Written by Guest Blogger: Mike Wilson cflinsider.com
The Esks and Lions are ready to play their final game before the bye week and both teams are desperate for a win. The Lions are 1-6 and free falling in the west. The Esks are in first place, but find themselves under pressure as they have not just lost their last two games, but have been dominated. Let’s take a look at both teams, how they got to where they are in the season, and what they have to do to get in a rhythm. For both teams, it will start with a win this week.
What’s right with the Lions offensively? Travis Lulay was pulled in B.C.’s last game against the Bombers and in relief, Jackson didn’t fare much better. The Lions running game has been nonexistent as Henry Burris has more rushing yards than anybody on the Lions. As far as starting quarterbacks in the CFL go, Lulay has the worst completion percentage. Sorry Lions fans but this team right now is just…not good.
At this point people have suggested that Wally Buono may take a step back from coaching and focus on the General Manager part of his job and try to fix this team. But in my opinion, if a coaching change is to be made, which it will, I think it will be Jacques Chapdelanie who is out of a job. The problem in B.C. has been the offense and it’s his job to make sure it can move own the field and score points.
The Lions also need to get Jamal Richardson into the game and give him the ball. In exchange you would have to take out an import receiver, but it would be worth it. You have to have a running game to have a working offense. Andrew Harris had -2 rushing yards last week.
For the Lions, a turnaround will not come fast or easy.
Injuries have plagued this team. Plain and simple. The CFL’s leading receiver, Fred Stamps, receiver Adarius Bowman, and D-lineman Greg Peach are all injured. The Esks attack has struggled mightily with the loss of these two receivers. Ricky Ray was once atop the league in almost every quarterback category and now sits third after 2 weeks without his favorite weapon. He found a great connection Jason Barnes, but couldn’t find much besides him.
Last week, the huge problem was the offensive line. Ray was sacked 6 times and the running game generated…-1 yards. No joke.
To help this problem, the Esks have signed O-linemen Devin Tyler, who spent time with Arizona and Baltimore in the NFL, and Chris Patrick who also had stints in the NFL and most recently played in the UFL. Patrick will play this week against the Lions.
Luckily for the Esks, the 5-0 start gave them some room to have problems that they are having right now.
For both teams, they both have a good match-up as the other, as you read above, is not playing very well at all. This could be a thriller, or a dud of a game and we won’t find out until kickoff at 7pm on Friday night.