Simon gets attention, not numbers

B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon believes he’s a victim of his own success.

Geroy Simon

SURREY, B.C. — B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon believes he’s a victim of his own success.

The numbers for the lean and lanky Simon are not what you would expect for a receiver who has had six consecutive CFL seasons of over 1,000 yards.

“The truth of the matter is, defences are taking me away,” Simon, 33, said Tuesday. “There is no other receiver that sees a much coverage as I do in this league.

“I am consistently facing two guys, if not three. I can beat two. There are times I can’t beat three.”

So far this year Simon has 18 catches for 281 yards and three touchdowns. But almost half of his catches came in a July 10 loss to Hamilton where he had seven grabs for 86 yards.

Only once this season has Simon recorded over 100 yards in a game, and that was when he had four catches for 122 yards in a July 16 win over Edmonton.

Three times this year he’s been held to 30 yards or less.

B.C., picked by many before the season started to battle for first place in the CFL West, is last in the division with a 1-4 record. Among the many problems the Lions are facing is not being able to mount a consistent offensive attack.

The release of Jason Clermont over the winter left Simon and Paris Jackson, a wide receiver who has been moved to slotback, as the veterans on the receiving corps.

Young receivers like Ryan Grice-Mullen, Rufus Skillern and rookie Emmanuel Arceneaux are still learning the game.

“I think teams are realizing if they take me out of the game, that makes the chances of us not having as much success better,” said Simon. “I’ve proven myself, putting stats up.

“Defensive co-ordinators learned that the hard way. To their credit, they are taking me out of the game. Now, we as a group, have to figure out other ways to beat defences. Other guys have to step up.”

Quarterback Buck Pierce said too often this year the Lions have found themselves in second-and-long situations.

“If we’re not having success on first downs, teams are going to roll coverage on Geroy,” said Pierce. “We want to get him the ball a little more on first down.”

The lack of experience among the receivers also allows teams to focus on Simon.

“He’s had to take on a little bit more of the leadership role with some of the younger receivers,” said Pierce.

“Now they are starting to catch up.

“Once that learning curve starts to slow down for the younger guys, and they are able to go out and play, defences are going to have to respect other people as well.”

Heading into Friday night’s game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Simon is seventh in the CFL in receiving yards.

Edmonton’s Maurice Mann leads the league with 388 yards on 24 catches.

Simon acknowledged good receivers find a way to get open. But he bristled when it was pointed out Montreal’s Ben Cahoon is another player teams draw up defences against and he has 30 catches for 372 yards this year.

“Cahoon runs two-yard routes,” said Simon.

“That’s not the type of receiver I am and we’re not in that type of offence. If I played in that offence I’d probably have 120 catches and 15,000 yards.

“I don’t run pick routes, I don’t need other guys to get me open. You can compare me to Cahoon but Cahoon has guys picking for him. I’ve never had a whole bunch of guys running routes to get me open.”

The six-foot, 198-pound Simon is in his 11th year in the CFL and ninth with the Lions. He was the league’s leading receiver in 2007 and 2006. Simon also was the CFL outstanding player in 2006 after making 105 catches for 1,856 yards and 15 touchdowns.

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