With CFL icon Wally Buono returning as head coach after a four year absence, the Lions went 12 6 and edged Winnipeg in a thrilling Western semifinal. Along the way they unveiled a new star in quarterback , a big play offence built around receivers Manny Arceneaux and Bryan Burnham and a sturdy defence led by linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Bighill.
(the loss to Calgary) show us who we really are? Buono said. don believe that. But I think it showed us how good we have to be. cheap soccer jerseys To that end, Buono remade his team for 2017. While a lot of familiar faces remain, the old coach attempted to make the Lions bigger, faster and more physical this season in an effort to match up with Stampeders.
The offence will still be led by Jennings, Arceneneaux, Burnham and running back Jeremiah Johnson. But burner Chris Williams was signed from Ottawa to give Jennings a home run hitter. On defence, the Lions will keep as many as eight linemen who rotate through the lineup and add carson palmer jersey mens some beef to special teams.
After five decades in the Canadian game as a player, coach and administrator, this is presumed to be Buono last year on the sidelines. He knows how he like his story to endThere aren a lot of holes on this team. Jennings is a franchise quarterback in the making. The receiving corps already had Arceneaux and Burnham and will add a game breaker in Williams when he fully recovered from a knee injury. The reliable Johnson is the feature back and explosive return man Chris Rainey will likely get more touches this season.
As for that defence, the Lions will feature as many as five new starters. The key will be a revamped secondary with import Steven Clarke moving to safety and Canadian Anthony Thompson manning the wide side corner. The newcomers DE DeQuin Evans, LB Micah Awe, HB Buddy Jackson and CB Thompson are all athletic. They just haven played together a lot. Elimimian remains the leader of the group but he lost long time running mate Bighill. The secondary features three new starters in Clarke, Thompson and Jackson. Lee who missed a combined 22 games last year with injuries.
Last year the Lions finished dead last in the CFL with a paltry nine interceptions. That been wholesalenfljerseys.info a talking point for Buono during training camp and preseason.
THE MAIN MANJennings begins just his second full season as starter and he already established himself as the face of the franchise. But is a championship calibre quarterback or just a very good one? He has an NFL calibre arm and throws the prettiest deep ball in the CFL. But his 5,526 passing yards (third in the league) and 27 touchdown passes (third) were offset somewhat by 15 interceptions, the most among starters.
That the one falling grade on his impressive resume and it may be simply a function of experience. He expected to be a ratio changer for the Lions. Import Kelvin Palmer won the RT job in training camp. WR Shaq Johnson baby sits the position until Williams is ready. Evans will likely job share at rush end with Andrew Hudson. They be missed but their departure freed cap space to add Williams and others. LB Jason Aragki, who retired last week, was an ace on special teams and a team leader. Anthony Allen shared the running back position with Johnson last season. Now it Johnson show. S Mike Edem signed with Saskatchewan.
RECENT TEAM RECORD
2016: 12 6 (West final)
2015 7 11 (West semifinal)
2014: 9 9 (East semifinal as crossover team)
2013: 11 7 (West semifinal)
2012: 13 5 (West final)The Lions season boils down to one simple question. Are they good enough to beat Calgary? They have a lot of pieces and Buono believes his team is bigger, faster, more physical and deeper. Beyond that, they need Jennings to take another step in his development, Williams to make an impact, the offensive line to dominate and the defence to jell quickly.
If all that happens, the Lions will close the gap on the Stamps. We just don know how close they be until the Western final. As it is, they should good to for at least 12 wins in the regular season.