October 2016 – Nik Lewis: Tight End

The tight end (TE) is a position in American football, Arena football, and formerly Canadian football

So begins Wikipedia’s definition of the (defunct) tight end position. Tight ends occupy a significant place in Alouettes tradition. Peter Dalla Riva and Nick Arakgi are names that inspire some pretty glorious recollections in doddering old fogies like yours truly. Heck…I even played the position myself.

But the position, while technically still around, has suffered a SERIOUS demotion over the decades. As a blocking position on running plays and in pass protection…the “misdirection” of having a blocker release and threaten as a receiver…the POWER mismatch as smaller defenders attempt to tackle a mountain of a man…all that has been LOST to the CFL game, with the possible exception of Nik Lewis.

So just MAYBE it’s time for a tight end retro-renaissance. And Maybe Nik Lewis is JUST the guy to do it.

The tight end is often seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are usually lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be effective blockers. On the other hand, they are eligible receivers adept enough to warrant a defense’s attention when running pass patterns. 

Will Jim Popp EVER bring in some help on this offensive line? Well…he DIDN’T when our quarterback was the immobile Kevin Glenn, and his buddy AC was running his “zombie offence”. What makes ANYONE think he will NOW? After all, Glenn was sacked more than ANYONE in the league by the time he was punted out of town. And NOTHING from Popp by way of “protection relief”.

Nik Lewis is very PROUD of his blocking. There’s been an ongoing competition between Lewis and SJ Green ever since Lewis came to Montreal. A blocking competition. Lewis takes it seriously…and he’s DAMN good at it.

If this team HOPES to get into the playoffs, we HAVE to do a better job of protecting the quarterback.

I don’t pretend to have Chapdelaine’s level of offensive knowledge. But part of Coach Jock’s approach last week was using receivers to shore up the offensive line and give Cato MORE TIME. There HAS to be a way of using Lewis as a REGULAR feature on the Alouettes oline…beefing up the protection of our quarterbacks, while STILL using Lewis in his role as a VITAL possession receiver.

That all spells TIGHT END to me. And If you’re looking to go “double tights” for extra protection, might I suggest LaQuon McGowan. He’s probably eating us out of house and stadium by now…let’s put the BIG GUY to work*:

 

NIK is big and scary (OK…not THAT big and scary). And while babies may cry in terror, their oline fathers obviously REALLY appreciate the guy.

Lewis has been PLEADING to be used MORE in this offence. Well Nik…you MAY be a bit short for the job…but how’d you feel about reestablishing the position of Tight End in the CFL? Linemen and linebackers are getting BIGGER and FASTER every year. Quarterbacks are dropping like flies.

Short of FORBIDDING defenders to hit the quarterback…MAYBE equipping all pivots with a flag (blech)…the reintroduction of the TRUE hybrid tight end position MAY be the answer to saving EVERY team’s franchise quarterback. AND Jacques Chapdelaine may just be the innovative coaching BRANIAC to get ‘er done.

Don’t thank Coach Jock. Don’t thank me.

Thank Thick Nik Lewis.

*Listen. I have nothing but respect for the fat men of football. In terms of body type, sports is generally pretty elitist. Whoever invented the gridiron game made the UNIQUE move of finding a place for EVERY conceivable human body type…from 5’7″ 152lb “Speedy B” to 6’7″ 410lb BEHEMOTH LaQuon McGowan. If nothing else, it’s a BRILLIANT way to broaden your fan base. Get it? Broaden? GROAN.

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