Simon says: Far from done

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

Geroy Simon has heard the talk before.

He's struggling, way off the pace of his previous seasons.

Whenever it happens, the B.C. Lions slotback has made doubters eat their words with a huge outing, or a few in a row.

Through 10 games of the 2007 season, Simon had an unimpressive 449 yards. In his next two outings, the then-reigning CFL most outstanding player caught 11 passes for 278 yards.

So even though he's sitting with only 609 yards in 11 games this season, any moment he could break out.

"Everybody says breakout ... but I don't think I can have a breakout," said the 34-year-old veteran, who has 11,917 career yards.

"I just want to have a good game. What teams have been doing is taking me out. They are rolling coverage my way, making the quarterbacks go the other way.

"I know my season hasn't been great statistically, but I think I'm having a really good season in light of the fact of the offensive line being jacked up and the quarterbacks getting hurt and defences taking me out."

The Lions have struggled offensively this season, ranking ahead of only Toronto and Winnipeg in yards per game.

It's easy to pinpoint the reason.

The left side of the offensive line is new with Daren Heerspink and Dean Valli taking over from Rob Murphy and Kelly Bates.

The team had to adjust to Paris Jackson moving inside to the slotback spot from wideout, and the quarterbacking has been a revolving door.

Buck Pierce started the season but suffered a pair of concussions, and was replaced by Jarious Jackson. But now Jackson is out with a shoulder problem and Pierce is back in.

Despite being bothered by sore ribs, Pierce gets the start tonight against the Calgary Stampeders (8 p.m., TSN).

"When you have three guys playing quarterback in a season, it's going to be inconsistent," Simon said. "The two major spots on any team has been hit for us. That's offensive line and the quarterback position. That's where the inconsistency has come from.

"I think in the end we'll be OK from it. It's teaching us that we have to adapt and everyone has to pick up their game in order for us to win."

After 167 games in the CFL, Simon knows how lucky he is to still be playing. He watched Stamps receiver Ken-Yon Rambo go out with a knee injury earlier this season at B.C. Place, and was stunned to see his former teammate Ryan Thelwell suffer a torn Achilles last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"Ryan and I are great friends," Simon said. "Seeing him get hurt really hurts me. I was his teammate for six years and we're best friends. It sucks to see it.

"When it comes down to it, this is just a game. This is how guys live their lives and take care of their families, so you don't like to see it taken away from players. You can be finished at any point. It's a great game and it's fun but there are dangers that go along with it. It's tough to see guys get hurt."

Simon only had two 100-yard games this season, but that doesn't bother him. Maybe that comes from having 48 of them in his career.

"As long as we win I don't care," Simon said.

"The yards don't mean much to me anymore. I just prove that given the opportunity I can make plays. I've won MVPs, been an all-star and won a Grey Cup.

"The one thing that matters now is another ring."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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