage offense continues to be an adventure. This is probably because they simply don't practice it enough, clearly a correctable problem. We have two other QBs who could run the sneak. I mean, how hard is it to wrap the ball with both hands and play to the whistle. As Ed Willes suggested in this morning's PROVINCE newspaper, "How about sending our best back (Mallett) behind our best lineman (Jimanez)? Jarius also missed a throw to Geroy that might have been a TD with a better, more finessed throw. Memo to Jarius: Every throw doesn't need to be thrown full force; learn to take a bit off of it every now and then. Finally, the idea is to throw the ball to the black and orange jersey, not the green and white one!!!!!!!!! Geez Louise. Memo the Dorazio: we were successful sending Mallett jumping over the pile in Edmonton. Why don't we keep doing that until someone stops us?
Sean Whyte continued his excellent play, doing all three jobs effectively and picking up three long snaps off the turf and getting the punt away with defenders all around him.. He will be hard to take out of the lineup, when a healthy Paul McCallum is available in September.
Finally, kudos to Defensive Coordinator Mike Benevides and the defense, who harassed Durant all night long and forced him to run for his life and make bad throws all night long. A true 60-minute effort. I have to believe having Dave Ritchie on the sidelines and former BC greats Norm Fieldgate, Tom Brown and the great Willie Fleming at the game gave the boys some extra incentive to succeed. We do need to fix that coverage breakdown that give Saskatchewan two easy TDs.
Next week we play the hapless Argos, who were terrible in a 27—0 suckfest against the Alouettes. I see no reason why the guys cannot repeat that defensive intensity all night long against the brutal Boatman from the Center of the Universe.
Dooger, in soggy Surrey