ULLRICH: Script change needed after Lions blasted

Call rewrite. The Lions thought they had authored the right script by importing anyone with a northern Alberta postal code to help fix their problems but a 41-22 spanking by the Edmonton Eskimos proved otherwise.

Here’s three things worth pondering in the wake of yet another significant setback at Commonwealth Stadium Friday:

What happens now?: it’s not exactly difficult to lash out at the things that are still holding back the Lions because they are all too evident. What is not as clear, and may change soon, is how the man in charge sees the Lions now that a tepid start against Montreal made their problems all too apparent in the loss against Edmonton.

Hervey went heavy on former players when reworking the Lions during the winter, following a predictable path. A good number of the moves have worked out and will continue paying dividends, like the free agent signings of Otha Foster and Joel Figueroa. Early returns on the trade that enabled the Lions to acquire Gabe Knapton for Chris Williams is a win too, and of course Odell Willis only cost Hervey a draft pick and futures.

But there were suggestions from the moment the Lions went all in on the defensive line that the talent behind them was suspect, which is precisely the category in which the defensive secondary as a whole now finds itself.

Hervey went heavy on three former Eskimos, A.J. Orange, Garry Peters and Marcell Young, who were established as starters for the Lions from the first day of training camp.

There are undoubtedly other former Eskimos who are out of work in the event the Lions felt compelled to make a change or two in the back end. What will be interesting to watch in the days ahead is whether Hervey will pull out his Rolodex, seek a trade or two or as Wally Buono often did in similar circumstances, sit tight and hope the group will find answers.

Make no mistake, the secondary wasn’t up against a chump quarterback but the league’s most outstanding player, Mike Reilly, who simply chewed up the Lions secondary. An early assessment, however, is that this secondary group isn’t much better than the once Buono assembled last year. Ronnie Yell, Kendall James, Loucheiz Purifoy, Keynan Parker and Matt Bucknor, five players who ended last season on the Lions roster, would have been just as good as the group which was part of a defence that gave up 504 net yards Friday.

Early rundown: Another conclusion was another case study in the skill demonstrated by the coaching stuff under Edmonton’s Jason Maas at deciphering game film.

In the Lions season opening win, it was apparent to everyone except the Montreal Alouettes that Buono’s defence couldn’t stop the run. Tyrell Sutton of the Alouettes gashed the Lions early in the season opener, but for reasons known only to them he wasn’t heard from during the final three quarters of that June 16 game, and Montreal was not down so far it had to abandon the run.

Edmonton noticed and benefitted greatly. C.J. Gable ravaged the Lions to the tune of 165 yards on an NFL-like 23 carries. Once they made sure to get a block on Solomon Elimimian, the Eskimos simply did what they wanted.

Andrew Harris is up for the next two weeks. Hervey may want to think about more than the secondary if changes are in store.

Missed opportunity: Jon Jennings could still unlock the darker mysteries of the offence he is being asked to run and against Edmonton made a number of solid throws. He was also one desperation pass at the end of the first half away from an interception-free outing that was a staple of his work last year.

The hope, however, was that the Lions quarterback had spent enough time with new offensive coordinator Jarious Jackson that he would be able to take a step back to the elite form he showed upon taking the CFL by storm two years ago.

But he didn’t. Now Jennings is 1-6 against the Eskimos and 3-14 against Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg in his career. What happens next is clear. Perform well against those division rivals and the league will start to take the Lions seriously. It’s not hard to figure out how the league will react if form holds.

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
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Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (149 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

18 Comments on ULLRICH: Script change needed after Lions blasted

  1. Losers

  2. Heeeere’s Johnny!

    That’s two games down and two games where Johnny Jennings hasn’t managed to put up 200yds passing.

    Averaging a pitiful 5.5yds per attempt is a complete embarrassment. Totally inexcusable in the pass focused CFL.

    At what point will the Lions braintrust finally acknowledge the fact that Jennings is not a competent pro level QB?

    • Terry Wilson // June 30, 2018 at 11:21 am //

      They didn’t lose because of Jennings. Jackson’s offense is built around short passes.

    • Philski // July 1, 2018 at 4:39 am //

      At about the same point that the TC’s braintrust will finally acknowledge that Jer Masoli is not a competent pro level QB…which is never…which I’m sure pains you immensely. Don’t know what you have against these 2 fine QB’s…or their respective organizations…but your continued anti Masoli/anti TC’s and anti Jennings/anti Lions rants are quite bothersome…and nauseating to say the least.

  3. A51 is a Dbag // June 30, 2018 at 9:16 am //

    How about you are not a competent 3D commentator? Where’s your “expert analysis” on Masoli and the Cats?
    Say hi to your mom.

  4. yep he is not the man backup yes starter hell no

  5. Marcel Young was brutal in his last 2 seasons with the Esks but Hervey thinks he can still play?
    He’s still brutal….

    • Young was torched badly on that Duke Williams TD – – badly mistimed his jump then fell flat on his face.

      I haven’t seen a DB get humiliated that badly since Eddie Gainey in the 2015 EDF.

  6. TSN

    Put that young gal on the football analyst panel
    She has more insight into sports than the 4 male hormones .

  7. TouchDownBC // June 30, 2018 at 1:53 pm //

    This loss is on Bouno Dorazio & Washington…outcoached out schemed

  8. Reason why we lost there are to many factors. Young is not a ball player ..missing tackles hes garbage and beaten theres a reason why Esk let him go. Need to replace him asap. Rose look better in his position. Dline got knocked around lack of rotation in the inside. They got tired. Why wasnt there players to rotate. Then cant stop the run game Gable but in Montreal they ran the ball just the same. Need a run stop dline. In this game we pressured in the beginning.
    We could of kept that up yet Washington went back to conservative D. Washington is not a DC he has not had any upgrade to his scheming. also why wouldnt he use different Blitz packages and why keep Young in so long.
    He better not become HC here because I know thats his next step after Wally goes.
    Offensively, our Receivers are weak we have no explosive receivers besides Johnson. Drop balls dont make plays and bad rout running doesnt work. Jennings wasnt really the problem tonight it was the play book. Short passing isnt Jennings quality. Hes a shot gun QB.
    Jackson needs balance to this new play book. More run game is needed, roll outs and screen passing.Use Raney more in offense. Need something to change and fast. Then refs was a issue as well with 11 penalties. Ed needs to get personnel. Better players and I know Ed wont be sitting his on his ass. So we will see something happen. This is one loss but the next two games are huge against Bombers.

  9. MR. Green // June 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm //

    I don’t think this loss is on anyone in BC. Edmonton ton played horrible last week and started slow last night. You knew Reilly with those weapons would come to life. What I also like Reilly at least throws some deep ball to keep the D honest. Seems we don’t see too many deep balls these early days. It all opened it up for Gable who looked damn good.
    Johnson looked good early making great throws, but after that, he for some reason lost the touch. Edmonton’s D gets credit too. It’s week 3, some teams will catch up. BC also lost a couple good DB’s. A veteran like Reilly will make his plays. We’ve all seen teams play poorly then next week look totally different and beat that same team. At this time though BC seems to have a ways to go. Young had a bad game. almost wonder if that hit on that fan and all the press affected him. Players have games like that and have the potential to come back better. One game does not make a team or career. Like Area 51 has said 8000 times about Gainey in 2015, now he is an all star. 2015 means nothing now. This can go the opposite. Truluck in Sask had 3 sacks in his first game, looks like a star. After that he never looked like that again.

  10. InUrFace // June 30, 2018 at 4:09 pm //

    This game in the beginning looked like Lions was a different team. Then Bang reality check. Washington stopped being aggressive no Dline rotation from the inside. Young stayed in the game way to long getting beat instead of being replaced.
    Kicking was bad punting was bad FG attempts where bad.
    Rainey couldnt get anything done on special teams. Needs way more work on that side for sure.
    Not using Rainey in the offence often enough. Not enough Screens, our deep balls. Not enough on offense short yard throwing scheme is not working. Jackson needs to accept this isnt the direction the play book should go. We need balance in offense. Create deep threats. We were so out coached in ever factor and side of the ball period. No adjustments were even attempted by Washington or Jackson. Or is Wally a control freak again. I also have to ask why punt the ball when we are down in the forth ..might as well try to put points on the board. Wally your all talk no risk taker and still cant except the game has passed you by long ago.
    Washington if you think your getting the HC job sucking up the Ed. You must be out of your mind. You cant even coach defence. Then Darazio needs to bounce thinking he can continue to couch omg your complicated schemes and run schemes for run blocking are crap.
    WR we have mediocre receivers compared to first year receivers on other teams or top ones look like rookies trying to make a team. Dropping the ball not catching and not running routs properly doesnt win games. This is an embarrassment to say the least. Ed better get up start yelling in ears and giving notice to coaches and players because its his ass on the line and rep.
    Wally is the cancer and should of step down years ago. If you look at every OC DC under him looking like crap here but once they leave here and have freedom on other teams they start to be successful. Why is that! Simple Wally is a control freak and wont trust in his OC and DCs to get the job done. Now he says he will because its his last year. Hmm I still dont see it. Look at MB being successful in Ed. Stubler who got run over by a bus here has success any where he goes. Jone in Mont will if he has a QB thats descent. He just shows what Wally is …and how he is the puppet master. Hope Eds
    isnt his puppet. Need much work and better play makers on this team. I heard on the radio Ed is in trade talks and all ready searching for alternative players. Wow, I knew he would sit on his ass like the Wally GM and say its about execution and making plays.

  11. Can’t argue with Lowell on any of this..

  12. TouchDownBC // July 1, 2018 at 1:22 am //

    This loss is on the entire staff starting with HC

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