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“Always have a plan.”
That’s the message that’s typed out on a note in BC Lions receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux’s iPhone as a reminder to himself of what he’s looking to accomplish during the 2017 season.
He keeps a detailed list full of statistical, personal and technical goals broken down into three categories: off-season, in-season and things he wants to accomplish in the community.
Things like ‘increase explosiveness’, ‘more fluent and controlled routes’ and exact body measurements fall under the off-season goals. While things like ‘be MOP status’ and ‘CFL All-Star and Grey Cup Champ’ are under the 2017 season goals.
His community goals include encouraging the youth and building his ‘The Manny Show’ brand – a name that he created for himself a few years ago on Twitter that caught on around the league and he has recently launched merchandise in the form of t-shirts.
“This is actually in writing,” the 29-year-old BC Lions receiver said, pointing to his list. “They say, ‘plan your work and work your plan.’ These are some of the things that I’m going to look to accomplish because I have to shoot high.”
Looking at Arceneaux’s 2016 season, you’d wonder how much higher the seventh-year receiver wants to fly.
He hit career marks in yards (1566), catches (105) and touchdowns (13) in his most productive season with the Leos to date but if you ask ‘The Manny Show’, that’s just not good enough.
“I want 2000 plus yards, I want 25 touchdowns, 120 catches,” Arceneaux said. “I want a Grey Cup. I want to be an All-Star.”
Writing down goals before every season is important to Arceneaux – his detailed planning began when he started his football career – and that work ethic is now something he’s trying instill into the other receivers in the Lions’ locker room.
Bryan Burnham is one of the wideouts who have taken a page out of ‘The Manny Show’’s book and is using Arceneaux’s planning attitude to improve his game on the field.
Despite buying into what Arceneaux is preaching now, Burnham wasn’t always on board with his detail-oriented mentality. When the 27-year-old first came to the Lions in 2014, he questioned Arceneaux’s technique.
“He (Burnham) always thought it was funny like, ‘Manny, why do you do that?’ Arceneaux recalled. “But teaching him, his game elevated. Being able to take him under my wing and teaching him to compete (was great). Now he has weekly goals, he has daily goals, monthly goals and just year-long goals and that’s just how you have to attack the day.”
Burnham also had the best season of his career in 2016 – the first full campaign he suited up for since donning the orange back in 2014. Perhaps planning his goals, just like Arceneaux had taught him, was one of the reasons he found so much success last year.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder surpassed the 1000-yard mark, hauling in 1392 yards on 79 catches and three touchdowns. But just like Arceneaux, those numbers weren’t good enough for him.
“This year I looked at the record book and I want to beat every receiving record there is,” Burnham said of his goals for 2017. “For receiving yards I think the record in a season is a little over 2000. Touchdowns is I think 23. Those are the two big ones (I want to get to).
“Last year I didn’t get in the end zone as much as I wanted to. I got stopped on the one-yard line more times than I can count. Getting in the end zone this year is huge for me.”
Arceneaux says setting goals gives him a purpose in his daily routines – routines that contain rigorous workout regimens – as he, and Burnham, hope to improve upon their stellar 2016 campaigns and have their best seasons to date when things kickoff in June.
Although, according to Burnham, if the two wideouts find themselves in the championship contest come November, their individual season success really won’t matter.
“At the end of the day,” he said. “If we win a Grey Cup all of those (goals) will take a back seat.”