When the BC Lions started the 2014 there was some optimism among the masses after a fairly strong preseason. After their first two games of 2014 optimism has been replaced by a whole boat load of concern.
There may be lots of football to play, but there is even more work to be done. Here’s how I saw the game, From the Couch.
The Lions have failed to find answers for their offensive line for the last few seasons and this year is no exception. OT Ryan Cave was thrown into the fire and looked lost out there most of the night and the interior of the line was no better.
All of that means no running game, a hurried and inefficient passing game and of course a loss. There’s no one on the roster that is going to make a difference in the short term, and the Lions better be scouring the continent for imports that can in the meantime.
Kevin Glenn, who vowed he would be better in game two, wasn’t. Whether it’s the unfamiliarity of a new offence, or the fact the line in front of him resembles Swiss cheese, there is no doubting bad decisions by the veteran are also contributing to the problems. Even when Glenn did have time, he was missing receivers, overthrowing them, or throwing at their knees, probably a product of being hit constantly all night long.
Andrew Harris was a non-factor, as was Stefan Logan and once again the Lions are struggling with the running game. When your pass offence is struggling you at least have to be able to keep teams honest with the run. That’s simply not happening.
I recall a question was posed by Lowell Ullrich of The Province during the off-season; was it the offence of Jacques Chapdelaine, or is it the personnel? The jury appears to still be out early in 2014.
While the players on the field were making mental errors, so to were the coaches. A late 2nd quarter to pass to SJ Green was clearly incomplete, yet Mike Benevides was too slow to throw a challenge flag and the Alouettes went on to add a late field goal, sending the Lions down by 20 points at the half.
In the 3rd quarter on 3rd and two the Lions call a deep hand off on a sweep to Korey Williams which goes nowhere.
For as badly as they played, the Lions still found themselves in the game. The defence was on the field a lot and tried to give the offence a chance only surrendering just one touchdown as a unit. Solomon Elimimian had a strong game and Dante Marsh was a hair away from a couple of pick sixes, but in the end they can’t be responsible for an unproductive offence.
Still though, there is room for improvement. I was hoping for more pressure from the defensive line in this game, and there were breakdowns that led to big plays, mainly in stopping the run as the Alouettes as a group ran the ball for 203 yards.
Back to the Drawing Board
The good news is that season is young and really doesn’t start to get going until Labour Day. But with another road game next week against the Riders in Regina, and all their Western opponents coming out of the gate strong, the Lions need answers quickly.
Dropping two games in the West early would not be an ideal situation. 2011 was a special year, but it’s doubtful that the Lions want to take that route to try and get to the Grey Cup at BC Place in November again.
If things don’t change quickly, that’s exactly the scenario they could be facing.