Eskimos backup quarterback Matt Nichols, seen here in the third quarter of Thursday’s pre-season game, was one of the few bight spots for Edmonton against Khalif Mitchell and the Lions (CP)
Three things to think about after another unbeaten pre-season run by the Lions which finished up in Edmonton Thursday:
First down: Three things to like about the season ahead. Travis Lulay. Kierrie Johnson, Khalif Mitchell. Lulay looks as if he has a superb grasp of the offence, just as he did last year.
Johnson, who was so far behind coverage when he caught a 53-yard touchdown in the first half, looks like he’s faster than last year. He definitely appears as if he will be an added offensive threat, as does Shawn Gore.
Mitchell? It would be accurate to say he played like a man possessed but that’s how he seems the rest of the time anyway. Just as guess here, but the Lions might not have to look far to find a defensive player of the year candidate this season.
Second down: Three things of concern. Run offence. Run defence. Special teams. Mike Benevides said the Lions employed vanilla blocking schemes in Edmonton. Here’s hoping he was right because just like at the start of last season, they had nothing doing between the tackles. We’ll be interested to see if teams try to run on B.C. with Solomon Elimimian gone. And there’s still no return game to speak of, though the job appears to be in the hands again of Tim Brown.
Third down: Is Byron Parker really in trouble of losing his roster spot, as some players seemed to think? You’d certainly like to think that was not the case, seeing as though Wally Buono signed him in no time flat at free agency this winter. Parker hasn’t been dazzling in training camp but said he uses the time each year to get used to a new wide-side partner, and was hardly being embarrassed, though he did admit to one bust in coverage in the first half. That’s a huge price to pay for someone only months ago was much more valued by the general manager than he appears to be at the moment. We’re betting sanity will prevail when the cuts are announced this weekend.