Just two seasons ago the Lions appeared solid at the tackle position on their offensive line. Now, with the departure of Rob Murphy last season via free agency and the release of Jason Jimenez for philosophical differences this off-season, the Lions find themselves in a bit of a precarious position heading into 2010.
Rob Murphy practices with the Lions in 2008. Photo: BCLionsDen.ca
It’s been reported that the Lions have inquired about the possibility of bringing Murphy back to the west coast. The Lions have last year’s Murphy replacement Daren Heerspink and Damane Duckett penciled in at the tackles at the moment, and while Heerspink was adequate last year, Duckett spent the season on the practice roster and saw limited action. Perhaps that experience will be useful as he competes for the job this year, but the Lions have yet to announce any new signings that will compete. Of course they have Justin Sorenson, who played the position in college. There is also Jon Hameister-Ries who could step up provided he can avoid the injury bug, something he hasn’t been able to do after his first two CFL camps.
Regardless, the Lions need to address the issue. They have a more mobile quarterback in Casey Printers to start the year and early indications are the team would like to passing the ball and stretching the field the primary focus of their offense. They’ll need solid play from the tackles if they hope to be successful and keep Printers healthy.
Murphy was a popular player in the Lions room, but he left mainly for family reasons. After another year gone by he and his family may be willing to move back to the west coast, but any such trade is going to bring more microscopes to the relationship between the Lions and the Argos who are both owned by David Braley. The carrot the Lions seem to be dangling in front of the Argos is quarterback Jarious Jackson, but as reported by Lowell Ullrich of The Province last week, the veteran QB has not even began throwing after a tear in his rotator cuff sidelined him at the end of last season.
Through The Grapevine
The Lions may have found themselves an up and coming linebacker prospect. There is word in both local papers that the club is on the verge of signing Solomon Elimimia, a 225-pound Nigerian recently impressed the team at a free agent camp in Los Angeles. Elimimia is the all-time tackles leader at the Univerity of Hawaii.
For more tidbits and scoops, including news on a possible pending contract extension for Geroy Simon, progress in talks between the CFL and the CFLPA, and more confirmation the Lions are close to naming Dennis Skulsky as their new President, checkout this latest piece from the man in the know, Lowell Ullrich of The Province.