Our first From the Stands piece of 2013 comes after a game we could actually see, having only listened to the game last week in Calgary. We are happy to back, teaming up with Lowell Ullrich and his Fifth Quarter blog. As always we hope you take it as the view from a fan, whether in the stands or on the couch. We encourage your comments on how you saw the game unfold.
The offence showed some promise but also showed a lot of inconsistency and inefficiency. Travis Lulay looked sharp on the team’s opening drive, but had some questionable decisions haunt him throwing into double coverage for one interception (a bobbled catch by Manny Arceneaux) and underthrowing Arceneaux on another. The running game was lacking and the Lions only handed the ball off 9 times from scrimmage. It’s clear the Lions are looking to be a pass first team, but they are going to need to establish the running game more if that’s going to be successful.
Nick Moore showed the promise we saw in training camp, with a nice catch for a long gain and a touchdown in the second half. He did drop a pass over the middle that brought back memories of past miscues, where he looked to run before the catch. Elvis Akpla showed why the Lions are high on his talents but it wasn’t enough for him to survive the final cuts, or be offered a practice roster spot according to early reports.
Thomas DeMarco acquitted himself well in just a little under a half of work. He had good chemistry with Akpla, but like Lulay under threw open receivers at times. His time management skills may also have been lacking on the final drive.
Mike Reilly looked solid for the Eskimos, despite a bad interception and showed why the Eskimos were quick to move on him this off-season. That said he still has limited starts as a QB, but all signs are pointing towards him progressing quite nicely.
For the most part the offensive line, both starters and backups did a good job of protecting both QB’s, although they were hurried on several occasions by a strong Eskimos defensive line.
The Lions defence was without Adam Bighill and Anton McKenzie and despite some pretty solid play was caught on a couple of big plays. New faces in the secondary will have some things to work out when the season approaches. A long touchdown to Cary Koch never should have happened, as both JR LaRose and Josh Bell were on the receiver, but neither turned around to see the ball which ended up in Koch’s hands. Edmonton moved the ball pretty well, and the only sack of for the Lions came from Jason Arakgi.
Discipline will also need to be preached, as two roughing the passer calls on Solomon Elimimian (one iffy) hurt the Lions. The good news was the Solomon was flying around like he was in 2011, and that can only be a good thing when all three linebackers hit the field next week in Calgary, but he has to play smarter.
It’s interesting to note that Paul McCallum hasn’t taken a kick in the preseason. Hugh O’Neill punted for a 45 yard average on 7 punts and never got to attempt a field goal in the game. He squeaked through a convert attempt after a botched hold.
O’Neill has done enough for the Lions to opt at carrying two kickers this season, something that hasn’t happened in BC for a very long time.
The return game was average on the night. I was hoping to see a bit more of the flash that Korey Williams provides, but neither he nor Tim Brown stood out on the night.
Once again we kicked off the season with a good old-fashioned tailgate party at our ‘Tailgate Empire’ lot. It was a great turnout for a preseason game and we had a few new groups sprouting up around the lot. Tailgating and football go hand in hand and it was great to be back in the lot with our CFL friends.
The crowd of over 26,000 was also a good start for a preseason game. With the roof open and the natural light beaming into the stadium it felt so good to be back in BC Place for football.
The Lions are engaging Twitter more throughout the game with fans being asked to tweet songs they’d like to hear throughout the night. Look for more social media initiatives from the club as the season progresses, including tweet ups, prizes and a new version of the club’s mobile app to be released soon.
I was shown some pictures of the Gridiron Deck being offered to fans and I have to say it looks like a cool concept. A virtual patio of stonework, water features and other items have been assembled in the concourse on level four which will provide fans with a great social atmosphere, all for $30.00, including taxes.
I didn’t see any of the enhanced stats I was hoping for on the ribbon dividing the upper and lower decks. Hopefully we will see this for the home opener on July 4th.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. Mother nature willing, I’ll be in Calgary next week for the season opener. Give me a follow on Twitter @BCLionsDen and checkout our website BCLionsDen.ca for our latest opinions, podcasts and Lions social media news.