Lawler sees special offence


It’s a quote that will make CFL historians pull their hair out.

But if you’re a Blue Bombers fan, you got to love the confidence of wide receiver Kenny Lawler.

Through two weeks, the Blue and Gold have put 39 points on the board, but Lawler thinks they’ve only scratched the surface and that they have the potential to be something special.

Like, really, really special.

“This offence is gonna look lights out. It’s gonna look explosive, dynamic. It’s gonna look, man, like one of the best offences in the history of the CFL. That’s what this offence could be,” Lawler told reporters after Thursday’s closed practice.

“That’s how we hold ourselves in the meetings. That’s how we hold ourselves as individuals. So, I really believe that.”

In Lawler’s defence, he’s doing his part to make that happen as he leads the league in receptions (14), targets (20), is tied for first in receiving touchdowns (two), and sits in fourth in receiving yards (168). The 27-year-old out of the University of California is putting up honour roll numbers, but Lawler is barely giving himself a passing grade.

“I give myself like a C. There’s stuff that I know I can do better,” said Lawler, who’s in his second full season with the team.

“Stuff I know I left out on that field. I know sky’s the limit for me, so right now, I’d say I’m at a C.”

ALEX LUPUL / FREE PRESS FILES</p>
<p>It’s gonna look, man, like one of the best offences in the history of the CFL. That’s what this offence could be," Kenny Lawler said Thursday.</p>
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ALEX LUPUL / FREE PRESS FILES

It’s gonna look, man, like one of the best offences in the history of the CFL. That’s what this offence could be,” Kenny Lawler said Thursday.

Opposing defenders probably don’t want to know what an A-plus performance from Lawler looks like, but his own teammates on the other side of the ball have seen it in training camp and practice. Lawler paid his dues to get to this point as he started 2019 as a backup before going on to make 16 starts and lead the club with 637 receiving yards on 41 receptions. He showed flashes as a rookie, but it now looks like everything has come together as he’s quickly cementing himself as one of the top pass catchers in the league.

“We’ve seen that from him in ’19. Before he even got on the field he was giving us problems on the scout team. He was just killing us making one-handed catches,” said Bombers safety Brandon Alexander.

“I remember one up the middle where he ran through the middle. It was a dig route, and the ball was thrown behind him. He somehow still caught it, one-hand, going the other way. I don’t know how he did it, but that guy is a player. He helped us a lot this year and last year, so he’s a heck of a player.”

So what’s with the harsh grade for himself? For Lawler, he feels he needs to get better at the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Some star receivers get upset when they don’t get the ball, but in Lawler’s case, it’s when he feels he could’ve done more to help a teammate.

“When I have to do something and I forget my assignment on the play when it’s really supposed to open my teammate up, I look back on the film, during the game I go back on the film, and I see I messed up on that play. It makes me feel worse than a dropped ball or an incomplete pass or something because I know I had my opportunity to open my guys up and they had an opportunity to make a big play,” said Lawler, a seventh round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2016.

“With me not doing my job, just makes the play look like it’s not going the right way, all because of one player. That’s what I hold myself up (on)… So, yeah, I’m staying at a C.”

Whatever the letter grade might be, it’s obvious through two weeks that Lawler has the trust of his quarterback Zach Collaros. Lawler wouldn’t say that he’s his quarterback’s go-to guy, but if he keeps putting up similar numbers, he won’t be able to deny it for much longer.

“I believe Zach knows if he comes to me and puts the ball anywhere near my hands I’m going to come down with it,” he said.

“That’s what I pride myself on – catching the rock. His confidence with me is always growing and that’s how I want it to be.”

 

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

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