KnowItAll wrote:Thanks for your response WCJ.
I am feeling real good about the lions offensive potential, assuming the o-line is up to snuff.
I am not very good at evaluating o-line, so I was hoping for some insight.
I have very high expectations of the rest of the offense and wondered if anyone else felt the same.
Lions' offence can be potentially very explosive. We got a speed demon as a deep threat (Chris Williams) and guys who can go over the middle. Defence can't cheat against us anymore.
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We employ a vertical passing attack, favoring deep and deep intermediate patterns to Manny and Burnham and we have a quarterback who can make those longer type of throws with accuracy. However, defenses employed a lot of press man or man coverage against us last season, while using two deep safeties to double cover those longer routes to Manny and Burnham.
Therefore, we needed a third receiver with speed and we need also need a short passing attack to compliment our vertical deep passing game. If Williams is healthy, he has proven that he can be that third receiver who can open things up for our inside slotbacks. Sinkfield was signed in the second half of last season to play that role but he was inconsistent. Still, his deep speed did open things up.
Our outside slotback position last year (Moore, Boldewijn) was mostly used for possession type routes until we got Sinkfield in and then we often lined him up outside in a four receiver set. Shawn Gore was also used for a lot of possession style routes although he could go deep at times. Iannuzzi was also used for possession type routes but we were less successful targeting him than our other receivers.
This season, Manny, Burnham, and Williams are all deep threats while also being able to be good hands receivers underneath, while Moore (at this time anyway) and Gore give us an outstanding set of receivers. Gore is deceptive and Moore is silky smooth. Chris Rainey is also a dangerous receiver when used on crossing routes out of the backfield. We only used Jeremiah Johnson last season for 12 receptions and he needs to be used more in the passing game. When we did that more, towards the end of last season, Johnson proved that he could more than get the job done.
If Shawn Gore plays this season, and we use four Internationals at receiver, then Iannuzzi, Adekolu, Blazsco, and Shaq Johnson will all be vying for one backup National receiver spot on the active roster and likely one practice roster spot. That will likely mean that two are gone by the end of training camp.
How good is our offensive line? We had a CFL All-Star in Olifoye playing his first season at left tackle last year. Despite being benched for a few games and playing a new position at left guard, Steward's play was good enough to be a West-All Star last year and he was given consideration. Cody Husband was impressive in his first season at center. Fabian played good enough at right guard after losing his spot to Vaillencourt for the first two games (after Vaillencourt had such an impressive training camp) that Vailencourt never got back in. Antonio Johnson was an undersized International right tackle who played well enough last year for a rookie but was not overly impressive. Adcock was a disaster free agent signing recommended by Dorazio and gone after a few starts.
Our offensive line, with three players playing new postions (Olifioye moving to left tackle), Steward (first year at guard), Husband (first time at center) and a rookie right tackle, our offensive line led the our Leos to the best rushing attack in the CFL (even though we had a very predictable, basic running attack) and they also protected Jennings well enough that it was one of our best seasons protecting our quarterback. Jennnings pocket presence, quick release, and escapability helped but we were also a deep throwing team and we mostly kept Jennings in the pocket. I would rate our offensive line play last season as the 2nd best in the CFL, behind Calgary.
Not too shabby for an offensive line with so many players playing new positions and a rookie tackle.
We don't know right now how the imminent trade of Olifioye to Montreal will impact our offensive line for 2017 and which players will start or play where.
"When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team". (George Raveling)