In the lone BC Lions win so far this season, running back Jamal Robertson rushed for 168 yards in a 25-10 win over the Edmonton Eskimos. In the two games since then, he’s rushed for just 58. Add to the equation some of the talent the Lions have assembled at the back position and you have to wonder why the club isn’t rushing the ball more.
The offensive line has been under siege this season, and were badly abused by Saskatchewan in game 2. If you’re constantly getting blitzed and don’t have time to set up routes, you have to establish a running and short passing attack. They may be unproven but the likes of Jamall Lee, Andrew Harris and Jerome Messam have the talent to contribute, giving the Lions the luxury of keeping guys fresh. But the Lions have yet to try and tap into that talent in any big way.
After three games the trio of Lee, Harris and Messam had zero rushes to their credit. Harris has been moved to receiver and Lee and Messam have seen action in blocking rolls. Lee in particular possesses great speed and the Lions really need to find a way to get him involved and see what he can do.
We heard rumblings in the off-season that the Lions wanted to be an attacking team and that they wanted to go down field more often than not with their offense. But even Angus Reid admitted the club needed to run the ball more in this piece by Lowell Ullrich of The Province:
It was not a game in which the Lions had fallen so far behind they were forced to abandon the run — but they did, and produced a rushing total as bleak as nearly anything seen in a generation.
“I’m sure the two [Robertson] fumbles scared people,” centre Angus Reid said. “But we do have a great running back. We should use him more.”
And it sparked a belief if Robertson is unable to deliver, the Lions might be better served with rookie non-import Jerome Messam or sophomore Canadian Jamall Lee in the backfield.
Right now teams are just lining up and blitzing the Lions, and they’re having a lot of success. If the Lions can keep them more honest and on their heels with more rushing attempts designed to beat the blitz, and some screen passes and shorter routes over the middle to these talented backs, perhaps they can get their offense on track.
The offensive line has to step up either way. Either to protect the QB’s and allow them the time for routes to develop, or to open holes for the run. Angus Reid will return at centre, perhaps adding some much needed experience on a very inexperienced line.
Of course the coaches have to call plays that put these players in a position to utilize their skill sets. It would be nice to see a player like Jamall Lee have a chance to showcase his.